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