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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The interests of government, in this case Palm Beach County and the City of Boca Raton, tag teaming up with the financial interests of a developer, in this case, GL Homes, to effectively take away rights and values of current and future residents.
What is this about?
Currently the County and the City are advancing a petition to install a 400 foot communication tower on a 0.47 acre civic pod on the Boca Municipal golf course property; a petition that will result to the benefit of these governments and to the financial interests of the developer but, arguably, at the expense of the current and future residents and landowners.
The County is the actual petitioner for this communication tower application with the city participating in the process from a joint ownership and usage point of view. The developer participates by agreeing to locate the required civic pod to a specific location on the golf course different from its current placement. GL’s approvals to change the golf course land use designation from Parks and Recreation to Low Residential, 3 units per acre, on the 193.68 acres requires a 3.68 acre civic pod. By agreeing to move the location as requested by the County, the civic pod requirement will be reduces to a mere 0.47 acre site. Along with this reduction, GL will be required to make a $200,000 cash-out payment for the “mitigation of the self collapsing tower construction and the visual impact cost to the GL Homes Project”; a net increase of building acreage of 3.21 acres.
You do the math….3 units per acre times 3.21 acres times the average price per unit….a hell of a lot more than the $200,000 fee….
It gets even more intriguing….
In order for this 400 foot communication tower to be approved, 5 type 2 Communication Tower Waiver Requests will be required.
These waivers are summarized as follows:
- a reduction of the required 5,280 foot separation distance between the Proposed Tower. Currently, the two other existing communication towers in proximity have a 484 foot and a 1102 foot separation; to wit: If approved then a 79% and 91% reduction respectively;
- the remaining 4 waivers have to do with distances for setback from ‘nearest residential structure; the nearest adjacent residential property line; the distance between the proposed tower and vacant residential property line; and, the setback between the tower and the non-residential property line.
By way of background, currently there are three towers in immediate proximity to one another that are inconsistent with the current County Comprehensive Plan and land use regulations. These current towers are a 511 foot tower; a 350 foot tower; and a 180 foot tower. The 180 foot tower is located on the Boca Muni golf course property. All three of these towers pre-existed the County implementing the 2003 separation and setback code changes and therefore are non-objectionable. However, originally contemplated here was to take down the 180 foot tower and simply replace it on the existing site; a move that would have not raised objection. However, a new plan emerged, a plan to take down the 180 foot tower and replace it with a 400 foot tower on a new location; a location which is in violation of the County’s own codes.
It is important to note that prior to 2003, the county provided unfettered discretion on the siting of communication towers; a policy resulting in unsightly clusters of communication towers in close proximity to one another. In 2003, the county took an informed legislative action to require separation distance and setback standards. Now, in this petition, the county argues that because there are already three towers in a cluster within proximity of one another and because these three already do not conform to the adopted 2003 standards, that the code requirements ought be disregarded and, hence, are not applicable. Sort of a no harm no foul argument…Give me a break….
This application, if approved, will actually take down the 180 foot tower and replace it with a 400 foot tower on a different location. How is that outside the 2003 changes?
The petition also infringes on the current adjacent property owner’s rights and, arguably, the rights of future foreseeable residential property owners. This type of government deception is certainly something the average resident needs to be concerned about.
Government and developers enjoy tremendous advantage over the average resident. An approval here will immediately inure to the benefit of the two governments and the developer while the landowner is imposed upon and future land values are impacted.
Attached here is the Letter of Objection filed by the adjacent landowner directly impacted by this government action; an action that may arguably approach an actual government taking. The letter outlines in specific detail the landowner’s position. It is suggested that the interested reader should spend the time to better understand the arguments being made.
The critical issue is that government cannot impose upon those of us that are governed duties and obligations to adhere too and then seek to avoid those same duties and obligations when it is perceived by the government that the end result is in the government’s interest.
Good Governance should protect the resident/landowner against that kind of arbitrary outcome. Good Governance also must demand accountability.
So what’s next….
The County’s application is scheduled to go before the County’s Planning and Zoning Board on June 6th.
To those readers outside the city limits in West Boca, there will be a contingent of citizens at the June 6th P&Z meeting to object to the application’s approval. It is suggested that you take the time and attend this meeting to have your voice heard.
To those of us that are Boca Raton city residents, we should be interested in showing solidarity and support for the West Boca property owner and the foreseeable future property owners that will bear the negative impacts of this type of government intrusion.
Finally, you are urged to contact County Commissioners Mary Lou Berger and Robert Weinroth to voice your opinion on this subject. If Planning and Zoning gives this application an approval, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) will vote on the subject on June 27th. A favorable vote at the BCC is needed before implementation.
Only by standing up and objecting to this kind of government overreach will we, the residents, be able to quietly enjoy our homes and our properties.
Publisher of BocaWatch
On June 6, Palm Beach County’s Zoning Commission will vote on whether or not they will allow the creation of a new and unsightly tower. Residents are committed to stopping the proposed tower from being built, particularly as the county is skirting their own rules for how close the towers are allowed to be.
- Mary Lou Berger, MBerger@pbcgov.org, 561-355-2205
- Robert Weinroth, RWeinroth@pbcgov.org, 561-355-2204
- Mack Bernard, MBernard@pbcgov.org, 561-355-2207
- Dave Kerner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 561-355-2203
- Melissa McKinlay, MMcKinlay@pbcgov.org, 561-355-2206
- Gregg Weiss, email@example.com, 561-355-2202
- Hal Valeche, HValeche@pbcgov.org, 561-355-2201
- Verdenia Baker, County Administrator