URGENT….URGENT….URGENT

Midtown Boca, the largest rezoning ordinances in Boca Raton history, is up for the second of two required hearings in front of the City Council on January 23 at 6:00 P.M…..

The City Council is considering approval of the latest draft ordinances that will determine quality of life of all Boca Raton residents for the foreseeable future!

As requested by City Council, and under the guidance of Director of Development Services Brandon Schaad, city staff was tasked with creating the ordinances for Midtown.  The ordinances were then presented to Planning and Zoning which recommended some modifications for further consideration by City Council, that offered some minor benefit to the landowner/developer.  As you might expect, Representatives for the Petitioner (landowner/developer) recommended substantial changes to the proposed ordinances in their favor.  The original city staff recommendations, along with P&Z and Petitioner recommendations were presented to City Council during the first required hearing last week.  During the proceedings, Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke brought forward information that should have given pause and further investigation to all others on the council.

Yet…

Next Tuesday the Council will take up this issue and may allow the developer to move forward as a final vote will most likely occur….

This is unacceptable to many residents….

A myriad of issues remain open….issues like density, safety, traffic, parking, impacts, and quality of life are mostly unknown and will remain unknown unless the City Council delays approval and requires the developer to provide a Master Plan.….

Councilwoman O’Rourke, at the first reading, raised the question of a Master Plan and actually questioned the Director of Development Services “Do we need a Master Plan” for the Midtown area.  The answer:  Yes!  She also presented language within the City’s comprehensive plan that a citywide market study is necessary; is required in the section on Planned Mobility Developments (PMD); and is supported in the plain language of the City Code.

Councilmembers Haynie, Rodgers, Singer and Weinroth remained silent on the issue of a master planning process without arguing for or against its need.  In essence, they offered no support, or appetite for discussion, for an item required by code, or for an item recommended by the Director of Development Services.

The PMD section of our Comp Plan is clear; it requires that a citywide market study “shall be performed”; mandatory language requiring a study that has not been done.  City Code Section 23-60 also is clear.  It states that “…no land development regulation or code shall be adopted or amended except in a manner consistent with the comprehensive plan.”  The code goes on to state that where there is inconsistency, the comprehensive plan must be amended before final action on a proposed land development regulation or code.

The City Council needs to follow these directives!!!

Residents must contact all the members of the City Council demanding they follow the code (Citywide impact market study) and follow the guidance (Create a Master Plan First) of the hired professionals the city employs to oversee development in the city.

City Council

Mayor Susan Haynie – shaynie@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers – jrodgers@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

Andrea O’Rourke – aorourke@ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Residents should also plan on attending the January 23rd hearing to further demand the City Council act in the ‘resident friendly’ manner.

It all boils down to this….

The Council must act in the residents’ best interest and not act in the developers’ best interest….

With council elections just 8 weeks away, I suggest that the residents’ best interests must be made to be in the forefront of the elected officials minds….Your voice must be heard

Remember also….

Your vote is your voice; let your voice be heard NOW!!!!

Al Zucaro, Publisher