Why Were the Sea Grapes Chopped Down?

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The sea grapes at 2519 N Ocean in Boca were cut to the ground and killed the second week in March, and city staff has been asked for an answer since March 13th as to why the property owner, TGM Oceana, was allowed to do so.

sea grapesTo date, staff has not responded(1). The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the cutting the sea grapes is not of concern to the City Administration;
another example of an ‘oh well – not my job’ attitude and thought process. Cutting the sea grapes is a code violation and should be treated as such. What is so difficult to understand about the simple concept of keeping Boca Raton beaches pristine and natural???

A PowerPoint illustrating the destruction was sent to all City Council Members on March 28th. Take a look at it here. The only members to respond were Council Member Andrea Levine O’Rourke and now Deputy Mayor Scott Singer. Residents that are upset by this should contact the members of our City Council and City Administration and demand answers….

Al Zucaro,
Publisher of BocaWatch

Cartoon by Jessica Gray

Sea grapes at Red Reef getting ready to fruit.

 

(1) Editor’s Note: Wow. This story got lots of clicks. While that’s normally good I have to admit my bad. I did not let Al know of conversations members of our team had with city employees about this, so it’s technically unfair to say no city employees have responded.

As to whether any citations were issued for lack of permits, that’s still unclear. We’ll keep you posted. When I was a Park Ranger I used to catch grief because I didn’t write any tickets. I never like seeing anyone get citations and I personally hope that they don’t get cited. They are re-planting quickly.

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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.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Why some areas can be trimmed and some not?
    I live at TGM Oceana and they did not killed the trees, they only trimmed them and let less wild opening a nice ocean view.
    Sounds to me more like a little “political” argument more than other thing.

  2. Sea grapes were never supposed to block the view of the ocean and beach. If we are going to protect the beach and oppose development of the same (of which Boca has a long history of doing by preventing development on the City purchased beach areas, we should at least SEE the ocean and beach? Does that not make sense?

  3. Good morning Glenn. Sea grapes aren’t very tall, so the only people whose view it changed are pedestrians and people who should be keeping their eyes on the road. If someone purchased a lower floor unit, with views that were blocked by sea grapes for decades, should they be entitled to “ocean views”?
    You mention “development in City purchased areas”. Is there any reason for the City to purchase property other than preventing it from getting “developed”, to keep it as green & undeveloped land? Should it be purchased by the city only to become a transparently crony gift for some developer?

    And Juan: they even destroyed the stumps. This wasn’t a trim. It was a removal.

  4. I am glad it happened. Finally an entitled Ocean view. What is wrong with all these people who no longer want the residents to SEE what is FREE for everyone??? Shame.

  5. Sea grapes are an invasive species that permits other invasive species to hide as the sea grapes grow higher. If any of you doubt it look at any portion of A1A where they are overgrown and have reached heights in excess of 10-12 feet. They also are contributing to beach erosion.
    There is nothing prettier than driving along a beach exposed road and seeing the beauty of the beach blending into the sea.
    Unfortunately, those people that, I’m guessing, can see the beach from their apartments seem to feel “entitled” to this view. How selfish and self centered can these people be?
    We should all be proud of our beaches and share it with others whether permanent residents or visitors.

  6. Maybe those “entitled” beach front property owners should also pay for the beach renourishment costs instead of the city taxpayers? Sea grapes help protect the beach from erosion and code enforcement should uphold the city laws and force the replacement of these valuable sea grapes, plus any fines for violating the city codes.

  7. oh man. you people. these comments are deeply cringeworthy. you will never understand how distorted your perception is until you move from that miserable, concrete jungle called south florida. you need a beach view? walk your rear ends down to the beach.

  8. These trees were killed, cut to the ground and uprooted WITHOUT a City permit. Shouldn’t the City hold violators of the law accountable?

  9. No I don’t even live in your area but I’ve lived here all my life I was born here can sea grapes were never to be cut down what makes people think today they should be oh that’s right that word entitled that gets everybody in trouble nowadays

  10. Used to be enjoyable to drive down the ocean because you could see it but about all the condos everybody approved of building for those of you that want to see the ocean now none of us can see it it disappeared

  11. Sea grapes are the protection of the sand dunes. If you don’t protect the dunes, hurricane winds will wash the sand into A1A. There is a section by Spanish River Park where they removed the sea grapes and put in sea oats. Don’t know how successful that was. If those sea grapes are not replaced with something to protect the sand dunes and the beach we wont have long to debate this topic.

  12. WOW. So much misinformation from so many experts ?

    Twelve years ago three condo residents stood before Mayor Steve Abrams and the city Council Members pointing out that you could not see the beach from any point in Boca Raton along A1A. A surprised Mayor agreed. When he first moved to Boca he could drive up A1A and see the beautiful beach , but today on that same drive the beach was obscured by 20 foot tall sea grapes. The Mayor asked the City Council to do the research necessary to open up viewing areas to everyone. There has always been the provision under City permit to reduce the Sea Grapes by 30% a year, however the Sea Grapes grow back at about the same rate!

    After a considerable number of engineering studies, environmental studies, permits, etc. the city approved the funding for the go ahead to hire an engineer, and Architects to do the work necessary to gain state approval for the project. Years of work by Boca City employees with the help and encouragement of the Boca Raton Beach Condo Association finally gained the approval of the State with all appropriate permits.
    An agreement was made between the City and State has to open (4) four hundred foot openings along the beach and A1A in Boca. Based on the programs success additional openings would be considered in the future.

    Sea Grapes have an 18” root system if they are 4 feet or 20 feet! They do not help beach erosion and are an envasive species. They are a host to other envasive vines. They tend to strangle out native plants. They are difficult to cut back as the trunks sprout suckers. Years ago the Sea Grapes were controlled by freezes, and forest fires.The Sea Grapes need to be cut to the ground and the stumps left in to help hold the sand.
    The area can then be replanted with small Sea Grapes and not allowed to grow over four feet tall. They must be maintained at four feet. This will hold the sand and build dunes. Below the Sea Grapes would be planted with native grasses, sea oats, and wild flowers. These plants will hold the sand and create dunes. Delray Beach has used this method over the years and is very successful. check it out!
    After the beaches were completed it was the condos’ turn. There are a few condos that have gone thru the same process, and received both City and State permits. These areas are open and visible from A1A.

    Several condo members and I worked for over 10 years to bring beautiful beaches and dunes to Boca that everyone can see and enjoy.
    I hope I have answered most of your concerns. We worked hard to make everyone happy, tourists, Boca city residents, and Beach residents.

  13. 1. If you meant invasive, Seagrapes are not an invasive species. They are a native species. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccoloba_uvifera
    2. In one paragraph you state “They do not help beach erosion and are an envasive species.” In the next paragraph you contradict that ” The area can then be replanted with small Sea Grapes and not allowed to grow over four feet tall. They must be maintained at four feet. This will hold the sand and build dunes.”
    Erosion and is when the sand washes away.

    To be fair, this was TGM Oceana’s property. They didn’t cut down anything on anyone else’s property. They did follow most of the rules, but whether they followed 100% of them is what’s being questioned. They do intend to re-plant it. Sea grapes, when they get big like that, are creepy places inside and not too safe for beach goers to navigate. But people get upset when they see trees chopped down, that will never change until we have no trees left.

    Thanks for working hard to make the beaches nice. For some people “nice” means it looks nice for people who want to live there. For others “nice” means it looks like people aren’t there, no views of condos from the beaches or from the water. The less you can see of people, the “nicer” it is. The reason Boca, as a whole, is NICER than its neighbors is because of the efforts of people like Don Capron who were anti-condo, who would have had the city buy the entire shoreline if the money was there, to protect the land from people who want to live there. That’s what made us Boca Raton, not Pompano, not Deerfield, Not Lauderdale by the Sea, not Aventura. It’s pretty simple.

  14. Fortunately the state of florida protects sea grapes.

    Unfortunately no one enforces it.

    Then these idiots think they’re entitled to ruin the beauty of our beaches for their view.

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