Boca Raton City Council Decides on Wildflower Property Ordinance
By: Caylin Hirapara
In their regular meeting this evening, the Boca City Council voted 4-1 in favor of rezoning the former Wildflower site from residential to commercial.
The site, which is directly on the intercoastal, has long been under controversy after it was purchased by the city in 2009. Tuesday night’s decision is the first step in the city’s plan to turn the land into a restaurant although there is also a plan claiming land should be turned into a park.
The site is located on the northern part of the Palmetto Park Bridge, and without the zone change, there could not be a restaurant. It would be one of only two restaurants on the intercoastal in Boca Raton.
The vote came after three hours of public hearing on the topic. Opinions differed. Those in favor, who claimed that a restaurant would be a profitable and useful purpose for the land. “$6,000 a year in rent can be used for funding the other parks.” Said one citizen. Others said that the land is too close and too similar to Silver Palm Park on the other side of Palmetto Park road.
Those opposed said that buildings are taking over the once beautiful landscape, and a park would be a great use for the land. “There’s not gonna be five feet open in Boca for the people in five years,” said one citizen.
All seemed to agree that the land needs a plan, and something needs to be done, such as one person who said, “I can’t believe that we’re still having this debate, six and a half years and there has been no plan”.
Tuesday’s vote will be followed by a vote to put this proposition on the ballot in November to let the people decide what to do with the land. While the rezoning was a start to the decision, actions such as leasing and building will require more meetings.