The Boca Del Mar Improvement Association (BDMIA) announced to a packed meeting of residents Wednesday, March 11, that it will not pursue additional legal appeals to save the Mizner Trail former golf course from residential development.
Dissenting BDMIA member Billy Vale moved for a formal vote on the decision, but did not get a second motion.
Board Vice-President Brian Coleman told upset residents who were asking about other legal paths that as individuals and HOAs they could pursue legal avenues on their own.
The board also passed on a $10,000 donation offered by former county commissioner Jess Santamaria to help defray legal expenses had the board continued to fight.
On June 26, 2014, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) voted 5 to 2 to approve the re-zoning for an application by Mizner Trail Golf Club Ltd. to build 253 zero-lot-line townhomes and multi-family housing units in addition to the seven roads and traffic re-configurations to accommodate the housing, most of it emptying into Camino del Mar Road that connects 18th Street and Camino Real. The development will trail through the narrow fairways winding among multiple neighborhoods and behind or near hundreds of homeowner’s backyards.
BDMIA appealed the county’s decision to the 15th Judicial Circuit Court. On February 17, 2015, a three-judge panel denied Boca Del Mar’s request with no explanation, not unusual for Florida appeals courts. Some residents wanted to know why a request for a written opinion was not made. BDMIA’s counsel reportedly would not request a written opinion from the court, citing standards of their profession. The three judges on the panel were Gregory Keyser, Meenu Sasser and Lisa Small.
If the three-judge panel ruling was appealed, it would have to be done within 30 days of the judgement. The next level would be at the 4th District Court of Appeals. Board members said chances of winning that appeal were low. Civil cases for damages could be filed within 7 years, according to Vale.
Developer Must Satisfy 51 Conditions
In addition to legal appeals, board member Jonathan Palmer brought attention to the county’s 51 conditions imposed on the developer. Members of the audience questioned who would take responsibility for overseeing their compliance. Environmental concerns were brought up. One condition is that the developer must at least submit its plans to the state for dealing with contamination. The board passed around copies of the county’s resolution on the development with the conditions.
Coleman said residents and HOAs abutting the future development would need to work with code enforcement or negotiate with the future HOA because the new housing development would not be under the control of the Boca Del Mar Improvement Association (BDMIA).
Board member Billy Vale pointed out that course fairways not being developed now could end up developed later if more applications were approved by the BCC.
Before the meeting ended, homeowners passed a signup sheet amongst themselves to share research on what other legal options were available.
The Other Golf Course in Boca Del Mar
In other business, the BDMIA property manager said Penn-Florida, which now owns the other Boca Del Mar golf course to the north of Camino Real, has requested confirmation in writing from the BDMIA that it will not levy assessments on its property since the private golf course is not under the Association’s control. The purpose was to satisfy requirements of a bank loan to make upgrades to the course, according to the Boca Del Mar property manager.