This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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When an elected official takes office, the voters hope for that official to do the right thing for ALL the people.
Separately, when questionable issues confront you repeatedly, it’s hard not to take notice.
In the City of Boca Raton, there exists a circumstance where our City Council has consistently neglected or ignored the majority of residents while favoring a select few.
Here are some recent actions from our City Council that have gotten my attention and lead me to determine it’s time for change; to wit: a change for the better, a change toward a ‘resident friendly’ city.
Despite considerable publicized resident opposition and the fact that the City’s Zoning Board denied approval, not once but twice, the City Council granted a questionable variance to a single parcel of ocean side property at 2500 N. Ocean Blvd. which allows for the construction of a 10,000-sq. ft., multi-story residence. This allowed for the approval process to proceed to a state level approval which has now been granted. Despite the City Attorney advising council members that “Each variance stands on its own”, those that voted approval used the excuse that variances granted decades ago to property West of A1A were precedent setting. Now, other adjacent properties are in jeopardy. The council favored the developer….
The City Council, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, was actively working to monetize city owned waterfront property which led to a citizen’s petition and ultimately the placement on the ballot where citizens prevailed. The public made their wishes known three times prior to the November 8th vote. The council favored the developer…
The City Council changed rules and essentially ignored city codes to accommodate an applicant for an oversized building project for the 770 E. Palmetto Park Rd. Chabad project. A suit decided in District Court by a five-judge panel found the City Council acted illegally. This forces the applicant to reapply for approval. In addition, the City must follow and enforce codes and ordinances. Thus far, the council has favored the developer…
Despite a well-organized outcry from surrounding neighborhoods and residents, the City Council approved a sixty percent increase in density of the 80-acre site north of the city airport known as University Village. The council favored the developer…
Despite resident objection, the City Council changed an ordinance that reduced the requirement from a 2.0 acres’ minimum site, to a 1.25 acres per site, to build a 140’ tall building. This Boca Raton version of ‘spot zoning’ was done to accommodate the submittal of a favored architect’s commercial property to construct Tower 155, now under construction. The council favored the developer…
The City Council attempted to sell the city owned Ocean Stand property to a hotel group for usage as a private beach club. A successful citizen petition, and lawsuit, resulted in a reversal by City Council. Siml vs Boca Raton. The council favored the developer…
More items can certainly be added to the above list. But the findings are obvious.
Ask yourself, what have the individuals on your City Council done to support you, vs the development community? What has the Council asked in return for the granting of these profitmaking variances and approvals? Are the council members moderating growth or going hell-bent on building huge projects which will affect your everyday enjoyment; your quality of life? Are they developer friendly or resident friendly?
It is no secret that political campaigns are heavily funded by the development community and developer funded PAC’s. With only one exception, every member of our current council has their eyes set on higher office in the next year or two and therefore in need of this coveted PAC money…If the coveted PAC money plays any part in the decision-making process by those holding office today, it is a betrayal of public trust and a clearly misplaced loyalty. You be the judge of whether our council members have such misplaced loyalty!
Please pay attention during the March election cycle. Make sure your selections represent your view of what you want for Boca Raton. It’s our city, the residents, not their city, the developers.
Protect your community for the future, you can make a difference and the November 8th vote proved you right.
Your vote is your voice; let your voice be heard in March, 2017!!!