City Council members discuss potential FAU residential community “Liv on 5th”
Recently, the Boca Raton City Council and property developers discussed the proposal of “Liv on 5th”, an off-campus residential development to provide housing for Florida Atlantic University students as the population continues to grow.
Ordinance No. 5537 proposed a new off-campus student housing complex, “Liv on 5th”. The building would be located on Northwest 5th Avenue, directly behind FAU. The complex would have 182 units with three bedrooms per unit.
Additionally, the complex would offer 24/7 security, a campus shuttle, four levels of parking and other amenities. The additional student housing plan would provide additional space for 546 FAU students.
Current students, alumni, professors and nearby residents approving and opposing the plan addressed council members virtually. During the proposal, the project manager of the housing development estimated that FAU is projected to have 28,000 undergraduate students by 2028.
The demand for off-campus housing has increased gradually. According to WPTV, over 100 freshman students lived in a hotel off-campus in 2018 after the university stated that on campus housing was over capacity. During the meeting, many students indicated that they commuted from their homes in surrounding areas such as Boynton Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
While the proposed development would benefit students and near-by residential communities, the development would cause an increase in traffic. Many students commute from Spanish River Blvd. and constructing “Liv on 5th” would contribute to more traffic congestion.
Members of Windwood, a residential community across FAU, expressed their desire for the proposed development.
“On average, we have three homes rented by FAU students per street,” said Charmaine Postal, property manager. “There are loud parties and multiple cars are parked on the street, which can cause the driveways to be blocked in.”
After hearing support and opposition from citizens of Boca Raton, city council members discussed the potential off-campus housing unit.
“Based on the amenities and the need for more housing, I cannot see a more ideal place for FAU students,” says council member Andy Thomson.
Council members Monica Mayotte and Yvette Drucker both expressed their support for “Liv on 5th”. In order to adopt the ordinance, five council members must vote to approve the motion. However, Deputy Mayor Andrea O’Rourke and Mayor Scott Singer opposed the motion, resulting in a 3-2 vote.
“I greatly appreciate hearing both opposing and supporting views to build “Liv on 5th,” says Singer. “But I am not convinced that adding 546 units puts a dent in the issue of housing off-campus students.”
With the failed motion, the debate and discussion of providing additional off-campus housing will continue indefinitely.