The Citizen’s Petition: Update

5

Right On Plan by Jim Wood

The objective of preventing commercial development on public land adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway owned by the City of Boca Raton is progressing. The ordinance preventing the commercialization of the lands will be decided by the citizens directly instead of the City Council if the City Council decides to reject the ordinance. This means that special interest lobbying of City Council members will be ineffective. Their biggest weapon is silenced, but they will be trying to get their way through other means.

The following link provides good background information on proposed Ordinance 28-1308. Understanding the Ordinance

The ordinance was successfully introduced at the July 26th City Council meeting as planned. The schedule for adoption of the ordinance, copied from the article in the above link, is as follows:

July 21 – Planning and Zoning Board review

July 26 – City Council Introduction

August 9 – City Council Consideration

November 8 – Election (if not adopted by City Council on August 9)

At the August 9th meeting the ordinance petition committee will make the case for the City Council’s adopting the ordinance immediately instead of waiting until the November election. The main driver for adoption is that over 2,000 citizens (voters) expressed a preference for implementing the ordinance to protect city-owned land from commercial development. There are also legal advantages to the City Council’s adopting the ordinance versus the citizens doing so in a referendum.

We expect that the City Council members, under pressure from special interests, will not adopt the ordinance at this meeting. Their political cover will be that they prefer that the citizens vote on the matter; thus, catering to the demands of special interests and ignoring the will of over 2,000 citizens. This will automatically trigger the process for including the ordinance on the November 8 election ballot.

We expect that special interests will try to convince citizens to vote against the ordinance since they do not have the power to stop it by manipulating the City Council members. They will employ a number of arguments including claiming that the ordinance’s adoption will have unintended consequences. As mentioned in the above referenced article, this is a false scare tactic. The legal basis for there being no unintended consequences is articulated by the attorney for the ordinance petition committee in the video pointed to by the following link: Attorney presentation at City Council

In summary, the plan to save City-owned land adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway from commercial development is on track. False arguments regarding negative impacts will be made. These are completely invalid. Think about all of the huge variances granted to developers when ordinances block their developments. Although no problems are anticipated, it will be easy for the City Council to tweak the ordinance in the future if necessary. Please plan to attend the August 9 City Council meeting at 6:00pm to support the ordinance petition committee in their arguments for having the City Council adopt the ordinance immediately.

If you cannot attend 8/9/16 meeting and would like to express your concerns, email your City Council:

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

For questions, input or additional information, contact Jm Wood-bocawood@bellsouth.net

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Jim Wood is a 25-year citizen of Boca Raton. Upon arriving in Boca from Arizona, Jim and his family had a house built in Broken Sound in the western section of the City. After the last of their three children left for college Jim and Trish downsized and relocated to east Boca, where they have lived for 18 years. His volunteering activities include serving eight years on an advisory board in the City. Jim is a computer engineer who advanced into executive positions with telecommunications companies Siemens and Lucent. He holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and management, a master’s degree in computer engineering and an MBA. He is also a veteran who served four years on active duty with the United States Air Force. His interests include cycling (A1A), guitar (acoustic) and cooking (healthy comfort food). He is a member of the Boca Raton Bicycle Club and the FAU Alumni Association.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I have attended many of the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District and City Council meetings and have heard many comments on this waterfront subject. I am in favor of this sight being used primearley for the people. I have seen fantastic presentations presented to parks and the city, a vision of the future of what it could become. I have visited many city’s and country’s which have similar waterfront property. who have turned them into pedestrian hubs linking every part of the city and a place for everyone to enjoy. I have seen downtown turn into a concrete jungle with massive buildings, hundreds of restaurants just for the people who live or work there. I do not live in that area. I live outside I own my own house, pay taxes and am a asset to the community. Yet when I try to take my family to Mizner to enjoy some of the benefits of living in Boca Raton, I am almost excluded – overcrowded restaurants, parking lot filled, no parking on street, valet parking only. Who are these amenities for, just the few elite who can effort to live or work there or the tourists who pour money into the area. What about the people, did you forget about all the other people who pay taxes and work hard? Is it that you do not want us to enjoy any of this or we just don’t belong? Another restaurant! You would deprive myself and my family of enjoying a beautiful afternoon sitting or having a picnic on the water, enjoying all the sights and relaxing. Not all of us can afford to live on the water and enjoy its beauty, and the only little piece of land, which could afford this to us, you would take away for another resterants. How greedy could you get. You have all of Mizner at your disposal and you want and willing to fight and deprive us for just 2 acres of land that my family and children, also grandchildren could enjoy foreverand the funny part is we own it . Stop thinking of a small group that are very powerful and think of the whole community; it’s our land and our city.

  2. Amazing that this has gone so far. A very expensive property, paid for by all of us, boarded up and intentionally blighted with no use at all, awaiting the proper set of circumstances to try to make it yet another of over 500 restaurants in Boca. Who can possibly be so committed to this unimaginative use of such a precious public asset, that they willingly blighted the property for all these years? I know who, and you do too! March 2017 cannot come too soon…..

  3. Mr. Hendrey’s testimony at tonight’s meetings is in essence to claim that the ordinance’s sole intent is to restrict what is to be allowed on “city park property”. The fact is the Wildflower property s not designated as a park. What are the chances that he represented the petition as a way to prohibit the city from allowing a restaurants on a city park that does not exist? We will find out with a city wide vote.

  4. Why is that attorney absent to testify that wrote the ordinance and testified at the P&Z meeting that it would be much more beneficial for city council to adopt the ordinance because the City council can interrupt the ordinance the way they want to as a opposed a referendum vote on the same text?

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