City Officials Set Goals for 2016

5

During the first week in May our City Council Members along with City Managers and Department Heads gathered for a three day “2016 Strategic Planning Session”.

 There Was One Major Miss

That miss was from us, the residents.  It was disappointing to see only a very small handful of citizens show up to observe our city leadership publicly at work.  Watching our staff and elected officials in action puts into perspective the lofty and numerous decisions that they are faced with.  The opportunity to observe this ‘public goal setting’ session provides insight as to how our leadership sets a course for our City’s future. Whether you agree or disagree, it is an opportunity like none other to have a window into personalities and conversation we the residents rarely get to view.

Here is the final priorities/goals that came out of the planning session:

TOP PRIORITIES:

City Campus Master Plan/Evaluation Report – All agreed City Hall, Community Center, Police Department city complex need major updating and expansion to bring it into this millennium and represent our city well.

Wildflower Property Decision – This public owned property has sat vacant and gated off to the citizens close to seven years. The city is currently in negotiation with Hillstone Restaurant Group.  There is a Citizens Petition being circulated to get the future decision for this property on the the ballot for a vote of the public in the August 2015 ballot. Discussion/decision will be forthcoming.

Comprehensive Waterfront Plan – The community leaders will take an in-depth look and consult with outside sources as how to make the most of City owned waterfront property focusing on boating, water activities, recreation, restaurants etc.

20th Street Conceptual Master Plan – Treasure Coast Regional Planning has been hired ($25,000) to analyze and bring forward a conceptual plan. The goal is to create a vibrant ‘college district’ that will have charm that welcomes students and adults alike. It was expressed that a dorm row is not the ultimate goal.

Lake Wyman Park – The waterfront section of this park is presently in disrepair. There is future potential for canoeing, kayaking and boat docks. The possibility for county funds to help renovation is a strong possibility.

Beach & Parks District: Agreement – The relationship with the City and the B & P District has been recently strained. The leadership would like to move forward with an improved relationship. The City hopes to attain a global or master agreement that applies to all Beach & Parks District and City partnership properties and parks (in lieu of separate agreements for each property).

HIGH PRIORITIES:

Downtown Traffic Alternative Study – There were options put forward for consideration of widening NW and SW 4th Ave downtown as well as the possibility of building an overpass at Dixie Hwy. These are the beginning of a discussion relating to options that would help reduce traffic. On June 13, the Council will hear results of the city’s $50,000 downtown traffic study. Considering a parking study is also part of the plan.

Downtown Design Tool/Pattern Book – The Interim Design Guidelines (IDG), originally a six month plan to transition to the Pattern Book for downtown design has now been in effect for approximately six years.  The leadership clearly sees the need to move forward.  The question will be, what does the Pattern Book contribute to our city in  future development?  Can new and updated guidelines be incorporated into the 4035 ordinance, which is presently the ruling ordinance for all building in downtown Boca?

Red Reef Park Master Plan – Revitalizing Red Reef  Park, which they stated as currently being underutilized. Ideas will be addressed for the potential of more water and other activities.

Downtown Open Space Policy – A recent in-depth study of ‘Open Space’ in downtown projects, has led to more conversation of the vision for the appeal of downtown. Going forward there will be details presented on open space and public realm.

Florida Atlantic University Campus – Open communication with the University regarding Town & Gown relationship. FAU provides the City with Campus Master Plan every 5 years. The plan includes data and analysis for the university’s expected growth (new buildings, new roads, expected enrollment etc.) Impacts of the campus growth are then analyzed  regarding city water, sewer, storm water, drainage, fire rescue, solid waste, parks and recreations and traffic/transportation which determines financial impact on the city.

Rental Housing Registration and Inspection – The introduction to the rental registration program will be coming forward this summer. There is a need to have single family rental properties registered with the City.  The concept has been in development and will be presented at a workshop this summer.

Authors Note: With the conversation of open space to enhance the public realm on the table, I for one am looking forward to the opportunity for Public Green Space and Art in Public Spaces to be seriously considered as an addition to downtown development.  Up to this point it seems to have been an oversight. However,  I am hopeful it will be considered as a component.

 

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Originally from the Boston area, Andrea is a proud Boca Raton resident since 1979 and a Downtown Boca resident since 1999. With a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from FAU, Andrea's background is in graphic and interior design, in both residential and commercial projects. She has run her own company as well as being employed by The Harid Conservatory and the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. Andrea serves the community as a past Chair on the Board of the Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Association, as board member on the Downtown Advisory Committee. Andrea is President of the Golden Triangle Neighborhood Association and a member of the FAU Alumni Association. She, her husband George and children all enjoy the wonderful benefits of living in such a wonderful community. Andrea is running for Boca Raton City Council, seat B, March 14, 2017 election.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I share your concern that there were not more citizens at this 3 day meeting . I think the city council wanted it that way. No witnesses. The planning session for the council was to put together a 1, a 5,and a 20 year plan or something like that. Frankly, I found it as boring and worthless from the point of trying to find out what their real plans are for the building boom going in Boca. Emily Miller was there so extra careful they were. The meeting was run by a well knowned city advisor by the name of Lyle Sumek. He started the meeting by asking city council to review topics like – Is communications effective? How is airport being run? Arts? Football games? Relations between fire and police unions? Wildflower issue? How is downtown building success going? They than got into a discussion on locals anger about setbacks and building heights. At that point Mr. Sumek gave an example he once had in San Diego where the citizens were also angry that the developers were doing whatever they wanted. The heck with locals was implied and Mr. Weinroth said we will just have to weather the storm implying that locals input are what they are, so what. Than Mr Sumek said that the’Boca Vision’ was old and should be discarded, I was on there when created. Also, I was around when it was clear that the Wildflower site was to be used for a park.

    My assessment is that our City Council is composed of smart folks that may think they are doing what they think is right for Boca. Remember they don’t get paid a lot of dollars and they do work hard with all these meetings. Maybe they are right with allowing developers unlimited access to our city. Boynton would love having a billion of new development.

    The one thing I do know after attending their first day of the planning session is that they need to listen more to the citizens. I asked 4 times questions in 4 different council meetings regarding the 1 cent tax sales and I was blown off with a sneer.

    Jack Mcwalter, Boca resident for 36 years.

  2. Thank you for your point of view Jack. The one point that I differ on is that I don’t think that the Council and staff didn’t want citizens present or welcome public comment. I took advantage of public comment twice and I feel hopeful that my voice was heard. It is a big commitment to ask residents to show up for 1-3 days. I think it would be a great idea to tape the entire session and run highlights of interest for public consumption.

  3. I joined for the first day, when most of these goals were discussed. It was an interesting dialogue and it would have been useful to record it so that residents could watch their leaders in action on their own time.

  4. I’m unclear on EXACTLY what was said about 20th Street – are you saying that no dorms would be there or implying that it wouldn’t ONLY be dorms? Can you clarify?

    Student housing in that area is ESSENTIAL. It was never intended to be the ONLY function of the district. In fact, the plan since the very beginning was to provide mixed-use projects with housing above retail, shops and nightlife. In that way it satisfies both goals, but let’s remember that this is a “college district” and NOT “just another upscale Boca shopping district” which from time to time is what it seems to be veering towards.

  5. Dear Dave,

    The article regarding the City’s Strategic Planning Session was not an opinion piece but rather a report of discussion that came out of three day planning session of all City Council and Department Heads. The public was welcome to attend and there was time allotted to speak as well. There were no decisions made on 20th Street. Only that they are looking forward forward to the discussion and have added to their goals for 2016. They have also finalized a contract with Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to begin an analysis.

    The comment that I believe you are referring to is that it was stated and affirmed by many that they are not looking create just a dorm row, but rather to create a pleasant college district. If you have concerns or opinions you would like to pass on, I suggest you contact your City Officials.

    Mayor Susan Haynie – shaynie@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

    Deputy Mayor Mike Mullaugh – mmullaugh@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

    Councilman Mayor Robert Weinroth – rweinroth@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

    CRA Chair/Councilman Scott Singer – ssinger@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

    Jeremy Rodgers – jrodgers@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

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