Wildflower Property Decision Sent to The November Ballot
By Caylin Hirapara
In a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, the Boca Raton City Council decided to postpone a decision that would have made the former Wildflower property labeled for only recreational use. Rather than make a decision, the council decided to give the voters the power by putting the decision on the November 8th ballot. The site and the purpose that it will have in the future has been a contested topic among the residents of Boca. One side would like the land to be turned into a park, and others would like a waterfront restaurant to be placed there.
The former Wildflower site, which is directly on the intercoastal, has long been under controversy after it was purchased by the city in 2009. Last month the council voted 4-1 in favor of rezoning the former Wildflower site from residential to commercial. This was the first step in the more popular but not unopposed option to turn the land into a restaurant. The property at 551 E. Palmetto Park Road was once the site of the Wildflower nightclub, and those in favor of the restaurant want to restore that purpose.
After an hour of public hearings about the land on Tuesday night, the council decided to give the vote to the people of Boca Raton. If the rule is passed in November, it would mean that the land cannot be used for anything other than public recreation, so a restaurant could not be built on the land. The site would likely at that point be turned into a park, some residents even presenting ideas of a park with water taxis and playgrounds.
Robert Weinroth said during the meeting, that the vote is the only way to get this decision resolved. He said, “The reason that I think that this should go to a vote is because honestly, I don’t think that we know what the voters want, and I don’t think that this can continue until we do.” The other councilmen echoed this, leading the decision to be sent to the November ballot.
While many resident voices have been heard throughout hearings and council meetings, only a vote can solidify what the residents of Boca want for this land, and finally get the ball rolling on making something out of the empty Boca waterfront property.