Recent resident-driven issues have found success in Boca Raton. The charter change passed in August to allow citizens the right to vote for vacated council positions, and days ago the public intracoastal lands vote passed by a 2-1 margin.
It’s time for the Mayor and City Council to lead on the newest emerging issue: the purchase/swap golf course proposal by Lennar. It is my hope that they will hear the people and choose this one time only opportunity with the Ocean Breeze property in Boca Teeca.
The issue is straightforward, the benefits clear. It is also critical to recognize the western course sale cannot be just a one-time money deal, we have to look at the long-term benefits for taxpayers since we will not profit from its development. That is why the Lennar proposal is head and shoulders above the rest.
The halo effect of a public championship course within the city limits will bring substantial tax base increases and new, positive economic impacts and value to our city. Only the Lennar option can provide that. And it is important to understand that option is a one time option, and not possible unless it is part of the sale of the western course.
Some have suggested otherwise, but that is a fact.
The economic opportunities alone are enough to justify supporting the Lennar purchase/swap. But the quality of life issues for Boca Teeca and all residents are equally significant, and the history of Ocean Breeze is vital to understanding where we are now. I was there as your city council member when the Boca Teeca residents voted to amend the deed restriction and supported the rezoning and development of the Ocean Breeze golf course. The only reason the project didn’t happen was because the developer lost the property to foreclosure in the recession and the property steadily deteriorated, even as Wells Fargo and the receiver benevolently spent millions trying to keep the property going.
Unfortunately, that has come to an end, and one of our most established communities faces a life-changing crisis.
It is said great opportunities emerge from great challenges, and Lennar’s proposal does just that. Mayor Haynie said when she announced the initial version it was a win-win, and wanted to explore a purchase of Ocean Breeze. Before and since that time, Council Members Rogers and Singer have also expressed support.
The only way to secure the future of public championship golf in the city, the economic benefits of such, and the sustainability of one of our most established neighborhoods is the Lennar proposal.
It is a comprehensive solution bringing tens of millions to the city, with long-term economic value that none of the other options provide, so the Mayor and City Council would make the best deal possible for taxpayers by making good on their statements of support. I also trust in Councilmembers Weinroth and Mullaugh to recognize the bottom line value the Lennar option provides, and join their colleagues with a unanimous vote to more forward.
It is time for decisive action on this responsible opportunity that checks all the boxes.