This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
If there are questions or concerns with the content please e-mail email@example.com.
Clearly another example of a community divided….BocaWatch has published a series of articles concerning the Mizner 200 development application. These articles mostly outlined the project’s deficiencies as pointed out by neighboring property owners; to wit: Townsend Place and Investments Limited. The time has come for a final decision. Last week’s BocaWatch article presenting results of the CAB and P&Z meetings drew serious community comment/criticism. Perhaps in response, Boca Beautiful’s Board of Directors submitted below a follow up article. Besides announcing the July 24th CRA action date, there is little new news contained. Jack McWalter’s video commentary presents a countervailing point of view. Final decision cannot come soon enough. This item has become a defining community concern. Our elected officials now have to take the ‘hard’ decision; have to demonstrate ‘leadership’ for all to see! That is why they get paid the big bucks.
Al Zucaro, Publisher
It all comes down to this: following approvals by the Community Appearance Board and the Planning and Zoning Boards, Boca’s City Council (sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency) will consider whether to approve the Monster on Mizner on July 24th. It will take three votes to send the project back to the drawing board for further improvements or to send a signal that “anything goes” when it comes to development in our already crowded downtown.
Here are three good reasons why the City Council should reject Mizner 200 as proposed:
1. The building is too large for the neighborhood in which it will sit. Distinguished local architects Doug Mummaw and Derek Vander Ploeg have written a detailed treatise on this and the other design flaws of Mizner 200. It is well worth reading. As a single building of over 1 million square feet (almost 1000 feet long, 120 feet high and 400 feet deep), it is by far the largest project ever proposed for Boca’s Downtown. In contravention of Boca’s Architectural Design Guidelines, it will block the vistas and views of its neighbors. It should be broken up into three distinct buildings, as was ordered on other large sites, for example the Via Mizner property on Camino and Federal.
2. Downtown Boca does not have the infrastructure in place to support yet another concrete monstrosity. With most of the new and approved construction in our downtown yet to be finished and occupied, traffic on the five major streets in our Downtown is already intolerable. There is no place to drive, no place to park. Worse, there is no plan in place to correct this; only plans like Mizner 200 that will make it worse. Why not take a pause in the approval of new construction projects until you have a plan in place to deal with the impact of these projects on our quality of life? Why the rush to gridlock?
3. Mizner 200 is more than just a big, ugly building (think of the Mark times four). It is perhaps the last chance for our City Council to take corrective action to slow the unfettered “urbanization” of our Downtown. Development is good; overdevelopment is not. New construction should be neighborhood friendly and infrastructure compatible. Mistakes were clearly made in the development of Downtown Boca over the past 8 years. Do not compound those errors by approving Mizner 200 as it is currently proposed. You will make a lot of unhappy voters angry, and a lot of angry voters even angrier.
IF YOU AGREE, TELL BOCA’S CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS TO VOTE AGAINST APPROVAL OF MIZNER 200 AS NOW PROPOSED. WE NEED PLANS FOR BETTER PARKING AND TRAFFIC, NOT PLANS FOR MORE CONCRETE MONSTROSITIES.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD BY JULY 24TH:
Boca Raton City Council e-mail addresses
Mayor Susan Haynie – firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers – email@example.com
Councilman Mayor Robert Weinroth – firstname.lastname@example.org
CRA Chair/Councilman Scott Singer – email@example.com
Andrea O’Rourke – firstname.lastname@example.org
City Council Address for regular mail
Boca Raton City Hall
201 W. Palmetto Park Road
Boca Raton, FL 33432
City Personnel and Offices
City Manager Leif Ahnell 561-393-7703
City Attorney Diana Frieser 561-393-7716
City Council& Mayor’s Office 561-393-7708
IF YOU DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO E-MAIL OR FEEL LIKE WRITING, JUST CALL THE CITY COUNCIL NUMBER 561-393-7708 AND LEAVE A STRONG MESSAGE!
The Board of Directors
John Gore, we have agreed with you for 2 years. Mizner 200 is a disaster??But the facts do not go with your 3 reasons. It has been broken up into 3 buildings with huge setbacks, and tons of trees . Not one variance has been requested. Going from apartments to condos will decrease parking and infrastructure issues. I have not read Derick’s paper but I will bet it is on style and details regarding “urbanization of mizneresque stuff”. Bad elevations and on and on. Vistas will be ok. John, stay with us because the real fight will be when Royal Palm Playa will be replaced with 20 story 1000 apartments boxes with windows and than boca will be destroyed forever. It is coming. John ” keep your powder dry”.
Points one and three are mostly subject points of view and in a quasi judicial proceeding should have little to no evidential value. Conversely, point number 2, “Downtown Boca does not have the infrastructure in place to support yet another concrete monstrosity” is an objective and quantifiable subject and is where the opposition to the project should focus their efforts. Antidotal evidence of experienced travel times or perceived traffic death traps without supporting statistical data should not be considered evidence. Opposition point 2, that focuses on traffic congestion and safety, needs to demonstrate that the traffic studies for the project and Ordinance 4035 traffic standards are mathematical flawed and don’t meet the developments order’s code established minimum level of services standards for project’s generated traffic and impacts. Opponents to so called “over development” of downtown have a different perception of traffic performance standards and expectations than what is codified in 4035 and any opposition to a project that includes traffic impacts is behind the 8 ball without evidence to the contrary.
It can be debated forever but the bottom line is it will go through. Here in south Florida, development is like freight train, nothing will derail it. And, that’s because the developers have worked very hard to get very cozy with all the important Zoning officials. Having seen the new math employed by the county for traffic studies to justify new development, I’m sure Boca Raton has its new math users as well.
The real issue is that the dialog needs to change. Just because a developer proposes something doesn’t mean it has to be done. But, city and county officials don’t seem to understand that.
Many people left their northern cities to escape the high densities. Well, that’s being recreated here in south Florida. Been down to Ft. Lauderdale lately? It’s an eye opening experience. You don’t have to let that happen here but you probably can’t stop it either.
Just a couple of follow up comments. Jack, you are wrong when you say that Mizner 200 has been “broken up into three buildings.” It is ONE building with three “towers” each with a 24-foot wide air shaft between them. That’s 48 feet of “vista” for a 960-foot long single building. The beautiful picture in BocaWatch is a fraud. You are right when you say there will be an enormous fight over the redevelopment of Royal Palm Place. There should be. But if the City Council doesn’t take a stand on Mizner 200, how is it going to stand up to anybody? Tony, there are tons of traffic statistics and projections out there, most of which were done 20+ years ago. They all point to adequate roads and parking. Tell that to somebody who’s sitting on Palmetto Park Road for 45 minutes trying to get to or from the beach, or who’s sitting on Dixie or Federal trying to get to and from work. And we haven’t yet felt the impact of all the new construction either underway or approved. Janet, you may well be right that there’s no stopping development– even bad development. I hope you are also right when you say “you don’t have to let that happen here…”
Boca residents have all sorts of legitimate concerns. My concern mainly focuses on the question of each project and or development vastly increases the density and intensity (use) of the previous or existing density and intensity. Now, for let’s say one or two projects this might be ok – but not for every project submitted for approval.
I believe for example the Mizner 200 development is for 384 units/residences. The existing Mizner On the Green is approximate 168 units (+/-).
If I have these numbers correctly, this is a more than doubling of units.
We can no longer state: what are the consequences to such increases in density; and we can no longer ponder the ‘unintended’ consequences of these dramatic increases. These a now well known, and have been for years now!
Joe and john, Mizner 200 is additional 138 high end units as in $2 million per over Mizner in the Green. These are condos and not apartments . There are no traffic issues now and will be less since these condos will be our friends from Long Island for maybe 4 months out of the year. What is there now looks like a project from Chicago. I have a engineer friend who told me that Mizner 200 will be less concrete than what is there now and includes Palmetto Promenade and lot nicer looking than either project. The architects Garcia and Stromberg did a super job . Plenty of setbacks, nice vistas, canopy trees. They have done everything we asked. God sakes what more do you want. Me I would like the city to buy the whole thing for $100 million and make it a park . I hate what the this city has done to destroy our quality of life. But shit happens. Developers have rights also. ELAD paid $100 million not sure and we should be thankful they got architects we can work with. This is not another abortion like the Mark you know boxes with windows. Keep your powder dry. jack