Misleading or Incompetence: 2500 N. Ocean Approved!

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Remember last year?….The City Council approved a variance for the property at 2500 N. Ocean Blvd. allowing a sub-standard lot to be approved for development of a 4 story, 10,000 sq. ft. residence on the ocean side of A1A.  The City Council’s action was approved with a 4–1 vote. Councilman Jeremy Rodgers being the sole dissenter.

City staff, in its presentation, stated that the variance request met all city code criteria and recommended approval.  Staff, however, failed to provide any substantial justification as to how they arrived at their conclusions; how they justified that the applicant created a situation for which relief was being sought.  BocaWatch provided a recap of the December 8th hearing (see Fights worth Fighting, December 14, 2015.)

The public’s response was virtually immediate and very loud!

The four approving votes, Mayor Haynie, Councilman Singer, Councilman Weinroth and Councilman Mullaugh did not take the one corrective action available to them at the time….any one of them could have filed a motion to reconsider at the following City Council meeting to revisit the issue and allow for a reversal of this incredibly harmful decision.

There were two main arguments offered supporting the Council’s action:

  1. Predominantly heard from Mayor Haynie was that the approval of the variance was not decisive and that further approvals from state agencies would result in the developer being denied approval for this project; and
  2. This argument was supported by the legal conclusion made by Councilman Scott Singer, who instead of being a fact finder in the quasi-judicial hearing, placed himself in the role of judge, determining that the City could not defend a decision to deny the variance and, therefore, would face financial damages with a loss in the Circuit Court.

Fearing the developer’s threat of legal action is bogus and should not be the criteria for our elected officials to act….There has to be a line in the sand that defines who we are and what the city of Boca Raton stands for.….

Our pristine beach is that defining moment….no longer!

The question asked by the residents then was: When is a fight worth fighting?….The beaches have been pristine for decades and now, with this action, other dominoes are beginning to fall….others are already lining up to build on the ocean side of A1A  because of the Council’s ill-advised action.

This is all history…

Current concern is that the assurances conveyed by the Mayor and others on the Council that granting the variance was a defensive act that would have little impact to the applicant’s ultimate goals of issuing the building permit.  This position is now, and was at the time, bogus.

Last week, (not so) conspicuously posted on the site was a NOTICE TO PROCEED (actual post) on land at article end) from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; to wit: the permittee, Natural Lands, LLC, is “hereby granted final authorization to proceed with construction or activities authorized by this notice.”

pb-1196-fo_ntp-permit-to-proceed

A complete review of the Environmental Protection file can be found at the link below. Use “Public Oculous Login” to gain access.

https://depedms.dep.state.fl.us:443/Oculus/servlet/shell?command=hitlist&[freeText=]&[folderName=]&[profile=Permitting_Authorization%2BPlans+and+Specifications]&[creator=]&[entityType=any]&[createdDateTo=]&[catalog=20]&[searchBy=profile]&[sortBy=Document+Date]&[createdDate=]&{District=_EQ_TLH}&{County=_EQ_PALM+BEACH}&{Facility-Site+ID=_EQ_BCS_PB001196}

What is critically interesting in a review of this file is that the most critical obstacle for the applicant to overcome before the state’s issuing this NOTICE TO PROCEED was getting the city of Boca Raton’s zoning approval; an approval given unequivocally with the Council’s granting of the variance.

Mayor Haynie’s assurance that the variance was merely a formality and that application to build on the ocean side of A1A would not be approved by other agencies was completely wrong. 

The question now raised is how was the Mayor and the Council so wrong?

What we may now have is a classic example of the horns of a dilemma; two equally bad outcomes….

If city staff did not provide the City Council with an accurate analysis of the import in granting this variance as it relates to the ultimate outcome of issuing the notice to proceed, than there is a real question of competence.

In the alternative, if City Council was made aware of the import in granting the variance but proceeded anyway, then there is a question of misleading the residents.

Neither of these is acceptable.  What is reality now, however, is that thanks to our City Council ill-advised decision, there seems to be no other obstacles to prevent this building project from moving forward….

Hence, what we have here is a vivid, real life reason to replace those elected officials that are ‘developer friendly’ with people that have a ‘resident friendly’ voice, a voice that puts the interest of the resident in front of the special interests.

Your vote is your voice; let your voice be heard….

City Council elections are coming…get out and vote in March, 2017


2500

What was suppose to be “conspicuously” placed,  was small, low and behind shrubbery.  It was a miracle it was found by an area walker.

 

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Alfred Zucaro has resided in Palm Beach County since 1982 and has been a resident of Boca Raton since 2008. A graduate of Fordham University, he holds a Magna Cum Laude degree in Economics. Mr. Zucaro attended Nova University receiving a Juris Doctorate Law Degree in 1986. He is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, practicing in the area of Immigration Law for the majority of his career. Currently he is manager/member of Palm Beach Investment and Finance LLC, a USCIS approved regional center identifying foreign investment leading to permanent resident status. Mr. Zucaro served as a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach from 1995 to 2002 and as the President of the City Commission in 2000/2001. He has also been a member of and/or served on the Economic Council, the Business Development Board, the Film and Television Commission, the Tourist Development Council, the Workforce Alliance and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Of particular interest is his founding of the World Trade Center Palm Beach, an organization that focuses on international economic development. Married to Yvonne Boice, they are avid world travelers having visited 6 continents and dozens of countries since their 2008 nuptials.

12 COMMENTS

  1. The current mayor and city council are obviously working for the developers and not the citizens of Boca Raton. March 2017 can not come soon enough.

  2. Someone correct me if I’m mistaken, but I believe the Zoning Board of Adjustment denied the request twice before it moved to the the P&Z for a thumbs up.
    The ZBA is comprised of engineers and builders who thought this request was crazy.

  3. Alfred, You can bet none of the “people” will get my vote now or ever. I’ve personally written Haynie about subjects such as this. All I ever receive is fluff and avoidance at best!

    If I can help stop these people from ruining Boca, which I do love and where I have lived for almost 30 years, count me in!

    Enough is enough!

    Thanks for your hard work!
    Michael French

  4. Totally deceitful. Don’t forget who the bad guys are in March. The chief culprit is term limited but we need to weed out others and make sure we don’t’ bring more problems in. And look closely at who the supporters of new candidates are. Be especially leery of developers and big money who are already lining up around their candidates. Boca clearly has enough voters to stop the corruption that has been going on, but we need to get everyone involved.

  5. OUR BEACHES ARE OUR GREATEST NATURAL ASSET AND SHOULD BE PROTECTED! It was very disheartening when the city council’s vote came down in favor of allowing a variance to build on beachfront property. I championed a letter writing campaign to our elected officials, which resulted in a multitude of emails sent to them asking for a ‘motion to reconsider’. They did not comply with the residents wishes. If I am elected to city council in March, I will make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the residents of Boca Raton. Please visit my website and support my effort. I will put your values first. It takes team work! http://www.andreaorourke.com/

  6. The property was literally (legally) unbuildable until the council decided, in their wisdom, to grant variances that enabled the permitting process to continue. Every single one of them knew this. In fact one of them served on the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a long time and knew that there is no requirement, anywhere, that states that a variance has to be granted, no matter the circumstances. The ZBOA voted NO. The council voted YES. They hid behind the notion that some other authority would somehow decide this was not a good idea. All you gotta do is drive up A1A in Highland Beach and realized that no one, other than a competent city council, is going to deny a building permit for the beach. In other words, the YES vote by the council all but guaranteed the project would be built. I love how our leaders love to tout our Florida beaches as such an asset, but are so willing to see them buried in McMansions. Any way, it’s too late now. That chunk of beach is gone forever. Forever. It makes me sad………

  7. This is disgusting. I have lived in Boca since 1983. It continues to get worse as corrupt officials give away our beautiful beaches and every other part of why I moved here. I am ready to move out. It will only get worse as corruption flourishes. One can only wonder why they would do this to our once beautiful city. I think I know but cannot say without facts. Someone should investigate the possibilities.

  8. Boca residents need to protest along A1A, in front of 2500, in front of City Hall,.these people do not care about the beaches, or the beauty of wildlife that takes place along the coast. Greed is their game, all in the name of money.

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