Residents’ Win: Recreation and Green Space Prevails

9

The City received word on Wednesday, March 22nd ForBoca.Org has dropped its suit against Boca Raton. For those unaware, Mike Arts, former President of the Boca Chamber of Commerce and Al Travasos, former City Councilman, brought suit against the city of Boca Raton for placing an item on the November Ballot regarding citizens desire to protect Boca Raton’s waterfront parks from development. Citizens voted 67% to keep our parks for the people.

Arts’ contention was based on “Haynie’s Law”, a law proposed by our Mayor and passed by the State. “Haynie’s Law” prohibits citizens from challenging, by vote, development of properties in a City once a development order has been granted. Evidently, Mr. Arts came to the reality “Haynie’s Law” does not apply in this instance.

Mike Arts is the mouth piece for The Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce. On October 4th 2016, at the monthly meeting of the Boca Raton Federation of Homeowners Associations, two past presidents of the Chamber along with its current CEO pledged to monetize, develop and turn over our parks to their development friends. Yes, they made that pledge. But, this law suit was a lame attempt by the Chamber of Commerce to take a second bite at the “Houstons Apple”. All of this at the expense of the +/- 28,000 citizens who lawfully voted to protect our waterfront parks from development. Further, two individual citizens contributed, out of their pockets, $12,000 to support the legal efforts of the city to fight for your voting rights. These citizens did this because they did not trust our city would earnestly fight for your rights. Remember, four City Council members also want to sell your parks to developers. And consider this, what did the city pay to its outside legal team in terms of staff time and your tax dollars?

So where do we go from here?

The public needs to understand there are forces within our city and city government diligently working against the lawful application of codes, variances, citizens right to vote etc while extending greater rights to their development friends. The Boca Chamber of Commerce was at the center of Mike Arts’ effort using Arts and others as surrogates to convey their message – this anti resident effort is despicable.

Everyone in Boca Raton is a member of a larger “community”. Community means many things, but, for me it means we all work together to achieve a common good for residents and what the Boca Raton Brand has come to represent. The wrong headed idea the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce has to monetize everything at the expense of resident constituents destroys any semblance of “community” and it is very offensive.

Chamber members owe any level of success they enjoy to a direct result of the PEOPLE, the RESIDENTS they are so anxious to steal their parks from. We need to let them know how we feel, this is a start. And, the Boca Raton Chamber must, in writing, be forthright enough to explain its bad behavior to their customers and clients. Not to do so is an admission of guilt.

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Nancy and James Hendrey arrived in Boca Raton 32 years ago as IBMers. From Hawaii to Dallas to Atlanta and Boca, for them, IBM meant "I've Been Moved". In 1988 they chose to leave IBM management and take an employee "buyout" and start their own business. Twenty-five years later they chose to retire and stay in place. "With our previous experience as teachers, sales professionals, product developers, advertising managers, small business owners and real estate developers, we both have unspent energy, especially when it comes to protecting the city we love."

9 COMMENTS

  1. I am hugely DISAPPOINTED. I live by the waterfront. I am not a developer, but just a long time resident.

    Net of it… I want development for the waterfront. Who on earth would not want development, lower taxes, a vibrant waterfront, increase property values… fun place to go and enjoy for the 80,000 Boca residents along with visitors? Nah, lets add another park for nobody. Great thought. Like Boca does not have enough parks and its the Southern New York City.

    Ok, you win… We will all go and give our benefits to Delray which is not only vibrant — it is a great community with tons of spirit.

    Whomever voted against development — Enjoy your lack of community — and more wasted green.

    • Pete, how about we put a marina across you with gas docks and a bar that has rock and roll bands every weekend at Lake Wyman park. How about we put a bar at Ocean Strand with a big development across the street from your house. Yeh you would squel like a pig at the council. See how your property values would go up. How about go down 50% . Lower taxes are you nuts. I bet you live in a high rise and don’t give a damn about quality of life issues. You mention Delray dah they have a huge park on the intracoastal. You seem impaired when you say “it s a great community with tons of spirit” dah because of their parks. Than you say ” wasted green” . You are not sound.. There are 400 restaurants between delray and boca and you want more. You must go out for dinner a lot. I agree on your thoughts on delray since boca is a waste with all the prisons or buildings they are putting up.

    • Boca Raton is nothing like nyc ! Over development means traffic. The parks are very beautiful. That’s what I love about boca raton it’s a city without stress. I plan on retiring and living there. If they over develop the city I most certainly don’t want to live there. Oh and buy the way taxes are already cheap there try living in ny! Screw the greedy rich developers ! Pigs don’t they have enough money

  2. Publisher’s note: Although the lawsuit has been dismissed by the plaintiff, there is a report that ForBoca.org intends to refile the matter in some sort of administrative hearing. If this actually occurs, BocaWatch will report to you the details. Stay tuned. Al Zucaro

  3. What an INCREDIBLE ACCOMPLISHMENT!!
    To have gone up against the well oiled and financed ‘over-development machine’ and win this raging battle against the resident’s ‘quality of life’ is, once again, just incredible.
    Design and construction of this downtown waterfront park should begin ASAP… With much to learn from the construction and design of “Sullivan Park” on Deerfield Beach’s Intracoastal waterway at East Hillsboro Blvd.
    Furthermore, if at all possible, this area (Wildflower) should now be open to the public ASAP; as this will help residents conceptualize its potential and thus help prepare for the Monday, April 3rd 6-8pm downtown Boca Library workshop.
    It’s time to honor the results of the November referendum to make this a public park!

  4. “Remember, four City Council members also want to sell your parks to developers.”

    Please cite source on this.

  5. “Remember, four City Council members also want to sell your parks to developers.” — James Hendrey

    Mr Hendrey, I find your statement highly and purposefully untrue; it’s also personally insulting, as my family spends many hours each week in our city parks. Please tell me, ***which parks*** are ***which council members*** looking to sell to ***which developers***? Please tell me where (***which meetings***) you’ve heard this? All of our meetings are publicly recorded and available.

    I’ve also personally reached out to Mr Hendrey to address these false statements. If anyone else has any questions on my positions, please reach me at jrodgers@myboca.us or stop by any of our public meetings, 2nd/4th MON 1:30pm, 2nd/4th TUE 6pm, but check the schedule first at http://www.myboca.us.

  6. Dear Mr Rodgers, I am glad you enjoy the parks which would not be there if not for long time residents such as Mr Hendry and 1000’s of others. like myself. We view you and other council members as a threat to the heart and soul of boca. We don’t trust or believe anything this council does or says. Very sad. We want development but we want or thought we could be part of the conversation. Say 20 ft of setbacks. Green space whatever. . We see you folks as part of a cabal to destroy boca than move on. You think we are stupid . Developers run this city and we view you as part of this conspiracy. Stacking the P&Z with developers buddies. Sounds like you are indignant well so are we when we view you laughing with Weinroth/Haynie at a cocktail party out west when it is said if those clowns in east boca don’t like what we are putting downtown they should move. THE MARK looks like a prison. March 2018 can’t come soon enough. You are insulted and I am ashamed for boca to have put you on the council.

  7. James Hendrey, thanks for the article. I don’t comment on this page but after reading a few of them, I will this time. What you so eloquently expressed is how the citizens (at least 28,000+) have lost trust in our elected official’s judgment. Haynie’s law is exactly why all our parks could be in danger. The city council allowing numerous deviations, variances and code twisting on behalf of developers, makes a case for doubt as far as their good intentions. At least we know the publicly owned waterfront is safe for now. Hopefully city council will support public access to Wildflower in a meaningful way and not continue to let that parcel languish further under their watch as it has for years and years. During my time working as an underling for Rec Services, it was common knowledge the mayor at the time, would pressure that department on behalf of developing certain properties under their jurisdiction to no avail. Those who spent $12,000 to fight to protect lands along the Intracoastal have my admiration. Thank you!

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