Preserving the Residential Character of Boca Teeca

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Traffic" Issues Delay Wells Fargo extension request on Boca Teeca golf course to 3/5/15

At last night's P&Z meeting "traffic" was cited as the reason for the second and final delay in the P&Z presentation by the Wells Fargo bank attorney in en effort to obtain an extension on the 2007 development approval on the Boca Teeca/Ocean Breeze golf course.  The P&Z board will hear this extension application on 3/5 at their next meeting at 6:30pm as the Wells Fargo bank representative is seeking an 18 month extension of the 4/12/15 deadline.  The original city council approval occurred on 12/11/07 which provided for rezoning and a land use change on former recreational property that would allow 211 townhouses to be constructed on a portion of the South 9-holes of the golf course.

Traffic on a portion of the NW 2nd Ave. has been rated as a failing roadway for several years and now the northern section of NW 2nd Ave. is also approaching a failing status.  Much of the traffic on NW 2nd Ave. is from traffic cutting through the Boca Teeca community going to/from western homes and offices, so the additional traffic from these 211 townhomes would appear to be the straw that brakes the camel's back, that is, traffic during peak morning and evening periods could become virtually gridlocked. 

Furthermore, the current traffic studies do not even consider the impact from the over 30 additional trains per day that are forecast to travel along the eastcoast railroad tracks under the proposal for All Aboard Florida.  These additional trains would be expected to block the traffic at the Yamato Rd./NW 2nd Ave. intersection and further exacerbate the traffic congestion on the southern end of NW 2nd Ave. in the Boca Teeca community.

Traffic was the #1 concern expressed by Boca Teeca residents with the representatives of the original developer, MCZ Centrum, proposed changing the zoning and land use to facilitate this development proposal.  Developer representatives gave presentations in 2006 & 2007 proposing a "forced left turned" onto westbound Jeffrey St./Clint Moore Rd. in order to convince Boca Teeca residents that no more traffic would be added to NW 2nd Ave. as a result of their development.  Of course this far-fetched proposal never made it to the 2007 P&Z or city council meetings, but their traffic study did classify NW 2nd Ave. as a 3-lane road in their effort to justify the additional traffic from this development.

What are the opinions of Boca Raton & Boca Teeca residents on the current traffic in the Boca Teeca area?  Should more traffic be approved for this currently congested area?  Is traffic congestion a risk to the public health and safety as a result of the delayed response times to residents in the Boca Teeca & Hidden Valley area?/emergency vehicles could be delayed when responding to health related emergencies in these areas

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Boca Teeca/Ocean Breeze at P&Z board

Today is the 2nd scheduled meeting at the city Planning & Zoning advisory board regarding the request for an extension of the development approvals which date back to 12/11/07.  These approvals are scheduled to expire on 4/12/15, so the attorney representing the receiver for Wells Fargo bank has applied for an 18 month extension.  At the previous meeting in January the bank requested a delay in the consideration of this request since the Palm Beach county traffic engineers would only grant an extension until the end of 2015 which the bank's attorney did not believe was sufficient time for the buyer of the loan (in foreclosure since March 2010) to complete the foreclosure and apply for the required building permits.

Traffic is a major consideration of this previously approved 211 unit townhouse development that would have the only entrance and exit on Jeffrey St./Clint Moore Rd. - at the bottom of the east side of the bridge over I-95.  How many additional automobiles will travel along this already congested area of NW 2nd Ave.?  Many residents may not be aware that NW 2nd Ave. from Jeffrey St. to Yamato Rd. is already considered a failing road based upon established traffic standards.  The section of NW 2nd Ave. north of Jeffrey St. to Hidden Valley Blvd. has experienced an increase in traffic over the past several years which has resulted in this section also nearing a failing grade.

A failing grade is relative to traffic standards which is based upon the health and safety considerations of both the motorists and the ability of emergency vehicles to travel the road in case of an emergency.  Considering the demographics of the population of the Boca Teeca area, is it worth the risk of delaying an emergency vehicle to respond to a serious health situation of a resident in which time is of the essence in potentially saving a life?

Boca Teeca residents have long opposed the widening of NW 2nd Ave. to 4-lanes, BUT if the condo leaders continue to support the development of this project, are they placing their neighbors at risk for approximately the $200/unit which they hope to extract from the new property owner?  There were several condo associations that agreed to support the development in 20007 in exchange for monetary benefits that amount to a total of $350,000 which was never paid under the terms of the agreement with MCZ Centrum Florida OwnerV, LLC as the previous owner of the property.  Technically this company is still the owner of the property but in 2011 the LLC voluntarily dissolved their company's ability to do business in the state of FL.

It is time for the city to act in the best interest of the health and safety of all residents in the area and not a few shortsighted condo leaders who refuse to admit that they are not acting in the best interest of their neighbors by continuing to see a small financial benefit that was negotiated with the defunct company over 7 years ago.

By opposing the extension of this 7-year old approval all residents that are impacted would be able to review plans with a new owner.  Ideally, the new owner would simply want to improve the clubhouse and hotel and operate the golf course as a destination resort with access to the only championship level golf course located within the city limits of Boca Raton.  Since the first professional golf course manager, Arnold Palmer group, took over at the direction of the receiver, there have been a large increase in the number of paying customers and the financial statements recorded by the receiver have demonstrated an improvement that would allow the golf course to remain operating on a successful basis.

Let's preserve our green space and stop the increased traffic congestion that posses as health and safety hazard to our neighbors.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Boca Teeca Residents vs. Wells Fargo & City of Boca Raton

The residents of Boca Teeca are under attack by attorneys from Wells Fargo bank and the pro-development staff of the city of Boca Raton as the over 200 acres of golf course surrounding their community faces an uncertain future.  The Ocean Breeze golf course has been in foreclosure since March 2010 and recently the attorney for Wells Fargo has requested an extension of a development approval dating back to 12/11/2007.

Background of this Boca Teeca Development Proposal

Numerous agreements were made between the residents and the new owner of the property in 2004, MCZ Centrum Florida V Owner, LLC, a Chicago-based developer that planned to develop 211 townhouses on a portion of the South 9-holes of the 27 hole golf course.  These agreements were made in good faith by the residents after numerous promises by the representatives of the developer to improve the community and continue to operate the golf course.  Former owners/members of the golf course were given a payment for their equity in the club and promised low annual dues on an improved golf course--most of these owner/members were individuals that were not residents of the Boca Teeca community.

On 12/3/04 Wells Fargo bank (formerly Wachovia Bank) loaned the developer $7 million for the $7.12 million purchase price of the Ocean Breeze County Club which was secured by the first mortgage on the property.  This loan agreement was modified in June of 2007 as the bank required the principals of MCZ Centrum to personally guarantee the loan in order to grant an extension that would provide more time for the development approvals under consideration by the city.

In Sept. 2007 the developer filed a deed amendment with the Palm Beach county clerk which allowed the consideration of the development approvals to proceed through the city of Boca Raton.  This deed amendment was obtained after over 3 years of negotiations with residents and promises that resulted in obtaining over 900 non-notarized signatures on consent forms agreed to the removal of the recreational land designation on approximately 30 acres of the South section of the golf course.

The city approved the development of 211 townhouses on 12/11/07 but the negatively impacted residents appealed these city approvals so that the final approvals were not obtained until October 2009.  With the decline in the real estate market during this period the developer stopped making payments to Wells Fargo and stopped paying their Palm Beach County real estates taxes.

In March 2010 Wells Fargo bank commenced foreclosure proceedings.  On Sept. 16, 2010 a planner(Jeffrey Evans, who worked for the law firm that formerly represented the developer) filed a letter with the city in order to request an extension of the development approvals under the recently adopted Florida legislation that allowed for The Owner of The Property Subject to Approvals to obtain a 2 year extension on these approvals.

On October 5, 2011 MCZ Centrum Florida V Owner, LLC voluntarily filed a form with the Secretary of State to withdraw their authority to transact business in Florida.  Shortly thereafter Wells Fargo requested a receiver be named in order to protect their assets and security on their loan.  The receiver was appointed in Jan. 2012 and hired professional golf course management company The Arnold Palmer Group which was affiliated with the receiver, Century golf of Addison, Texas. 

This was the first professional golf course management company to operate the Ocean Breeze Country Club (formerly named Boca Teeca Country Club) and they quickly opened the course to the public and increased the number of rounds played which resulted in a positive cash flow.  Based upon the receivers financial reports over 47,000 rounds of golf were played in the first 9 months after taking control of the golf course.  This appears to be a reflection of the demand for golf in the city of Boca Raton as this facility is the only championship level golf course within the city limits that was open to the public.

In 2012 Wells Fargo amended the foreclosure filing to include all condo associations and the single HOA in order to eliminate their agreements as encumbrances on the property during this process.  In 2012 Mr. Evans filed another request for a 2-year extension based upon another Florida state law that was passed in that year to accommodate stalled developments.  The city had not made any ruling and acknowledgement that these extensions were valid, as the city simply replied with a letter that acknowledged receipt of the letter from Mr. Evans of Covelli Design--which had not documented authority to act on behalf of the property owner in the city records .

In the 4th quarter 2014 an attorney for the bank's receiver submitted a letter to the city indicating that the bank planned to sell the loan to a townhouse developer so Wells Fargo was requesting an 18 month extension under the city's code of ordinances.  This extension was claimed to be necessary in order for the buyer of the loan to complete the foreclosure process and obtain the building permits prior to the expiration of the development approvals in April 2015.

At the scheduled Jan. 2015 planning & zoning hearing the attorney (Mitch Kirschner) representing the bank's request for an extension was granted a motion to table this request until Feb. 19th.  This request was made due to the PB county traffic engineering requirement that there could be no building permits issued after 12/31/15, wheras the city staff recommended approval of the 18 month extension until Oct. 2016.

The city staff has indicated that they have no control or interest in the promises and agreements that were made by the developer in order to obtain the amendment to the deed restriction even though none of this process would have been possible without the consent of the Boca Teeca residents.  City of Boca Raton staff's recommendation for granting the extension of the numerous development approvals is the first instance in which they have officially validated the prior extension requests made by the planner, Jeffrey Evans, under the Florida state statutes.