Saturday, December 25, 2010

Environmentally Sensitive Land Cleared in Boca Raton WITHOUT a Permit from City

Why has over 20,000 sq. ft. of environmentally sensitive land (ESL) been cleared between I-95 and NW 5th Ave. over the past few days? It appears that there has been no permit issued by the city for clearing this ESL. There appears to have been no attempt by the operator of the Bobcat equipment to protect or preserve any of the endangered wildlife, such as gopher tortoise that are known to habitat the area.

Is it a coincidence that on 12/21 the city received the contingent approval from the Florida Dept. of Community Affairs (DCA) to change the land use on this 79 acres of land the city (which has been designated as environmentally sensitive by the city) from residential-low density to planned mobility and less than a week later the land is being cleared? This land use change was actively opposed by residents in the adjacent single family homes along NW 5th Ave. between Spanish River Blvd. & Yamato Rd./East of I-95. This land use change would allow over 1.3 million sq. ft. of development and over 1,500 residential units to be developed on this land instead of the approx. 240 units allowed under the existing land use designation.

On 12/23 & 12/24 neighbors in the Spanish River HOA area along NW 5th Ln. & NW 50th Place heard land behind their houses being cleared. When residents investigated the activity on this environmentally sensitive land they were told by the operator of the Bobcat (with a bush-hog clearing implement on the front) that this was a fire road he was clearing.

This operator of the Bobcat did not have any surveying stakes or protective fencing to designate the specific area to be cleared or to protect the sensitive wildlife in this area. There was no permit visible on the site which was entered on the west end of NW 50th Place.

These pictures illustrate the extensive damage done to the ESL on this property. At a public meeting on Nov. 3rd the CEO of the property owner stated that this property was for sale.
Was this clearing related to the approval of the land use change and the planned sale of the property?

What legal responsibility, if any, does the property owner have for this clearing of ESL without a permit from the city? Will this be investigated in a similar manner to the recent US Foodservice damage to ESL in north Boca Raton in which they were fined over $200k and had to restore the damaged ESL adjacent to their property?

The Notice of Intent issued by the DCA on 12/21 indicates that the amendments to the city's comprehensive growth management plan are not effective until after 21 days of publication of the notice and is subject to being challenged by affected residents. Accordingly, the land use change was not effective as of the date of this clearing operation so who is responsible for this destruction of this ESL area?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Boca Del Mar Board Votes Against Development On Golf Course

Boca Del Mar board votes against plan to redevelop golf course
By Rebekah Monson, Sun Sentinel - December 19, 2010

A controversial plan to develop a defunct golf course in Boca Del Mar will move forward without the support of the community's homeowners association.

In 2004, the Boca Del Mar Improvement Association's board of directors voted to support a plan to build townhomes on the former Mizner Trail Golf Course, but last week the board voted 6-1 not to support a new proposal for development from Siemens Group, a Boca Raton developer.
"We're all very surprised that this has come up again, but this time the board listened," said Brian Coleman, a Boca Del Mar resident and member of the Second Coalition Against Mizner Development, a group that opposes development on the course. Board members did not respond to e-mail and phone calls requesting comment.

In 2006, the County Commission rejected an plan from course owner Dutch Bliss to build 202 townhomes on the course. Siemens plans to continue the rezoning process with the new plan despite the board's vote. If the County approves the change, the earliest units could be finished would be June 2012, said Justin Siemens of Siemens Group. Siemens' development is a lower density than the rejected plan, and it makes better use of the property than the vacant course, said Richard Siemens, president of Siemens Group. "This is a totally different approach in a different time period," he said.

But residents remained concerned about overcrowding, traffic, declining values of existing homes and loss of green space if housing is built on the course, said Rosemary Nixon of the Second Coalition Against Mizner Development. "The only significant difference that is proposed this time is more units, and they're on every fairway of the golf course," Nixon said. "The developer maintains that it's a lower density, but it impacts more homes and more properties and totally destroys all the green space."

The developers decreased the number of proposed units and moved new homes away from existing buildings, based on input from residents who live around the course, Richard Siemens said. "When we could make the plan better, we did," he said. "These are our neighbors. We want to be cooperative."

Two public rezoning hearings are scheduled in January...January 7th = P&Z board meeting

Siemens Group's contract to buy the golf course from owner Dutch Bliss is contingent on county approval of the project. Bliss bought the property in 1998, planning to keep the course open temporarily and then develop the land into housing. He closed the course in 2005, saying that he could not afford to maintain it. A deed restriction mandating that the land be used as a golf course expires in December 2012, but most residents would prefer the space remain a golf course or be converted into a park, Nixon said.

"They couldn't put another golf course on it for the simple reason that it would cost $6 million to $7 million," said Arnold Levinstein, a 22-year resident of Boca Del Mar whose home overlooks the course. "I would love it, but it would be a losing proposition." The Seimens Group plan would be better than looking across weedy, fallow land, and a well-maintained development would improve his property value, Levinstein said.

"The reason a lot of us bought there was because of the open space," Coleman said. "To take it away would be wrong."

Rebekah Monson can be reached at 561-243-6624 or

Monday, December 13, 2010

Save Boca Raton Beaches - Sign the Petition

Are you aware that a beach in North Boca Raton purchased by city taxpayers may be considered for development of a private beach club?

Residents have filed a petition with the city in order to request residents to vote on whether they want to protect public beaches from being used for private development. If you want to help protect the Boca Raton beaches, then please send us an email at and we will email you the petitions.

Time is short as this residential effort only has until approx. 12/21/10 to obtain 1,000 signatures of registered voters within the city limits.

Thank You for Your Assistance,
Save Boca Raton Green Space
"A residential advocacy group"
------------------Background Info on This Issue---------------
Boca Raton Ocean Strand land needs to be preserved for recreation, residents say

The oceanfront land was purchased by the city in 1994 to save it from development but the land is still zoned for residential use

By Angel Streeter, Sun Sentinel - July 20, 2010Residents who live near the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District's 15-acre oceanfront property recently fought off a developer. Now they want it rezoned to keep builders away for good. The request comes after their protests thwarted the developer, who recently proposed building a beach club on a portion of the Ocean Strand property on State Road A1A. In May, the park district board said it had no plans to sell or lease the property after residents came out in droves to protest the proposal. And just Monday — after the City Council noted they had not received a response from the park board inquiring about its plans for the property — board Chairman Bob Rollins sent a letter to Mayor Susan Whelchel reiterating the park district's plans to use the land for a park.

"In evaluating the comments received from the public on this subject, there does not appear at the current time to be any public benefit to be enjoyed by the community other than use of this property for park purposes," he wrote in the letter. But that's not enough for some residents. They contend the best way to protect the land from future developers is to change its zoning from residential to recreation. "The land usage has to be changed," said Andrea Stekloff, who lives in the Boca Towers condominiums just north of the property. "We don't want to have to go through this again in another 10 years.

"Penn- Florida Companies expressed interest in building a beach club on part of Ocean Strand as part of its Via Mizner project, a redevelopment project planned at the northeast corner of Federal Highway and Camino Real in downtown Boca Raton. The mixed-use development, approved by the city Community Redevelopment Agency in 2006, would consist of a 118-room luxury hotel, office space, 192 condominiums and high-end retail stores and restaurants.

In April, Penn-Florida asked city officials to help it secure the beachfront part of the land from the park district. In a letter, the company called a beach club a necessary amenity to attract an exclusive international hotel that has expressed interest in Via Mizner. Since then, residents have been skittish, worrying that the developer would find some way to get ahold of the land, which the district purchased in 1994 for $11.9 million to save it from development. So residents asked the park district board on Monday to request a zoning change from the city. But the district's attorney suggested the board wait until it has developed a master plan, a sort of blueprint of how the land could be used. That process could take several months.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Green Stewardship? City Approves Huge Development on Environmentally Sensitive Land - Send Email/Oppose

On Oct. 26th the city approved an amendment to the city's comprehensive plan which included a land use change on 79 acres of land adjacent to homes along NW 5th Ave. and North of Spanish River Blvd. This land is currently designated for Low Density Residential (RL) land use that would allow approx. 240 homes, but as a result of the city's action this land has been approved for over 1.3 million sq. ft. of development. This approval is the equivalent of approximately 7 Super Wal-Marts and would allow approx. 1,600 new housing units.

Does Boca Raton need another 1,600 housing units considering the glut of foreclosures?

Does Boca Raton need the development of the equivalent of 7 Super Wal-Marts?

The property owner (Boca Raton Regional Hospital) has indicated that they have no specific plans for development, but their representative indicated at a public meeting in early Nov. that this land was for sale. They purchased this land in 2005 for $25 million and the value has declined to $5-6 million according to the PBC property appraisers office. It is expected that this approval will significantly devalue the adjacent residential property and result in a significant increase in the value of the 79 acres. You do not need to be a real estate expert to understand that this land use change is very detrimental to the residential property values in the area.

This 79 acres is designated as Environmentally Sensitive Land (ESL) and the FL Dept. of Community Affairs (DCA) had objected to the land use change in their earlier review of this proposal. DCA recommended the city retain the RL designation for this land unless they could provide the "data & analysis" to justify the change on this specific location. At the Oct. 26th meeting of the city council there was discussion on the amount of development that should be allowed and an elected official suggested caution in approving a reduction from over 2 million sq. ft. originally proposed since the city council DID NOT HAVE THE DATA TO SUPPORT A CHANGE. This statement is clearly shown on the video of this meeting on Oct. 26th as sown on the wity web site under Agendas and Minutes.

This data & analysis is what the State oversight dept. requested in their prior objection, so how did the city continue to request this land use change in their Nov. 8th response to the DCA's objection if they did not have the requested "data & analysis" to support this approval at the time of adoption?

Is the development of approx. 1,600 residential units or a combination of over 1.3 million sq.ft. of commercial/retail buildings consistent with the environmentally sensitive nature of this property?

Where is the responsible "green stewardship" that the city leaders are always talking about?

These actions speak louder than words as this is very poor environmental leadership by the city and it is very detrimental to the residents in the Spanish River residential area.

Take action today to protect environmentally sensitive land and support your residential community - Email the FL Dept. of Community Affairs and request this Land Use change not be approved due to the inconsistency with the Environmentally Sensitive Land Use designation and the data and analysis has not been provided to support this land use change on the 79 acres (per DCA ORC Objection #3).

Email to: Bob Dennis -

Send your emails ASAP since the FL DCA will be issuing their final review of this proposal by Dec. 21st.

City Approves >1.3 million sq.ft. Adjacent to Residental Area at Spanish River Blvd.

On Oct. 26th the city approved a land use change on 79 acres of land adjacent to homes along NW 5th Ave. and North of Spanish River Blvd. This land is currently designated for Low Density Residential (RL) land use that would allow approx. 240 homes, but as a result of the city's action this land has been approved for over 1.3 million sq.ft. of development. This approval is the equivalent of approx. 7 Super Wal-Marts and would allow approx. 1,600 new housing units.

Does Boca Raton need another 1,600 housing units?

Does Boca Raton need the development of the equivalent of 7 Super Wal-Marts?

The property owner (Boca Raton Regional Hospital) has indicated that they have no specific plans for development, but their representative indicated at a public meeting that this land was for sale. They purchased this land in 2005 for $25 million and the value has declined to $5-6 million according to the PBC property appraisers office. It appears that this approval will significantly devalue the adjacent residential property and result in a significant increase in the value of the 79 acres. You do not need to be a real estate expert to understand that this land use change is very detrimental to the residential property values in the area.

This 79 acres is also designated as Environmentally sensitive and the FL Dept. of Community Affairs had objected to the land use change in their earlier review of this proposal and recommended the city retain the RL designation for this land unless they could provide the "data & analysis" to justify the change on this specific location. At the Oct. 26th meeting of the city council there was discussion on the amount of development that should be allowed and an elected official suggested caution in approving a reduction from over 2 million sq.ft. originally proposed since the city council DID NOT HAVE THE DATA TO SUPPORT A CHANGE. This statement is clearly shown on the video of this meeting on Oct. 26th and this data & analysis is what the State oversight dept. requested in their prior objection. According to this statement by an elected official it appears that at the time of the approval this recommendation by the FL DCA was not met by the city.

Is the development of approx. 1,600 residential units or a combination of over 1.3 million sq.ft. of commercial/retail buildings consistent with the environmentally sensitive nature of this property? Where is the responsible "green stewardship" that the city leaders are always talking about? These actions speak louder than words as this is very poor environmental leadership by the city and it is very detrimental to the residents in the Spanish River residential area.

Take action today to support your residential community - Email the FL Dept. of Community Affairs and request this Land Use change not be approved due to the inconsistency with the Environmentally Sensitive Land Use designation and the data and analysis has not been provided to support this land use change on the 79 acres (in DCA ORC Objection #3).

Email to: Bob Dennis -

Send your emails ASAP since the FL DCA will be issuing their final review of this proposal by Dec. 21st.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mizner Trail Development Proposal Update **Take Action NOW**

On Nov. 17th the P.B. Zoning Staff certified Richard Siemen's golf course conversion proposal 2010-1728 for Mizner Trail. This does not mean it has been approved, it has not. What this means is that after several revisions it meets the MINIMUM legal code requirements and can now be sent to the next step which is a hearing and vote on January 7, 2011 by the P.B. Zoning Commission.

In the meantime, we await the P.B. Zoning Staff's recommendation to approve or disapprove the proposal. In 2006 the zoning staff was adamantly against any building on any portion of the golf course. Regardless of the outcome of that vote, it will then be sent to the Palm Beach County Commissioners for a hearing and vote on January 27, 2011. ONLY if the County Commissioners vote to approve the zoning change will development be allowed.

Email the P.B. Zoning Commissioners by sending your brief objection to the Zoning Commissioners secretaries: and

In your subject line print: Forward To All Zoning Commissioners Re: Mizner Trail 2010-1728 Their staff are required to forward your comments to all Zoning Commissioners. This is extremely important, previously you may have sent an email to the County Commissioners, this is a completely different board.

Defending our community from wealthy developers with deep pockets who are poised to make millions does not come cheap. We have hired a specialized attorney, Ralf Brookes, who has worked with many other grassroots organizations to defeat developers, but legal representation requires money. We are fighting to save this community but we need your financial support today. Please donate whatever you can now.

To donate visit our website and click on the donate button, or send a check made payable to: Second Coalition Against Mizner Dev. Inc. to P.O. Box 810831 Boca Raton, FL 33481. We are a 501C-3 Non profit registered with the State of Florida.

Email your opposition comments to all of the County Commissioners:,,,,,,

The two upcoming hearings and vote are open to the general public and you may also sign up to speak for generally three minutes. We will provide you times and locations of these meetings so that you can attend as the dates approach.

We need the email addresses of any individual who opposes this development so that we may include them in our email lists. No email will be shared, and you will only receive blind emails (Bcc's) from this coalition. This coalition will never put your email address on an email distribution list or email blast.

Visit Our Website For Updates at

Visit YouTube and search "Mizner Trail" for a brief informative video

Send in editorials to the Palm Beach Post and the Sun Sentenel opposing this development

In 2006 the Zoning Staff recommended for denial of the zoning change, the Palm Beach County Commissioners voted against the zoning change, and the Palm Beach Circuit County Court ruled against the zoning change. Nothing has changed since 2006, we should expect the result to be the same. No Zoning Change.

The Second Coalition Against Mizner Development (a group of your neighbors) wants to thank every one of you for your overwhelming and continued support to defeat this zoning change, but now is not the time to sit back, now is the time to step up. The coalition's unwavering position is "no building on any fairway", we represent all of you and will not compromise or sellout any community under any condition. You have until January 27, 2011 to make sure your voice is heard. Let them hear you loud and clear.
Thank you

We are SCAMDSecond Coalition Against Mizner DevelopmentA 501C-3 Non Profit

"Evil flourishes when good people (men) do nothing" - Edmund Burke

Thursday, October 14, 2010

County Commissioner Supports Amendment 4

Amendment 4: The Truth Behind the Lies
- Published Sunday, August 22, 2010- by Joe McClash (County Commissioner in Florida)

Amendment 4 is a valid option for citizens to better manage their community’s Land Use Plan. The opposition has created a scare campaign filled with outright lies. They often refer to a study conducted by “The Washington Economics Group” that is not based in Washington and relies upon no facts, but mostly opinions – opinions of developers and elected officials who are against Amendment 4.

Getting the truth out about Amendment 4 may be difficult since the opposition’s money can fund their campaign of misinformation. We can only hope the citizens see through this and vote for what is in the best interest of our local communities and the State of Florida. It is disappointing that those opposing Amendment 4 have resorted to lies in this important state decision. As an elected official, I find it necessary to provide a response to their misinformation as follows:

Lie Number One: Voters must “Vote on everything.”
NOT TRUE! Only Comprehensive Plan amendments will need to be voted on. There is no requirement to vote on land use items that are zoning issues. Their use of this lie has people believing that if they want to build a house or add a room, it would have to be voted on in a referendum. Just not true!

Lie Number Two: “Will drive jobless rates higher.”
Florida has the ability to more than triple its population without one more additional Comp Plan change, so this is just not true! And wasn't it the “run wild development” that caused this great recession we are in now – speculation and over-development which created the worst crisis since the great depression?

Lie Number Three: “Would mean higher property taxes.”
If anything will drive taxes higher, it would be more development. Several studies show new residential development costs 10 to 30% more in taxes than we receive, which leaves existing taxpayers to subsidize developers.

Lie Number Four: “Local government will be required to hold expensive referendums. More elections require more tax dollars.”
The fact is, no expensive referendums are required. Every two years we have a primary and general election. There is even a Presidential primary “Super Tuesday” in March every four years. Amendment 4 would allow citizens to give their stamp of approval as part of the existing elections. The process allows that if a developer is in such a rush to change our community’s comp plan, they can request a special election – at their cost.

Lie Number Five: “Ultimately Amendment 4 would force local and state governments to raise taxes or cut services.”
This is already happening under our current economy with the devaluation of property values caused primarily from over-development. Amendment 4 will allow a process for citizens to give their stamp of approval on only those comprehensive land use changes that have the initial approval of their elected officials. There would be no reason to believe all these changes would be voted against. However, some could be voted down if citizens like their current plan over the developers' proposed change.

As a commissioner for 20 years, I have seen changes to our Comprehensive Plan that were not for the benefit of the community, but did benefit the influential developer. Yes, you can get rid of the elected official if you do not like the way they voted, but the damage to your community has already been done. Candidates receiving generous contributions from influential developers and the construction industry, put good people who care about our community and have decided to run for a commission seat at a disadvantage. Less money means less opportunity to let citizens know who you are and your vision for the community.

Some may call this representative government. I call it a special interest (representative) government, which is the reason so many of us feel that government is no longer representing the best interests of its citizens. Amendment 4, if passed, would finally give the average citizen an equal voice to the developer’s influence. Most people realize all development is not bad and there are good developers who truly care about their community.

However, the history of Florida is riddled with the scars from horrible development approvals. If you like the status quo, then do not change our failed policies. If you want something that may finally change our history of past development practices, then Amendment 4 can be the answer.

In summary Amendment 4:
Will not force expensive elections
Will not ruin the economy
Will not increase the jobless rate
Will not force governments to raise taxes
And is definitely not a vote on everything built.

The outspoken special interests tied to “development as usual,” including those elected officials who help spread these lies, are not interested in what is best for Florida but what is best for themselves. The news media has been threatened to support development interest or lose their advertising revenue.

The only risk with Amendment 4 is that we have to trust you, the people. This is a risk I am willing to take.
Joe McClash
Countywide Commissioner, District 7
Here is the link to this news article:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another Over-Leveraged Boca Raton Developer Loses to Foreclosure

North Boca Village Center loses $27M foreclosure
North Boca Village Center has been slated for auction after its owner lost a $27.3 million foreclosure judgment. Fifth Third Bank (NASDAQ: FITB) won the judgment against Boca Riverwalk LLC covering the mixed-use center on 20.3 acres at 7867 and 7887 N. Federal Highway. The online auction is set for Sept. 30.
The property, located on the Boca Raton/Delray Beach line, has 100,652 square feet of retail, office and cinema space in what formerly was known as Levitz Plaza. Boca Riverwalk planned to redevelop it. The plans included 385 residential units priced from $400,000 to $900,000; 165,350 square of retail, restaurants and entertainment; and 53,990 square feet of office space.
In 2006, the developer sold the nonprofit Caldwell Theater, a neighboring building, for $1 million and marketed it as part of the project. The bank filed for foreclosure in January.
In 2006, the managing members of Boca Riverwalk were Arthur Falcone, Leslie Arouth and Albo Antenucci Jr. None were named in the complaint. Falcone also is a partner in the Miami Worldcenter project, which also has a foreclosure pending against it from Fifth Third Bank.Read more: Foreclosure Roundup: Riverstone Shoppes faces seizure - South Florida Business Journal

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Safe is Drinking Water? /EPA Report

The July 28, 2010 EPA/DEP report confirmed our environmental concerns regarding the excessive levels of arsenic in the groundwater & soil on the Boca Teeca golf course. The report indicates that the "primary" concern of the contaminated groundwater is that it is located less than 1 mile from drinking water wells of the city of Boca Raton, so how safe is the drinking water?

Considering that the reported contamination in shallow ground water far exceeds the GCTL and MCL for arsenic and that a large population is supplied with drinking water, drawn from local shallow wells, the Ground Water Migration Pathway merits principal concern. The full report can be downloaded from our website as shown on our page titled "environmental concerns".

Also noted in the report is the discovery of excessive levels of pesticides toxaphene and dieldrin which are similar to DDT and have health risks associated with reproductive health. See the separate research report found at the following hotlink:

The report states: However, in the course of PSAWS fieldwork, analyses of surface soil and sediment samples, collected from the maintenance area, also revealed that concentrations of arsenic, carcinogenic PAHs and pesticide, exceeding SCTLs for direct exposure in industrial and/or residential settings. Arsenic and two pesticides (toxaphene and dieldrin) also exceeded EPA RSLs.

What are the actions of the city to assure the safety of the drinking water and what policy changes is the city planning for preventing future health risks during their development process? We have recommended the city include a requirement for PRIOR verification of the safety of the land on all development proposals that involve a land use change, but over the past several weeks the city has not included this provision in the current amendments to the city's growth management plan.

The SunSentinel published an article on this EPA/DEP report on Sat. Aug. 7th which can be found at: There are several questions that will need to be answered in order to help protect the safety of Boca Raton residents as a result of this environmental problem, such as, since the golf course is in foreclosure, who is going to pay for the clean-up of this risk to public health?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Comprehensive Growth Amendments Fail to Protect Residents

The city of Boca Raton is currently proposing amendments to their State-mandated comprehensive growth management plan which does not protect the residential interests of our city based upon the following concerns:

1) Hotels will be allowed in all residential land use categories based upon the Land Use defintion in Section L.U.1.1.6.
*Hotels are NOT COMPATIBLE with residential areas so why is the city making this proposal?
*Is this an attempt to bailout developers with residential projects approved that now want to change their plans to hotels from condos or townhouses?
* World-Class cities, such a Palm Beach, do not allow hotels in residential areas, so if the city council wants to be considered a "world class" city, then they need to DELETE this provision in their proposed amendments.

2) Open Space - nearby cities have heard concerns from residents at past elections and have heeded voter concerns by including open space protections in their comp plan amendments, so why hasn't the city of Boca Raton considered these requests from their voters?

3) Environmental Stewardship - nearby cities have included provisions to require environmental testing of soil and groundwater prior to consdiering any development application, so why hasn't Boca Raton included this protection in their current comp plan amendments?
* How can city staff recommend a development for approval if they do not know if the land is safe for the deisred use by the developer?
* How can city council vote to approve a development without knowing if the land is safe for the requested use?
* If one of the primpary goal of local government is protection of public health & safety, then why are they ignoring this issue in their current comp plan amendments?

3) Ocean Strand - this land on North Ocean Blvd. was purchased over 10 years ago to protect it from development, yet the city never changed the land use to PR-Open Space & Rec. so why won't they correct this oversight in the current comp plan amendments?
* The Mayor has indicated that she is in favor of developing Ocean Strand in exchange for a larger development proposed for the area of Camiono Real and Fed. Hwy.
* If the current comp plan proposals are approved, then there is virtually nothing the public can do to stop the development of this land since there is no requirement of a referendum for such a development order--in fact, FL statutes do not allow referendums on development orders that impact less than 5 parcels of accountability to residents!

What can resident do to express their concerns about their property values and quality of life?
1) Speak at the public meetings on Aug. 3rd at 6:30pm/P&Z meeting at city hall regarding these comp plan amendments.
2) Call & email city council members with your concerns about the impact of this proposal
3) Speak at the Aug. 9th & 10th meetings of the city council--2pm+ on 9th/workshop and 6pm on the 10th per approval by the council based upon city staff recommendation

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ocean Strand Under Attack by City Council

The last city council workshop and council meeting revealed at least 2 city council members support for a development that would include the Ocean Strand property. At the workshop meeting on Monday, Mayor Whelchel stated that a possible development of the property on the NE corner of Camino Real & Fed. Hwy. could be worth up to $800 million and the city needs the tax revenue from this size of a development. The possible development has been rumored to include a Beach Club on the Ocean Strand property which may explain why the city council has refused to heed the pleas of many Ocean Blvd. residents to change the land use on the Ocean Strand property to open space & recreational use.

Council member Constance Scott voiced her support for development of this size as a need to raise tax revenue. The city manager stated that the estimated budget deficit for 2011 would be approximately $14 million and the city has already cut approx. 10% of the operating budget over the past few years to balance the budget.

Based upon these meetings it appears that the city has plans to allow a development of some sort on the Ocean Strand property in spite of the fact that the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park district commissioners have stated that they do not intend to develop or lease the property. With the city council's intent clear that they want to accommodate the possible $800 million development, it would appear that the city staff has a plan to convince the GBRBPD to either sell the property or lease the property to the developer.

Residents wishing to oppose this future development potential on the Ocean Strand property should email all city council members--asking for the land use change to be included in the current comprehensive plan amendment that will be approved on August 10th at the 6pm council meeting. Residents should also plan to attend the city council meetings on 8/9 at 1pm and 8/10 at 6pm and speak at the meeting during the agenda item for the comp plan amendment approval---asking for the land use change on Ocean Strand.

There will be a meeting on MONDAY July 19 at 5:15 pm to request a new LAND USE and ask the Parks District to change it to PR- see explanation below.

Please let our elected officials know that you would like the Ocean Strand Parcel to be accurately reflected in the existing and future land use maps as (PR) – Recreation and Open Space and (N)-conservation on its environmentally sensitive lands, reflecting the purpose of its acquisition rather than is current now outdated FLUM Designation “RM – Residential Medium”. The "RM" designation on Ocean Strand is particularly troubling in light of the proposed addition of Hotels/Motels to the list of allowable uses in the RM District.

Boca Raton City Council and City Manager Phone 561-393-7708
City Manager - Leif Ahnell -
Susan Whelchel
Constance Scott -
Anthony Majhess -
Susan Hanyie -
Michael Mullaugh -

Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park Tax District NEXT MEETING this MONDAY July 19, 2010 AT 5:15 at 300 S. Military Trail, Sugar Sand Park – Boca RatonPhone 561-417-4599
Robert Rollins
Dennis Frisch
Dirk Smith
Earl Starkoff
Elaine Kleinman

Ocean Strand is current designated as a land use Residential-Medium Density (RM):
The principal permitted uses are primarily multifamily uses with some small lot single family uses at densities of up to 9.5 units per acre. Accessory or related residential uses and institutional uses may be permitted. Motels or hotels may be permitted in areas along heavily traveled routes or in other areas such as PUDs.

Request to change Ocean Strand to: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE Recreation and Open Space (PR): This category designates both public and private property used for recreation or committed to recreational use. It is applied to properties having major recreational activities, such as golf courses, or other structured and maintained recreation area facilities. Appropriate accessory uses such as docks, jetties, or clubhouses will be permitted. Additionally, up to 0.5 dwelling unit per acre is permissible provided that 50% or more of any proposed development area remains in recreation uses. And change the portions of environmentally sensitive land to: Conservation (N): This category designates land within the City that has been protected due to vegetation or wildlife habitat. A land use designation of N is compatible with any zoning district.

Thank you for helping to protect Boca Raton Green Space.

MCZ Centrum Foreclosure Update

An extension of time has been granted by the court based upon a request by MCZ Centrum. The next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 24th at 8:45am.

These foreclosure proceedings normally take several months and considering the current large number of foreclosures in Palm Beach County it would be expected for this process to take up to 2 years.

Residents often inquire about the outcome of the foreclosure and what will eventually happen to the Boca Teeca/Ocean Breeze golf course. It is our expectation that another investment group will buy the property and operate it as a golf course--similar to what happen to the Boca Greens golf course in Dec. 2009. An investment group has contacted members of the Save Boca Raton Green Space organization in order to access their interest in supporting an effort to purchase the golf course after the foreclosure process is complete versus MCZ Centrum.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Foreclosure Update/MCZ Centrum on Boca Teeca Golf Course

There have been several extensions granted to MCZ Centrum in the foreclosure that was filed by Wachovia Bank on March 19, 2010. The docket for this court case shows a court order on March 26th "TO SHOW CAUSE WHY FINAL JUDGMENT OF FORECLOSURE SHOULD NOT BE ENTERED AND TO SHOW CAUSE WHY AN ORDER TO MAKE PAYMENTS DURING FORECLOSURE SHOULD NOT BE ENTERED - HEARING APRIL 29, 2010 AT 8:45 A.M. SEE ORDER DTD MARCH 26, 2010 PER JUDGE"

On April 29th an extension of time was granted with subsequent extensions also granted on 5/6. 5/20, 5/28 & 6/1. The next hearing is scheduled for 6/14/10 at 8:45am with Judge Sasser. As shown by the numerous extensions granted MCZ Centrum, the foreclosure process is often lengthy. So, unless the principals of MCZ Centrum are able to find a buyer of the property for an amount agreeable to Wachovia, it would appear that this foreclosure will drag-on for several months.

Thank You Sallie Friedman

At last week's Town Hall meeting held in the city council chambers, Boca Teeca resident Sallie Friedman spoke out regarding her concerns of increased traffic in Boca Teeca if Costco is allowed to add a gasoline station to their property. Traffic was consistently a major concern of Boca Teeca residents during the past 20+ years. Traffic was also a primary concern during the 2006 meetings held by representatives of the Ocean Breeze golf course who proposed a "forced left turn" onto Westbound Jeffrey St. in order to keep traffic from the proposed 211 townhouses off of NW 2nd Ave.

These representations were made by the developers during the numerous meetings with residents in order to sell the residents on the proposed development. During the presentations at the public hearings there were no suggestions of a "forced left turn" and the city approved an amendment to the traffic level of service within Boca Teeca so that this road could be allowed to handle the increased traffic from the new development.

Sallie Friedman was one of the few residents of Boca Teeca that spoke at the public hearings in support of the development which was increasing traffic within this residential community. Here are two questions regarding her traffic concerns in Boca Teeca:
1)Did she support the development's traffic impact as a result of the promised payment of approx. $25,000 to her condo association?
2)Would she change her opinion of the Costco proposal if they agreed to pay her condo assoc.?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ocean Strand Is Not For Sale

Yesterday's meeting of the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District provided very good news to the large crowd of Ocean Blvd. residents when Chairman Bob Rollins announced that the Ocean Strand property is not for sale. Many residents of the nearby Boca Towers expressed their positive opinion at hearing the chairman introduce the public comment portion of the agenda with this announcement.

But, a few residents were concerned that the potential exists for the property to be sold without a "required" referendum of voters. One commissioner inquired from the district's attorney if the commission could request a referendum should a proposal be made to sell or lease the property. The reply from the attorney was yes, the commission could require a referendum. The attorney also emphasized that the beach and park district has never sold or leased any property since the district was formed over 20 years ago.

For more questions of the beach and park district, please contact them at

Monday, May 24, 2010

Town Hall Meeting-May 24th at 6pm at City Hall

There is a town hall meeting May 24th at 6pm at city hall. City council members will be present to listen to your concerns and recommendations regarding city leadership. This is your opportunity to provide your opinion on the direction of the city, including development approvals, traffic congestion, foreclosure impacts, etc...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

North Ocean Blvd. Property Proposed Development Site - Ocean Strand

The property was purchased to protect it from development, so is the city now considering breaking this promise to neighbors on North Ocean Blvd.?

Developer proposes Boca Raton park district land for private beach club
By Angel Streeter Sun Sentinel - Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Many hailed the purchase of the Ocean Strand property in 1994 as a major victory for preserving green space. For $11.88 million, the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District secured the city's last sizeable piece of undeveloped oceanfront property, saving the 15-acre site near Gumbo Limbo Nature Center from development. And there it has sat, undeveloped, untouched, in the midst of condominiums, single-family homes and other city parkland. Now, a developer is proposing building a private beach club on a portion of the property as part of a major development planned for downtown.

But residents who live near the property worry a beach club, possibly with dining and bars, could change the quiet, residential character of the coastal neighborhood."It would destroy the area," said Alan Goldman, who is on the condominium board of the Aegean, condominiums just south of Ocean Strand. "You've got an area here with no commercial property on the ocean side."District commissions have yet to agree; their lawyer is looking into the proposal.

"They said, 'We can think about this,' " said Bob Langford, park district executive director. "But there's a ton of things to think about. "The proposed beach club is critical to development of Via Mizner, a $1 billion redevelopment project at the northeast corner of Federal Highway and Camino Real, Penn-Florida Companies says. The mixed-use development, approved by Boca Raton's Community Redevelopment Agency in 2006, could consist of a 118-room luxury hotel, office space, 192 condominiums and high-end retail stores and restaurants. Penn-Florida has stressed to city and park district officials that the beach club would be a necessary amenity to attract an exclusive international hotel that has expressed interest in the Via Mizner project. And that hotel is critical to the success of Via Mizner overall.In an April 27 letter to City Manager Leif Ahnell, Penn-Florida President Mark Gensheimer asked the city to help the developer get access to the oceanfront portion of the Ocean Strand property to build a "low-rise beach club.

"In addition, a western portion of the property would be needed for beach club parking. In addition, Gensheimer said, Penn-Florida would help develop the Ocean Strand property as a passive park. In response, and at the direction of the City Council, Ahnell wrote to the park district board, stressing the importance of Via Mizner to the downtown and "its huge economic development potential. "He said the council was interested in exploring the beach club idea and getting public input. The developer's lawyer proposed the beach club to the district in December. Although at the time, the commissioners didn't know who the lawyer was representing or what major development he was referring to, Langford said. That had been the only contact the district had with Penn-Florida, he said.

At the December meeting, the developer's representative explained that the developer would want to lease the oceanfront property for the private beach club. But many questions remain unanswered: How much land does the developer want? How much is the developer willing to pay? When would the developer want to build the beach club?And a critical question for the park district is whether it should turn over public land to a private entity that wants to develop it.

"We haven't been too aggressive about building anything out there," Langford said. "We didn't buy it to develop it. We didn't buy it for any particular use. "The district bought it because neighbors and the city didn't want the previous owners to move forward with plans to build 79 condominiums and six beachfront homes on the site.Since the purchase, the district has done very little with the property.

Early on, it removed some old homes and duplexes. But nothing else has been done. And the land gets very little use. Neighbors seem to like that. They worry a beach club would bring traffic and noise. "It's basically like a nightclub in the middle of a residential area," said Mike Graham, who lives just north of the Ocean Strand property.While he approves of the Via Mizner project Penn-Florida plans downtown, he is skeptical about the district leasing prime real estate to a developer for a fraction of what it's worth."I'd sure like to know more about it," he said. "The beaches are nice. The traffic is minimal. It's our last piece of prime ground.

"Penn-Florida stressed it would work with neighbors to create a low density, low-rise beach club that would enhance the neighborhood, said Bonnie Kaye, a Penn-Florida spokeswoman. "The plans are conceptual," she said. "Nothing is finalized because the goal is to work with the city and the neighbors in a collaborative effort. The plans are to make it a showpiece and a welcome part of the community."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Grandmothers report Nudity on Boca Teeca Golf Course

Below is an excerpt from a letter to the Boca Raton City Council dated Aug. 22, 2007 from a resident of San De Vance condo association as a result of explicit nudity in full public view on the North golf course of Boca Teeca. Considering this illegal activity on the golf course do you think that the owners of the golf course deserve the support of the residents of Boca Teeca?

.....Lastly, there was a significant illustration of the lack of character of the developer/owner of the country club that occurred on June 3, 2006 as the country club hosted a golf tournament by the Cheetah Lounge, called the Cheetah Golf Classic. There were approximately 25 women who were topless or completely naked and performing various fornication gyrations within feet of the patios of the San De Vance community and witnessed by women and children. Numerous calls to the country club were unresponsive and the only reason this event was stopped at approximately 5pm was due to a thunderstorm that closed the course.

I reported this illegal activity in a certified letter sent to the police chief and the mayor that was delivered on November 13, 2006. There was no written reply from the city acknowledging this lewd behavior, but a telephone call from the Capt. Brancazio of the police dept. informed me that there had been plans for several of these Cheetah events at Ocean Breeze. A brief letter of apology was received from Dennis Taback at the Ocean Breeze Country Club to the grandmothers who witnessed this immoral event. In his letter of apology, Mr. Taback claimed that the golf tournament was for the benefit of cancer & diabetes research. This is believed to be a lie, as neither of these organizations would confirm their involvement with the Cheetah Lounge golf outing and it is doubtful that either would even remotely consider such involvement on moral policy issues.

With these problems of misrepresentation and immoral activity at the Ocean Breeze Country Club, I respectfully request that the city council deny the development proposal in order to protect the moral quality of life within our community.

Federal Tax Lien on Boca Teeca Developer Dennis Taback

Joshua "Dennis" Taback has a history of not paying his Federal income taxes as shown by the attached Federal Tax Lien for over $36,000. Do condo leaders still have faith in the primary rep. for MCZ Centrum and his intent to fulfill his contract to pay condo associations $350k?
It would appear that Mr. Taback has a lot of experience with requiring debt holders to seek legal action for collection, including the Federal government.
Do you think that Boca Teeca condo associations or Teeca Woods HOA will ever receive a dime from the agreements signed by Mr. Taback to support his development on a portion of the Boca Teeca golf course?
This tax lien was not released until 3/8/06, while he was already negotiating with Boca Teeca condo residents for removing a portion of the deed restriction on the golf course in their community.

Boca Teeca Golf Course Developer Taback Doesn't Pay H.O.A. fees for Estancia

Ocean Beeze golf course principal Joshua Dennis Taback has required his personal Home Owners Assoc. to take legal action to collect their fees each of the last 2 years. $250 was not paid on January 1, 2008 and $266 for Jan. 2009. The 2009 lien is still outstanding according to Palm Beach Co. records.

How would the Boca Teeca condo leaders treat a unit owner who failed repeatedly to pay their association fees while driving an expensive imported SUV?

Maybe Boca Teeca condo leaders should ask the Estancia Association their opinion of Mr. Taback's respect for his financial responsibilities? A neighbor who does not pay their association fees places a greater financial burden on each person within the community and is normally NOT considered a worthy neighbor to trust with additional financial responsibilities, such as business agreements with additional resident associations.

Ocean Breeze Developer Dennis Taback in Personal Foreclosure

Boca Teeca's Ocean Breeze golf course principal, Joshua Dennis Taback, is listed in foreclosure on his personal residence in Estancia. Mr. Taback has stated in the SunSentinel that he intends to fight the foreclosure on the golf course owned by his partners in MCZ Centrum, yet his personal residence is also in foreclosure.
What do you make of the chances that Mr. Taback will win these foreclosure actions and uphold the agreements with Boca Teeca residents?

MCZ Centrum Delinquent for 2008 & 2009 Taxes/Boca Teeca Golf Course

MCZ Centrum has not paid their real estate taxes for 2008 or 2009, yet they claim that they are going to fight the foreclosure on the property which they purchased with mostly borrowed money from Wachovia Bank. This is another example of an over-leveraged developer who had the misfortune of investing in a project that does not generate enough cash flow to cover the debt service and taxes. This real estate investor invested less than $200,000, borrowed $7 million from Wachovia and bought over 200 acres of golf course land in Boca Raton. The property is now in foreclosure and the local representative of the developer claims that they are going to fight the foreclosure.

Developer Drops Rezoning Request on Tamarac Golf Course

Congratulations to the Residents of Woodmont in Tamarac!
Tamarac golf course rezoning idea dropped
Lisa J. -May 7, 2010

Residents who opposed building on a golf course at Woodmont declared victory after the owner dropped a request to rezone for a housing and commercial project. Mark Schmidt wanted to put 255 single-family homes and nearly 61,000 square feet of commercial space on the Pines golf course at Woodmont. The residents launched an expensive protest, sent their lawyers to court and planned to show up in force at a rezoning hearing last week.

Schmidt's attorneys scuttled that plan by withdrawing the application the morning of the meeting. If Schmidt were to decide to file again, the application process would start all over.
"I take this better than a unanimous win — they didn't even show up," said Woodmont resident Keenan Poole, who helped organize the protesters. "In football terms, they forfeited."

He credits the residents with defeating the owner's and developer's plan. "They started seeing the grass-roots support. They didn't think we were a power to deal with and when they saw the army marching to City Hall, they backed down." In his letter to Tamarac commissioners, Schmidt's attorney Scott Backman said that while the Pines property ultimately will be developed, for now, economic reality dictates it won't operate as a golf course, either.

"Please be advised that the financial strain being suffered by Woodmont remains critical and the unfortunate consequence of withdrawing the applications will result in the imminent closure of the Pines course," Backman wrote. "It remains Woodmont's intent to continue working with the city on an acceptable development plan for the Pines Course." Schmidt's secretary said he was on a cruise and unavailable for comment.

He did not plan to attend the meeting because residents were "misdirecting their hostility" toward him, said his son Justin Schmidt. Justin said the main reason for pulling the application is that Woodmont could not reach an agreement with Lennar, the home builder, in time for the Commission meeting. He said the course may close temporarily during this summer's off-season, and in the fall the owner will re-evaluate what to do next. Justin said residents' opposition figured into the decision. "We needed the city's cooperation to do a project like this and the greater the opposition, the less comfort level the city has," he said.

The owner wants to make "everyone comfortable with the fact a project has to be built and what that project is going to look like." A lawyer for residents who opposed the plan said they're not giving up. "The residents remain vigilant about maintaining their way of life and their golf course community and they will continue to do everything in their power to make sure they protect themselves from potential destruction on the golf course and their community," said Keith Poliakoff, the attorney for Save Woodmont Inc.

Poole said instead of sitting in a marathon commission meeting last week, he could take his neighbors out and buy "the first five pitchers of beer. It's time to celebrate."

Tamarac Retains Green Space/Denies Development on Golf Course

Residents battle for dwindling golf courses
By Lisa J. Huriash, Sun Sentinel - April 28, 2010


Not that many years ago, retirees came to South Florida to enjoy the warm weather and, if they could arrange it, regularly step out their door, strap on a golf bag and saunter over to the links. Today that idyllic portrait of life in the slow lane is fading, both for golfers and for their neighbors who relish a view of manicured greenery, tropical foliage and ponds, dotted with 9 or 18 tricky little holes. In South Florida, as in the rest of the nation, golf courses are making their way onto the endangered species list.

From 2005 through last year, 606 U.S. golf courses closed, more than ever before, according to Jim Kass, research director for the National Golf Foundation in Jupiter. In 2009 alone, 140 courses shut down, compared to 32 in 2001. And in Florida, 14 golf courses closed last year, leaving 1,054 still in business across the state. "There has been a drop in golfers and rounds over the past 10 years," Kass explained. "Also, it's the recession. Recessions cause golfers to rein in spending."

He predicted the trend will continue another five years, then drop off, as supply and demand recalibrate. The onetime golf courses are turned into residential or commercial property-–or sometimes left idle. Those who enjoy golf club views are more concerned about protecting green vistas than profits for golf course owners, and that sets up clashes between residents and owners in places like Tamarac, Sunrise, Boca Raton and Coral Springs. "Older, smaller courses have the trouble because a serious golfer wants the most state-of-the-art course they can find," said attorney Dennis Mele, who represents owners seeking to rezone for other uses. "So they lower greens fees. That takes in less revenue, and when you take in less revenue, it's problematic."

Mele tried that argument on behalf of Edward Rack, owner of the Glades course at Colony West in Tamarac, but it didn't work. Rack wanted to rezone for 375 townhouses and two-story condos and nearly 52,000 square feet of commercial space.Instead, on April 15 the city commission bowed to the wishes of residents seeking to preserve not only their views but, as they see it, a way of life.

The grandchildren of Ann Frank, a golf course resident who died last year at age 79, want to hang on to the lush spot where their father taught them to hit balls with clubs no taller than they were." My kids would love to see that view, even though they haven't been made yet," grandson Taylor Frank, 19, pleaded to commissioners. "If that view is gone, my house is pointless." The battle continues in Tamarac.

On Wednesday the commission will vote on another controversial golf course proposal, one that would put 255 single-family homes and nearly 61,000 square feet of commercial space on the Pines golf course at Woodmont. The residents have launched an expensive protest, hiring attorneys and going to court."Most people who live in Woodmont bought their home purposely because they wanted to live on a green space," said Frankie Blankenship, whose house is on the 11th hole of the Pines course. As the meeting approaches, "I think we're all feeling very on edge," she said last week.

She could take heart from what happened three years ago in Sunrise, when commissioners killed a plan to develop the Sunrise Country Club golf course into a mixed-use project with up to 500 condominiums.Neighbors complained the project would devour one of the city's last open spaces and destroy one of its oldest golf courses. The property owner complained it had been losing money for years."We fought the developer," Sunrise Commissioner Sheila Alu said. "Golf courses are dying. But I was strongly against developing pristine land, and killed the deal."

The Save Boca Raton Green Space committee hired a lawyer to kill plans to build 211 townhomes on part of the Ocean Breeze Golf & Country Club. The committee lost the battle, but the economy may still hand them victory in the war.In 2007 the city approved townhouse construction on 30 acres of the course in the Boca Teeca subdivision, but the homeowners' legal challenge caused a delay. State approval finally came late last year. In March, the developers got a notice of foreclosure for the golf course, and now the owners are working with the bank to extend a $7 million loan. That leaves Robert DuKate, who lives on the golf course and chaired the Save Boca Raton Green Space committee, worried about declining property values. "There's always a premium value on a view in an urban environment," he said. "That's being taken away.

"Miramar rezoned the defunct Eagle Woods Golf Course three years ago to make way for the Foxcroft housing development, about 600 residences, but because of the economy, no homes have been built on the site. In Deerfield Beach, developers are trying some variations on the theme of wholesale golf course conversions. The owner of the two Tam O'Shanter Golf Courses wants to give 77 of their 97 acres to the city. In exchange, the developer would be allowed to put 500 residences on the remaining 20 acres. That deal goes to the city planning board this summer. Last week the Deerfield Beach City Commission voted to let the Deerfield Country Club convert 31 of its 74 acres into a business park, leaving a golf course on the rest of the property. The proposal is headed to the Broward County Commission.

Lauderhill's famous Inverrary golf courses are protected by deed restrictions that require, before there can be development, a 75 percent majority vote by neighboring property owners. So although three of the courses have gone to new owners in recent years, nothing has happened. "A golf course is what people paid to see when they bought their homes," said Joel Leshinsky, the Inverrary Association president. "Progress is a wonderful thing, but it can't interfere with people's lives.

''Tamarac's mayor expects the golf course conversion issue to linger. She said the only way to keep developers at bay is to support the courses and help them thrive. After the April 15 vote on Colony West, Mayor Beth Flansbaum-Talabisco asked residents to work with the Rack family "to come up with something" to improve the course's business. "The status quo doesn't work anymore," she said. Norm Rack, the owner's son, scoffed at the mayor's suggestion and threatened to close the course this summer.

Rezoning one of two courses for housing would have helped make it financially viable to keep the other course open, he argued. After the vote, he had this to say about the residents who won: "They don't know what I'm going through."Staff writers Georgia East, Susannah Bryan and Angel Streeter contributed to this report.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

MCZ Centrum in Breech of Contract w/HOA

MCZ Centrum is in breech of contract with the Teeca Woods H.O.A. as shown by the certified letter sent to the developer and owner of the Boca Teeca golf course. No response was received by the HOA within the 15 days notice cited in this letter.
March 15, 2010


MCZ/Centrum Florida V Owner, LLC
5800 NW 2nd Avenue
Boca Raton, Fla 33487

Attn: Dennis Taback

NOTICE OF BREACH: Agreement dated August 6, 2007

Dear Mr. Taback,

Let this letter serve as formal notice that you are in breach of your agreement dated August 6, 2007 by and between MCZ/Centrum Florida V Owner, LLC and Teeca Woods Homeowner's Association with respect to your development plan re Ocean breeze Golf and Country Club. As you are well aware, development approvals have been granted and all 'legal challenges' to your development plan approvals have been removed and none are withstanding as of year end 2009. Therefore all appropriate considerations noted within this August 6, 2007 listed on page 2, paragraph 1, sections a thru e, are post due and hence this NOTICE OF BREACH. You will be granted 15 calendar days from the date of this notice to effectively satisfy and cure all said relevant conditions and considerations.

Please note that the conditions and considerations referenced in the August 6, 2007 agreement are not contingent on economic downturns or upturns for that matter. Also be advised that a copy of this notice of breach will be sent to the city of Boca Raton given that said agreement was submitted to them upon execution by both parties. Failure to timely satisfy and cure said breach will assuredly result in Tecca Woods Homeowner's Association pursuing all appropriate remedies as we will should other consideration so referenced in said Agreement not be complied in a timely fashion.


George Gershon,

Do you believe MCZ Centrum claims to fight foreclosure?

Yet another foreclosure by banks versus a development project by MCZ Centrum partners, but according to the report of the SunSentinel they are planning to fight this foreclosure. Do you believe that this developer has the financial resources to oppose this foreclosure and live up to the contracts and promises made to residents?

From the SunSentinel:
Boca Teeca owner vows to continue redevelopment plans despite foreclosure notice
By Angel Streeter - Sun Sentinel - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Owners of the Ocean Breeze Golf & Country Club in the Boca Teeca subdivision said they plan to continue with their plans to build townhomes on a portion of the golf course despite facing foreclosure. Last week, Wachovia filed a notice of foreclosure to MCZ/Centrum Florida V Owner, LLC, for a $7 million mortgage. But Dennis Taback, one of the club's owners, said they are working closely with the bank to extend the loan. "There's no doubt in our mind we will be moving forward with the project," he said. "We believe the project has value. We are not looking to lose the property."

MCZ/Centrum, which bought Ocean Breeze in 2004, won city approval in December 2007 to build 211 townhomes on 30 acres of the golf course. The project included upgrades to the Boca Teeca clubhouse, adding rooms to the Inn at Ocean Breeze and creating a nine-hole executive golf course on the old south course. But final approval of the development from the state was stymied by legal challenges from Save Boca Raton Green Space, a group of Boca Teeca homeowners opposed to the development. That prevented the owners from moving forward with their plans, Taback said.

State approval finally came late last year, and now plans are progressing, he said. The owners are meeting with architects and construction firms. The first part of the project to be done is a 10,000-square-foot social center for some Boca Teeca residents. The center is part of an agreement the developer reached with residents to get them to approve lifting a deed restriction, allowing the developer to build on the 30 acres. Most of the 1,600 unit owners in the subdivision wanted the new development, seeing it as an opportunity to revive the aging community. So the foreclosure notice raised anxiety among many residents.

"I hope they don't foreclose or it will turn to garbage," George Gershon, president of the Teeca Woods Homeowners Association, said about the golf course. "That's what we've been fighting."
When MCZ/Centrum bought the Boca Teeca golf course, it already was in dire financial straits and close to bankruptcy, Gershon said. MCZ/Centrum's promises to fix up the community and the golf course won over residents who initially were skeptical, he said. Now, residents are afraid the development won't happen.

"My phone is ringing off the hook," said Sallie Friedman, president of the Boca Teeca Unit Owners Association. "People are very concerned…It would be a crime to just let [the golf course and club] go." The owners seem to think so as well. They hope to start construction on the townhomes in one or two years, counting on the real estate market to rebound by then.
"It will spark new life into the community once it happens," Taback said.

Another MCZ Foreclosure in Palm Beach County

MCZ/Centrum’s stalled Arches mixed-use project in Boynton Beach has been targeted in a $17 million foreclosure action. PNC Bank filed the foreclosure lawsuit April 13 against Boynton Ventures I, along with guarantors John McLinden, Arthur Slaven and Michael Lerner, according to Palm Beach County Circuit Court records. They are the principals of Chicago-based MCZ/Centrum – a partnership between MCZ Development and Centrum Properties that made a major push into South Florida during the real estate boom.

There were six other foreclosure lawsuits filed against affiliates of MCZ/Centrum in Florida, including the Boca Teeca golf course, now named the Ocean Breeze country club. The developer owns the 4.7-acre site, at 100 S. Federal Highway in Boynton Beach – a mostly vacant site the city’s community redevelopment agency hoped to see improved. It received approval to build 378 residential units and 40,000 square feet of retail space. Although it got a $17 million loan from PNC, construction never began. The loan matured on Dec. 31. West Palm Beach attorney Alexander del Russo, who represents PNC in the lawsuit, said the developer didn’t repay the loan at maturity. “It’s still a great location and a great parcel,” del Russo said. “It’s just that the market for high rise condos has changed a bit.

Read more: MCZ/Centrum’s Arches project in $17M foreclosure - South Florida Business Journal:

MCZ Centrum in Foreclosure - Again

As reported in the March 25th edition of the South Florida Business Journal:

In the sixth pending foreclosure lawsuit against it, MCZ/Centrum could lose control of a 202-acre golf course in Boca Raton. Wachovia Bank filed the foreclosure action on March 18 against MCZ/Centrum Florida V owner and President Michael Lerner, along with managing members Arthur Slaven, Laurence Ashkin and John McLinden, according to Palm Beach County Circuit Court records. It concerns the Ocean Breeze Golf & Country Club at 5800 N.W. Second Ave.

The developer – a partnership between MCZ Development and Centrum Properties – planned to build 211 homes on the golf course. Many residents opposed it, and it never took off.
The developer bought the site for $7.2 million in 2004 and obtained a $7 million mortgage from Wachovia. The loan matured in May 2009. West Palm Beach attorney Lawrence Rochefort, who represents Wachovia in the lawsuit.

MCZ/Centrum purchased prominent properties in South Florida during the height of the real estate boom. It successfully converted The Wave and The Tides in Hollywood, and the nearly 1,700-unit Flamingo in Miami Beach. However, things started unraveling last year, when lenders filed foreclosure lawsuits against its residential projects Parc Central Aventura, Palms Club Condominiums in Orlando, Mirabella Condominiums in Orlando, the Serenata Sarasota Condominiums and a 788-acre site in Manatee County.

Read more: MCZ/Centrum faces foreclosure in Boca Raton - South Florida Business Journal: