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Seat D Matters

Seat D Matters.

by Alan Neibauer

Developers, land use attorneys, and architects, along with the politicians who depend on their campaign donations beyond what’s needed for a city council campaign, control the look and future of Boca Raton. Figuratively, they form a powerful table of decision makers and influencers who know how to play the system like it’s a game. With the public comment period recently all but wiped from public meetings, the voice of residents is now diminished more than at any time in our history. To create a city for people, residents need an advocate in a seat at the table. You don’t always have a choice in an election but this time you do. The keen observer knows the big expensive campaign signs are on the commercial property of Boca’s largest landowners. Look at the latest campaign finance reports (Stenberg, Thomson). One campaign has raised a total of $13,100 and the other $107,489. Scroll down and look at the cities where donors live. Vote wisely for Seat D on March 19.

Influencers know how to play the system like it’s a game

If you live West of I-95, Seat D REALLY matters

Yamato Road at I-95 is one of the busiest intersections in Boca Raton. So you’d think nobody would be eager to make it even worse. But that is precisely what the city council may choose to do.

City engineers have set standards specifying how long rush hour traffic should clear major intersections. Standards are used to control construction to be within the limit. The standard for Yamato and I-95 is 45 minutes. Any more than that negatively impacts on the lives of drivers.

What’s another 30 minutes added to rush hour for West Boca Residents?

A development proposal, the Mutual of America office building, is in the works that could increase rush hour for West Boca residents to as much as 75 minutes. That’s another half hour of knuckle banging rush hour traffic.

Will the council add another 30 minutes of rush hour for West Boca Residents?

What about the well thought out specifications? With city council’s recent aggressive strategy, whatever those around the table want, they’ll get. They only need 3 votes. Without a resident advocate council member in Seat D at the the table, it’s a done deal.

Sounds pretty horrific, doesn’t it?

In its favor, this is a major project that will bring an additional 200 employees to our city from the north. Mutual of America would tear down an existing building and triple the office space. The expanded staff means more people renting or buying homes, going to restaurants, and shopping in stores. There is no way to tell where these people will settle. East or west of the site. But either way, traffic will be increasing.

The dilemma of growth

This is the dilemma that our city leaders face. The council majority lives west of I-95 and bring their suburban values to Boca’s urban development. Little attention was paid to traffic. It’s congestion in deference to development. Traffic was only given lip service because the council considered it “a good problem to have”; especially when you live west of I-95. If Seat D falls the wrong way, nobody on the council will live east of I-95.

The growth issue presents a dilemma. I don’t think any of us want a council that ignores growth and rejects development outright. But we should want a council that prioritizes our quality of life, recognizes our frustration with traffic and negotiates ruthlessly to get beneficial infrastructure in exchange for granting exceptions to the code and trashing our roadway level of service. Seat D matters

The Mutual of America proposal will present some very difficult decisions. We need council members to advocate for resident interests; one of us in Seat D at the table.

That seat at the table should belong to a resident advocate candidate

Dirty tricks abound when you have a campaign war chest. Right now the development community drum beats the same old “anti-growth label” for the resident advocate candidate. This is untrue of course. The resident advocate candidate is smart on the issues/details and has the strongest views we’ve seen since O’Rourke was on the council. Compromises and creative alternatives will get on the table. Existing council members sympathetic to the issues of urban living, if any, will be strengthened. Your vote is your voice.

UPDATE 11:30am – Removed incorrect reference to Council Member Nachlas living East of I-95.

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