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