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Breaking news: Another no vote on a beach house in Boca

This time the vote was 5-0 against allowing a house to be built on the beach in Boca.

The owner asked for an exception to the Coastal Construction Control Line on the sand. A yes vote would have green lighted a four-story, single family home at 2500 N. Ocean Blvd.

If this sounds familiar, it is. City council denied a similar request for a beachfront duplex at 2600 N. Ocean Blvd. in February.

The city’s Environmental Advisory Board spent three hours Wednesday night hearing out both sides. Public speakers against the house packed city council chambers.

All an advisory board can do is recommend that council deny the request for a variance to the line in the sand as requested. The issue will now go before city council.

Here’s the details:

The property is .03240 acres with a market value of $140,000 in 2018, according to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser. The owner is Natural Lands.

For a look at the property, click here.

Main issues: Sea turtle nesting, sea turtle lighting, dune management, sea grapes, storm surge, flooding, management and fencing of construction site.

Neil Schiller, a partner with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, spoke for the owner. “This is private property. You may not like it, but we have rights.”

He also presented expert witnesses Here’s the major points they made:

·    Florida Department of Environmental Protection approved the site plan and issued a permit. No appeal was filed.

·    The house design was changed to conform to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requests on window tints, removal of exotic plants, removing porch lights.

·    The owner incorporated a city expert’s recommendations into improved plans.

·    The project meets city code except for the Coastal Construction Control Line.

Public comment:

“This is bad for the environment. It has an impact on A1A [Ocean Boulevard] traffic and the health, welfare and safety of residents.” Andrea Stekloff

“I served on the Environmental Advisory Board. I thought when we instituted the CCCL, we wouldn’t grant a variance. I thought it would provide protection.” Elisabeth Hoffman

“This is a critical sea turtle and dune habitat. Dunes are our first line of defense. It’s time to preserve our marine environment while we can.” Jessica Gray, president, BOCA Save Our Beaches

By Marci Shatzman

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