In 1992 Boca Raton residents voted to approve design guidelines for large downtown buildings. The city made many changes to the design guidelines in the last 30 years. They also adopted an alternative set of guidelines. Now, the city is proposing an entirely new set of changes here. It’s time to let Boca Raton residents vote again on these new “updated and expanded” design guidelines.
For background on this topic, see our recent article Downtown Boca Raton: Standing Room Only – BocaFirst interim
In computer engineering, new product designs are validated using a two-step process – alpha and beta testing. Alpha testing confirms in a lab that the product meets its design specification. After alpha testing is successfully completed, the product undergoes beta testing at a customer location. The purpose of beta testing is to make sure that the product’s design specification meets the customer’s expectations.
Beta testing recognizes that people are better at reviewing the design of physical products than specifications.
Building Design Voting
Similarly, Boca Raton residents should be provided the opportunity to formally review the designs of the latest set of large buildings built in the downtown. In 2015 the city told Boca residents that four buildings in the downtown were test cases of development guidelines. These buildings are:
- The Mark
- Via Mizner
- The Hyatt
- Palmetto Place (replaced by Tower 155)
The Mark was to be the single test case, but after failing Boca Raton resident design review, the three other buildings were added. The city has not conducted the promised design reviews.
The current set of two major design guideline alternatives plus 30 years’ worth of changes to the design guidelines have made them very difficult for the average Boca Raton resident to understand. Now the city is proposing another major set of changes making the guidelines almost impossible to understand.
The time has come to let Boca Raton Residents vote again on the designs of the four building test cases listed above. The results of this review will provide better resident feedback to city officials on downtown building designs. Expecting residents to review text-based building design guidelines with thirty years of changes after the last resident vote is unrealistic.
Call to Action
Please contact your city officials and request that they follow-through with the commitment to have residents review the four test case buildings listed above.
Good governance begins with citizen involvement. Have your voice heard at City Hall by contacting your City Council/CRA Members at firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Members (left to right): Council Member Marc Widger, Yvette Drucker, Mayor Scott Singer, Deputy Mayor Monica Mayotte, Council Member Fran Nachlas