A few of the citizens who prefer commercialization of Boca Raton’s city-owned Intracoastal Waterway properties are spreading false information about Ordinance 5356. This ordinance, which will be on the November 8, 2016 ballot specifies that city-owned land adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway shall be used for recreation only…no commercial development. This article provides more information to support the argument that the ordinance just prohibits commercial development and provides for a wide range of uses at the discretion of the City Council.
The following link points to some background on the situation. Understanding the ordinance. Note Ordinance 5356 is referred to as Proposed Ordinance 28-1308 in the linked article. This means that when Ordinance 5356 is adopted it will be included in Section 28-1308 of the Code of Ordinances.
The City Council has the authority to grant variances to ordinances. An example of this is the variances granted by the City Council for the Palmetto Promenade, aka Archstone, apartment project on East Palmetto Park Road. The following table lists the variances granted to allow this project to be approved.
Of significance in this example is that the variances to the ordinances were granted by the City Council for a proposed development on private property. Ordinance 5356, on the other hand, applies only to property that the city owns. So the City Council, in the case of a variance request to Ordinance 5356, would be deciding on granting a variance request for city-owned property, i.e., city officials will be the petitioner and the decision-maker. In the short (2.5 minutes) video pointed to by the link below, Deputy City Manager George Brown explains the decision-making authority held by the City Council when it comes to Ordinance 5356 and ordinances in general.
Also, in this video are some examples of uses permitted under Ordinance 5356 by Ingrid Allen, Senior Planner. A wide range of concessions from food to sports are mentioned. Watch You Tube
In summary, Ordinance 5356 provides for recreation and supporting uses for city-owned land adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway. The ordinance is designed to prohibit commercial development on these lands and protect them for on-going recreational use. In the case of a desired use that is not foreseen in the ordinance, the City Council has decision-making authority to grant variances. The fact that the land that the ordinance covers are city-owned makes the process simpler than if the properties was private. Palmetto Promenade, a private property, was used as an example of the extent of variances that are granted to enable a project. Ordinance 5356 will not restrict uses pertaining to recreation.
Vote YES on Ordinance 5356 on November 8!
Isn’t there a difference between the granting of a variance or technical deviation, specifically provided for in the code of ordinances and the interpretation of an ordinance? Isn’t there a difference between the granting of a variance or technical deviation for non-land use provisions and the interpretation of land use provisions?
None of the itemized variance/technical deviation for the Palmetto Park Promenade had anything to do with land use interpretations.
Mr. Brooks, the attorney that wrote the language of the ordinance 5356 and the Deputy City Manager George Brown are in agreement that the “City retains the ability to interrupt this ordinance in the future just as it does with any public ordinances” however, they failed to acknowledged the liability of such land use interpretations. As quoted in this forums’ Hot Topics Blog – For Every (Court) Action There Is A (Appellate) Reaction ” the Circuit Court found that the ‘plain language’ of the City Code Section 28-302 did not include ‘museum’ as a listed use within the meaning of a ‘place(s) of public assembly’.
There is no doubt in my mind that the “Plain Language” argument will be used by a citizen(s) that objects to an interpretation made by the City.
It’s an example of the scope of the City Council’s discretion to grant variances.
It’s a great ordinance. It’s a shame that it was necessary but it certainly renders explicit who’s on the side of developers and who’s on the side of residents.