City Code Enforcement Big Talking Point for Residents of Boca Raton
By: Alyssa Lamp
City code enforcement has been a big issue lately in Boca Raton. At Scott Singer’s Coffee and Conversation earlier this month, this issue was brought up by Boca resident, Georgy Nagy.
Nagy brought up the issue of non-vegetation waste bulk pick up, and how the non-vegetation pick up does not get done enough and is left in front of apartment and duplexes and degrades the neighborhood.
Nagy added that the City has been doing a poor job when it comes to enforcing its codes, not only pertaining to trash pick up, but other codes as well. Singer agreed, stating he believes enforcement seems to be an ongoing issue.
“We have very solid codes in the city,” added Singer. “Enforcement is the heart of it.”
When Boca Raton added dog sections to the beach, there used to be a regular section of space for, however, now the dog beach is turning into a much larger area, due to the dogs running further than previously allowed.
The 12-story apartment building, The Mark at CityScape, was built on interpretations of a memo from back in 2003 about open space.
The memo incorrectly allowed developers to count certain features as open space, such as areas under archways, which show why the building has a lack of public green space.
“Since then, there has been some concern that the city used an interpretive memo to allow buildings to be built that was inconsistent with 4035,” Singer comments.
He wants to get past this issue and see more meaningful open space downtown.
The 12-story Hyatt Place Hotel next to the Mark building downtown was allowed to rise 40 feet more than any other building downtown and it was the third building to be approved under a special set of guidelines that allows a project to ascend 160 feet.
Boca has come to see a city of concrete and not a city of green space and residents are not happy with this.
Andrea O’Rourke brings up how crucial public space is to the city. She says, “Public art, public green space and public space are the heart of the city.”
She also mentions that no one has addressed how we plan green space. We know how they want us to put concrete in, but not beautiful, urban, green space. She believes there’s been a lack of vision about it. Singer steps in and says he agrees, and it is a failure of planning and it goes back to 4035.
At the City Strategic Planning Meeting, they brought us the issue of 4035. The council would like to see a new planning tool for 4035. They will make it an adapted book for downtown so in the future it will be clearer for architects. “We will take the part of the pattern book that relates to building, which is in the back park part of the pattern book, and make them supplemental to 4035” says George Brown, the Deputy City Manager.
Instead of bending the codes in order for a project to be put in, the city needs to start enforcing the codes or go in and change them, so there can be no shortcuts taken.