Just west of the City of Boca Raton is the expansive, well landscaped enclave of Boca del Mar including what used to be the Mizner Trail Golf Club which is again up for consideration to be transformed into a combined residential and green space area. Tomorrow, March 27, 2014, the Board of County Commissioners will decide whether to allow the project to move forward.
The golf course lost $2 million dollars before owners threw in the towel in 2005 at which time the property owner has made several attempts to put the property to better use by partnering with a developer to build upscale homes. Since 2006, the property's owners have been working to convert the property, however were confined by a deed restriction stating the space was to be a golf course through 2012. A local, small group has been against developing the site from the onset and have showed up at all county commission and zoning meetings vocally expressing their displeasure with changing its use. Both sides have brought in experts to show how the new development will affect the prices of existing homes - one says it will raise their value, another says it will decrease their value.
Things may have recently changed and the county commission staff is going to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners to approve the most recent revisions and improvements. The changes will likely raise the sale price of each new home as the developer is setting aside nearly twice as much green space as is required by Palm Beach County code to appease Boca del Mar residents and the county commission.
The changes over the last three months include:
- Significantly larger landscape buffers, berms and more open green space
- 70% of the property, over 90 acres, will remain as undeveloped, open, green space. The county code only requires 40%
The development is expected to bring 945 jobs during construction and approximately 150 jobs thereafter. The development is also expected to bring over $3 million each year to the county coffers plus $4 million in developer impact fees and over $2 million to the City of Boca Raton for water utilities.
In 2011 we offered a libertarian perspective as well as the perspective of someone who has lived in Boca del Mar since 1979 on the multi-year debate. In that article I concluded the following:
"The bottom line is the project would add construction jobs, increase home values, help to decrease property taxes in the area, add to the Boca del Mar Improvement Association's coffers and rid the community of an ugly, abandoned golf course in favor of beautiful homes. The only negative from the project that I could see is some additional traffic which will mostly be mitigated by extra turn lanes on Military Trail and probably SW 18th Street. The traffic impact has actually decreased due to the large number of people working from their homes.
After seeing both sides of this controversial project, it would seem in the best interest of Boca del Mar and Palm Beach County for the project, in its current state, to be approved by all the government agencies involved for all the reasons mentioned above."