20 Nov 2019 Latest on Boca National
This article was originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, preserved here now for historical purposes.
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We attended the joint meeting between the City and Beach & Park District on November 12th, which was very interesting, but not too productive. The only thing positive from the meeting was that the City and the Beach & Park District agreed on the layout (BUT not the designer.) The layout will be 18 holes on west side, driving range on the south east side and the executive course or short course on the north east side. Also, which is very important, the design and everything else will be up to the city to develop including what and where everything will be located.
Thanks to Council Member Andy Thomson, with his comments and questioning with rapid word interpretation – disrupted any possible chance of compromise between the two groups. The same back and forth continued, around and around all night.
A highlight of the joint meeting was when Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rogers offered to buy the golf course property from the BPD for the appraised value – another sarcastic remark totally uncalled for! If I remember correctly it was a $22 million appraisal done by an outside well-know Florida appraiser.
Council Member Thomson requested City Manager Ahnell to have city staff put out an RFP to golf course designers to get presentations on how to do Boca National less expensively. This process according to City Manager Leif Ahnell will take approximately 6 months and then with the review of these presentations by City Council.
Commissioner Engel of the BPD requested consent, (not “veto”, the word Council Member Thomson keep using regarding BPD word “consent”) on the future design of the golf course, since the BPD own the land and this request makes sense. Again there was no decision on this request, just a long non-productive exchange about the interpretation of a common sense approach.
Thank God someone made a motion to adjourn the 3 hour joint meeting.
The next step is for the city to write an ILA for the BPD to review. I hope the BPD looks it over carefully because they are the actual owners of the property and still are responsible for anything and everything on it or whether it is a success or failure. They need to have the right to look over the future design and approve what goes on the golf course. It is their fiduciary responsibility even though the city is paying for it.
The other challenge is how these 2 groups are going to work out an agreement about this whole project using this land owned by the BPD according to the BPD charter. What happens after the bond from the City is paid off and the title is turned over to them. There are lots of details that have to be worked out and should be discussed before an ILA is agreed upon and signed.
Please send emails to the City Council & Beach Park District commissioners recommending that the City Council use the Price/Fazio design for the golf course to move this project forward and after development, give the golf course back to the Beach & Park District to operate and maintain for the best outcome.
Thanks for all your support – your emails really do count!
Harold Chaffee, KEEP GOLF IN BOCA