Make a Difference in Boca’s Future: TWO Important Chances to Have your Voice Heard!

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Many of you who have supported the efforts of BocaBeautiful.org have asked repeatedly “What else can I do?”

Here is your opportunity to make a difference in Boca’s future. You will soon have TWO important chances to make your voice heard.

We have a new, more resident-friendly City Council.  On May 4th and 5th they will be holding an important two-day workshop sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency. The CRA is responsible for pre-approval of all major development projects before the City Council (the same individuals) makes a final decision. The May 4th and 5th meetings offer the first major opportunity for residents of Boca to speak up about traffic, parking and pending mammoth development projects such as 200 Mizner and midtown re-zoning.  Public comments are invited between 11 am and noon on both days. Just go, stand up and let loose.

The address for the CRA workshop is NOT City Hall. The meeting will be held at the Auditorium of the 6500 Building, 6500 Congress Avenue, Boca. You can learn more at BocaWatch.org.

The second important opportunity to shape Boca’s future development policy will be at a Community Appearance Board hearing on 200 Mizner—the Monster on Mizner. To remind, the CAB is the arbiter of taste (sic) for Boca development projects. It is responsible for making sure that new projects adhere to the style requirements of Ordinance 4035. After months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering, the developer will try to win approval from this key oversight committee on May 16th for a building which clearly is unlike anything else in its neighborhood and unlike anything contemplated by the authors of Ordinance 4035. If the developer succeeds, he will next approach the Planning and Zoning Board on May 18th.  Success there leads directly to the CRA and City Council consideration.

200 Mizner, a 960-foot long building that is bigger than Palmetto Promenade, is the last stand for those who want to avoid our downtown becoming a mini-Aventura. Approval will irrevocably change our downtown neighborhood and will open the door to additional massive high-rise developments. Stop 200 Mizner, and there is a chance to save what is left of downtown Boca.

If you care, you should attend this CAB meeting and let your opposition to 200 Mizner be known.  The meeting will be held in the Community Center Annex, 260 Crawford Blvd, next to the Community Center in the Boca City Hall complex off Palmetto. It begins at 6:30 pm and residents each will have two minutes to make comments. More than speeches, we need people sitting in that audience.

So there you have it:  two opportunities to change Boca’s future for the better.  Show up, and together we can get it done.

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John, President of BocaBeautiful.org is a 13-year Boca resident and lives in Downtown Boca. He is also Chairman and CEO of Political Solutions International LLC, a consulting firm which advises a wide range of clients on government relations organization, competence, issue management and strategy. Prior to his chairing Political Solutions International, Mr. Gore served from 1996-2002 as Group Vice President, Government and Public Affairs, for the British Petroleum Company in London. In that capacity Mr. Gore was responsible for BP’s government and public affairs activities in over 70 countries. He is a 1970 graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and attended Georgetown University Law School. He is married to the former Antonia Stepovich of Fairbanks, Alaska. His outside interests include golf, creative writing, and the arts.

1 COMMENT

  1. My name is Alan R. West and I sit on the Boca Raton CAB. As it relates to the above, believe me when I say, the CAB is listening to everyone. But one thing must be made clear, that is, the CAB only makes its recommendations based on the exterior look and appearance of any specific property which comes in front of it for review, and ultimately how it fits globally within the location of its development regardless of whether it meets the 4035 Ordinance and/or the Interim Design Guide lines used to evaluate any new project in the downtown CRA areas. We are not the governmental body which reviews those issues nor votes for or against them. That is the responsibility of the P & Z Board, and ultimately the CRA and City Council as stated by Mr. Gore. We care as much as everyone else about smart growth for the City of Boca Raton, but sometimes misinformation is presented, and there was one outstanding point within the editorial as stated by Mr. Gore. That being: “200 Mizner, a 960-foot long building that is bigger than Palmetto Promenade”. First of all, I will concede the length of the building(s) may be close to 960′, and may have a greater frontage on Mizner Blvd. than Palmetto Promenade has on Palmetto Park Road. But I do not agree this is one building. This a three (3) building complex with a major city scape, providing extensive canopy and a pedestrian friendly ambiance, from end to end. The developer appears to have listened to the comments made at the last CAB meeting, and has reduced (to my understanding), the unit count in order to provide a much needed co-existing friendly, look and feel within the downtown, as well as providing an expanded view corridor to the east, from their previously submitted plans. Now this may sound as if I have made up my mind as to its approval, but to the contrary, I have not! My concern however, is that too much misinformation has been made public, and it’s my suggestion, and I’m sure Mr. Gore would agree, this community needs to maintain an open mind by providing the developer with a fair opportunity to make its presentation on May 16th and then draw a conclusion.

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