Tuesday, March 31, 2015

4-Lane NW 2nd Ave. Coming to Boca Teeca?

Is the widening of NW 2nd Ave. in the Boca Teeca area coming after the city approval of the 2007 development on a portion of the golf course?

Of course the city has stated that the widening of this central roadway in this residential area is not on the official plans for city traffic, BUT with the increasing traffic creating a safety hazard for emergency vehicles it will be easy for the city to justify the widening of the road in the near future.  After all, what would residents rather have, a friend or family member at risk during a health emergency due to the inability of the paramedics to be able to reach them due to the traffic backups on NW 2nd Ave.  This is an easy justification for the city to widen this road since the condo residents did support the additional 200+ units to be constructed in the area so the residents must expect these additional trips will result in a more hazardous roadway that must be addressed for their own safety.

If you are concerned about traffic in Boca Teeca & Boca Raton, then let your city leaders know - see the contact information at the attached link:    https://bocawatch.org/pages/contact-info/

Monday, March 30, 2015

Environmental Update/Arsenic on Ocean Breeze Property

The most recent environmental consultant reports submitted to the FDEP (Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection) indicates that the arsenic levels in the ground water near the current maintenance facility has not been declining over the past 2 years of required quarterly testing.  The 2 "hot spots" in the area have consistently been tested at 200-300 ppb (parts per billion) as compared to the FDEP approved levels of 10 ppb.  These "hot spots" are 20-30 times the acceptable levels and under the current monitoring program the FDEP has indicated that this site is not suitable for residential development.

Should a developer desire to build on this specific area of the south golf course, then the arsenic levels in the groundwater would be required to be reduced and there would normally be a process for requesting a deed restriction and this process normally takes more than 1 year.  With this type of major problem looming over the development site, how could the developer overcome these issues and maintain the previously approved site plan which lists residential development on this contaminated land.

The most recent quarterly samples were taken last week from the required sites on the property with the expected report with these results to be submitted to the FDEP by May 20th. 

It is certainly not very responsible of the City staff to recommend an extension of a development approval on a site that is clearly not safe for residential development.

Behind the Scenes - Again?

What is really going on at city hall regarding the extension of the troubled Ocean Breeze golf course property?  This was a major rezoning and change of deed restrictions to get a portion of the golf course approved for a 211 unit development, BUT there seems to be more going on behind the scenes at city hall since things to not add up to a simple processing of an extension of this development.

The traffic report that was submitted under the most recent extension request was titled for LENNAR, but both the city traffic engineers and the county traffic staff were not supportive of this latest report.  The last time there were problems with the traffic engineering report the developer contacted the city staff about a "donation" to the city after reviewing the scathing report.  Not surprisingly the city negotiated a $6 million "donation" to the city during the original approval process in 2007.  Is the city trying to negotiate an increase in the price tag, OR are there other motivations for their apparent agreeing to ignore the established deadline for the development approval on 4/12/15?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ocean Breeze/Boca Teeca Update

There has been a lot going on recently with the pending expiration on 4/12/15 of the development approvals from 12/11/07 on the Boca Teeca/Ocean Breeze golf course property.  A few months ago local development attorney Mitch Kirschner submitted yet another extension request on the development approvals and he appears to be getting a favorable greeting from the city leaders who appear to be bending the rules in order to approve this request for an 18 month extension.  On 4/9/15 there will be a 4th hearing at the P&Z board for considering this request which was not heard during the past 3 meetings due to "traffic issues". DUH - of course there are traffic issues as the 2-lane NW 2nd avenue area is already so congested that adding more traffic is a health and safety hazard for the residential community in this area.

Last week also marked the 5th anniversary of the foreclosure that was filed by Wells Fargo bank on the original developer, MCZ Centrum Flordia V Owner, LLC.  The bank had loaned $7 million for the purchase of the property (essentially a 100% loan/zero equity by the developer).  As the developer took a few year to negotiate "financial incentives" with nearby condo commandos the loan came due and there were extensions of the loan granted after the principals of MCZ Centrum personally guaranteed the loan.  The recent loan balance has grown to almost $14 million based upon foreclosure documents.

The environmental issues are still being managed after the FL Dept of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has required continued monitoring of the ground water in multiple areas near the current maintenance facility.  This area was approved for residential development in 2007 by the city of Boca Raton without requiring any environmental testing of the soil or groundwater.  Subsequently the EPA & FDEP tested the soil and the water on the area near the maintenance facility which resulted in a report that stated that the property was not suitable for residential nor industrial use due to the contaminants on the property.  The most recent report on the property was during the 4th quarter of 2014 and there was still arsenic levels in the ground water that was over 2000% of the allowed parts per billion (ppb) allowed by the EPA.  Arsenic is a hazardous chemical that has been determined to be a cause of cancer so the EPA closely regulates the allowed ppm for safety of the citizens.

Meanwhile, the receiver continues to operate the golf course with over 70,000 golfers using the only 27 hole championship level facility within the city limits of Boca Raton.  Considering the city paid over $7 million for 2.25 acres of land known as the Wildflower property for an undetermined use, may the city should consider buying the golf course of over 200 acres which is expected to be a much larger draw to the city than another restaurant/proposed for the 2.25 acre site.