Preserving the Residential Character of Boca Teeca

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Today there was a meeting of the previously defunct BTUOA organization which had about 10 supporters in attendance.  Were the 3 leaders of this private organization embarrassed when councilman Scott Singer asked where everyone was that the BTUOA claims to represent?

In spite of this anemic turnout of Boca Teeca residents, the leaders of this organization discussed how they can hire an attorney to negotiate with the city on what they want from the city as it relates to the Ocean Breeze golf course.  Are they serious?  Ten people have NO political clout in an issue that involves over $70 million dollars and certainly have no ability to make demands of the city.

Unfortunately, this nonsensical organization may have done more damage to the Boca Teeca community's effort to get the city to acquire the closed golf course since they were clearly dysfunctional in their representation and had no idea what they were doing.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Eminent Domain Does Not Work

During the November 21st city council workshop meeting the city narrowed the offers for the sell of the current municipal golf course and delayed making a decision until January 2017 in order to investigate whether an eminent domain taking of the Ocean Breeze property would by legally and fiscally feasible.  The remaining offers under consideration are from GL Homes, Compson Development and Lennar.  Only the Lennar offer includes the city's acquisition of the Ocean Breeze golf course property which Lennar values at $10 million.

At last Tuesday's city council meeting GL Homes had their eminent domain attorney provide a presentation and a written legal opinion which concluded that the city could use eminent domain for acquiring the ocean breeze golf course property.  But, the legal opinion failed to include the relevant details of the current Boca Raton issues, that is, there is no mention of the possible costs to the city and it did not mention the city is selling a similar golf course for over $73 million.  Yes, the city could use eminent domain to acquire the closed ocean breeze golf course property is all this legal opinion concluded.

Now for the analysis on how eminent domain would work in this situation.  First, the city could use the "quick-take" provisions of this law in which the city would take control of the property and commit to a legal determination by a jury concerning the price the city would pay to Lennar/Wells Fargo.  While the city would hope for a price lower than the $10 million offered by Lennar in their offer to buy the current municipal golf course, it would be petted that Lennar would counter with a $70 million plus valuation based upon the selling price for the city's own golf course.

The city could counter that the ocean breeze property is subject to a deed restriction which prevents development so it should be valued as not developable land with minimal value.  Lennar could counter that the previous developer, MCZ Centrum, was able to amend the deed restriction for allowing over 200 homes in exchange for under $400,000 to adjacent condo associations. So Lennar could possibly offer $2-$4 million to the adjacent condo leaders and they could potentially amend the entire deed restriction for building 600+ homes on the property.  Accordingly, the legal determination for the value of the property would present a huge liability for the city which would not be recommended by the city manager who is responsible for the city budget.

As indicated by GL Homes attorney, the city could go through a basic eminent domain process without taking control of the property until after the process is completed (which could take years).  After this process is completed, if the city did  not want to pay the value established by the legal process, then the city could exit this process with their only costs being the legal fees of BOTH sides of the case.  This could be millions of dollars wasted and years of delay with no acquisition of the property by the city.  Again, this is a significant risk to the city budget and the lengthy delays in this process would not be politically popular with thousands of Boca Raton voters.

The bottom line is that $10 million is a specific valuation that the city would be reimbursed this amount by the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Parks District under their detailed letter to the city indicating how they would like to participate in the acquisition of the Ocean Breeze property in this process.  In conclusion, the eminent domain process would be a very risky proposition and NOT in the best interest of the city.