Some Good News and Some Bad News

5

First, the good news.

At a recent City of Boca Raton Planning and Zoning Board PZB) meeting, the PZB members voted 6 – 0 to approve rezoning a portion of a 2.03 acre site at the southwest corner of East Palmetto Park Road and A1A to allow the construction of a 7 story 70 unit luxury condominium building. This project, named Ocean Palm, began many months ago as a proposed hotel before the Owner and his Development Team began discussions with surrounding neighbors and the Riviera Civic Association (RCA) which is the local neighborhood association.

After receiving feed back from the neighborhoods, the Project morphed into a residential condominium building. As discussions with the neighbors continued, the Development Team made changes to the design of the building and introduced peripheral traffic calming devices in order to present the final product to the PZB.

Contrary to past development project “negotiations” with neighbors, Ocean Palm has created a viable template for future cooperative efforts to move projects more efficiently through the approval process. RCA and the Ocean Palm neighbors commend the diligent efforts of both the Owner and his Development Team to be “resident friendly” thus far through the development and project approval process. We all hope that more real estate developers will mirror the efforts of the Ocean Palm Project.

Now, the bad news.

Just when you thought that Boca City Hall was becoming more transparent in its deliberations, City Staff introduced a new Medical Marijuana Text Amendment at the same PZB meeting. This proposed ordinance would prohibit medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities in all zoning districts within the City of Boca Raton – a citywide ban on any medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities. When asked by one of the PZB members who ordered this citywide ban, City Staff replied that it could not reveal the source – here we go again!!! Not only was this proposed ordinance developed in secret by some unidentified City official, but also City Staff went along for the ride and was equally complicit. I had thought that the days of secret discussions behind closed doors were finally over for the residents of Boca Raton, but it seems that old habits truly die hard.

Fortunately, the PZB members voted down this poorly drafted proposed ordinance to prohibit medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities within all zoning districts in the City of Boca Raton. Bravo to the PZB for understanding the malfeasance of this proposed ordinance and ending its existence, at least for the time being.

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Mark Simmons received his BS Degree from Stanford University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. Mark has been an active Board member of several neighborhood, civic and homeowner associations, and he was a real estate developer and property manager for numerous residential, commercial and retail projects, both new construction and rehab. Mark and his wife, Barbara, have lived in Boca Raton for over 22 years and raised their 3 sons here in South Florida.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The Ocean Palm project was not approved by all the neighbors. The neighbors who did speak up for the project are getting new condos in that building at a much higher value while replacing their old condos. The Marbella condo building which is across the street was not consulted and is not in favor of the project.

  2. In the press recently, councilor Weinroth was quoted along the line of “If someone wants medical marijuana, they can get it in other towns like Delray or Lake Worth” (my paraphrase from memory). So now Boca is picking and choosing which kinds of medical care will be made available to its citizens? Even after more than 70% of its citizens voted for medical marijuana?

    I can only hope that a Boca citizen needing medical care will not have to leave town to get it due to a government ban on a legitimate treatment.

  3. The Ocean Palm project was not approved by all the neighbors. The height was supposed to be capped but now the builder asked for increasing the height of the building from the original proposal reporting that all the neighbors, including the Marbella were consulted and were in favor of the height increase. This is not true, residents of the Marbella were not consulted and are against increasing the height. It is not in keeping with the neighboring buildings on the west side of the road and would obscure traffic coming and going from A1A to Palmetto.

  4. I am going to say this again..the corridor leading to the beach aka Palmetto Park Road CANNOT handle another building UNTIL A NEW BRIDGE IS BUILT. The south side of Palmetto Park Rd is owned by investors who can go up 160 Ft on 1.2 acres of land. from 5th Ave to Mizner Blvd. You can barely get to the beach now. The traffic is intense . How dare the city put all residents who live on the barrier island as RISK when a hurricane comes. Council members need to OPEN their eyes and take care of their citizens. WE could be the next Texas.Lets not be ignorant .

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