By Steve Plunkett
The city wants to know what plans the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District has for developing Ocean Strand.
City Council member Anthony Majhess proposed sending an official letter after Ocean Strand neighbors again urged the council to change the land-use classification of the coastal parcel while amending other parts of Boca Raton’s comprehensive plan.
Majhess said Ocean Strand’s current residential medium (RM) label would allow up to 9.5 multifamily or small-lot single-family units per acre. A recreation and open space (PR) label is suited for picnic areas, docks, jetties and clubhouses, he said. Changing a land use can take six to eight months.
“I’m not trying to plan what the park would look like. I just think PR seems more accurate than RM, and that we send a letter of intent letting them know we want to start the process for PR,’’ Majhess said.
Council member Michael Mullaugh disagreed.
“They are well aware of what is going on,’’ Mullaugh said. “They have put out some documents asking for proposals to come in. And for us to leap into the fray and tell them how to do their job … believe me, I do not think that’s appropriate.’’
“Why don’t we send them a letter and just share that our constituency continues to come to us and request that that parcel be zoned PR for a park and, you know, it’s their property. Throw the ball back into their lap,’’ Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie said.
“How about if we ask them which land-use category they feel is appropriate and maybe we can even ask them why,’’ Majhess said.
“And tell them that we’re ready, able and willing to facilitate any land-use change on that property,’’ Haynie added.
City Manager Leif Ahnell said he would write a letter including all the council’s viewpoints.
“Our intent is not to beat up the Greater Beach and Parks District,’’ Mayor Susan Whelchel said. “I think our goal here is just to be informative, and obviously, elicit some conversation or response back to see where we’re headed.’’
Ocean Strand’s neighbors have attended city and beach-park district meetings in force ever since a developer proposed in December building a cabana club on the site as part of a downtown luxury hotel project.