Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Keep Boca Beaches Public - Ocean Strand Update

The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District held a meeting yesterday at Sugar Sand park to kickoff the long awaited design of the Ocean Strand park on North Ocean Blvd. For over a year residents have been promised that their input would be considered for the ultimate design and use of this property. Even though the meeting was attended by a large number of residents seeking to provide input into the design of the park the meeting was adjourned WITHOUT ALLOWING PUBLIC INPUT!

Many residents attended this meeting which was moved to a large room from the normal board room used for meetings of the park district. The presenter from the design company hired by the GBRBPD requested input from the public and from the commissioners, but when it was time for the expected public input, the executive director of the district explained that the district has setup a web site to accept recommendations and commissioners quickly adjourned the meeting without allowing public input--as is normally the case for such meetings. There was no mention of the next scheduled meeting for providing public input on this park design. The web site referenced in the meeting does not have any icon or web page seeking input from residents on the park design.

Was this meeting being run by the attorney, Arthur Koski? Who is recommending the district not cooperate with residential requests even though the city attorney has publicly indicated that all that is needed for the city to change the land use on Ocean Strand is a letter from the park district to request a change in the designated land use to parks & rec. The historical medium density land use has been in place prior to the acquisition of the land by the district when the land was purchased to prevent a residential development. Is the attorney for the park district racking up thousands of dollars in additional legal fees by recommending against the resident's wishes to change the land use?

Residents have obtained over 1,500 voter signatures to require the city to hold a referendum to prevent any private uses of the publicly owned land all along the beach area of the city. The city attorney has refused to accept these petitions and initiate the referendum process due to her legal opinion. This petition effort for a referendum by voters has already upheld by a PBC court, yet the city and the park district continue to oppose residential efforts. The city and the park district are now spending thousands of taxpayer dollars to appeal this court decision and oppose the referendum initiative that is allowed under the city charter.

All of this wasted spending could probably be avoided if the park district commissioners would simply send a letter to the city in order to officially request the land use change on the Ocean Strand property that would restrict the use to parks & rec. for the public.

For more information on this residential effort to Keep Boca Raton Beaches Open to the Public, please visit the web site: http://www.keepyourbocabeachespublic.org/

Friday, May 6, 2011

Update of the Boca Teeca/Ocean Breeze Proposed Golf Course Conversion-Development of >200 Townhouses

Dear Boca Raton Neighbors,

The approved development of over 200 townhouses on the South portion of the Ocean Breeze golf course has received an extension of the original conditional use deadline of 4/12/11. According to city records Mr. Jeff Evans requested this extension in Sept. 2010 under a new State law that provided for automatic extension of 2 years for such a development so this development is pending until at least 4/12/13 as confirmed by correspondence from the city to & from Mr. Evans.

Why didn't the owner of the property, MCZ Centrum, request this extension?

Is Mr. Evans acting legally upon the request of the property owner, or is there some other legal right that he has to request this extension?

Tthe property remains in foreclosure and is operating as the only 27-hole championship level golf course within the city limits of Boca Raton that is open to the public. The foreclosure precess started in March 2010 and the current receiver was appointed in Jan. 2010 after large tax liens were placed on the property. It is estimated that the tax liens now exceed $650,000 based upon non-payment of property taxes to PBC, sales taxes to PBC & sales taxes to the State of FL. If the 2010 property taxes are not paid then the tax liens would be approaching $1 million.

Additionally, the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has action pending versus the property owner for cleaning up the hazardous levels of arsenic and other toxic chemicals found on the property by the EPA & DEP in Jan. 2010. It is our understanding that the property owner has until July to respond to the DEP with their own environmental assessment and their proposed plan to cleanup the property.

Neighboring property owners are interested parties since the DEP report indicated that the source of the contamination found on at least one adjacent property was due to the activity on the golf course property. What are the costs of this cleanup on residential property and how much is the legal liability to the resdiential property owner(s)?