Mayor wants weekly updates on development progress

 

University Village was going to be on track to become a bustling mix of a hotel, rentals and retail on Boca Raton’s last undeveloped tract in the northwest section of the city -- at some of the highest density in the city outside downtown -- by Halloween.

Various controversies and changes derailed that plan, but Monday, at the City Council workshop, lawyer Mitch Kirschner asked that the City Council schedule proceedings so that his much-less dense proposal can be approved by the end of May. His client, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, that owns this 80-acre tract, wants to see the development rights on track, he said.

Mayor Susan Whelchel said that is certainly not too much to ask. Now she wants weekly reports on the project’s progress.

With the amount of development now proposed “it’s about like creating farmland when you get right down to it in terms of how little development it actually is on that,” Whelchel said. “I don’t want to see this delayed. People have a right to bring their projects forward.”

Assistant City Manager George Brown said the delay isn’t on the city side. They don’t have a completed application for the project, he said.

“I know they’ve had conversations,” Brown said of the city traffic engineer and the project’s traffic engineer. “A conversation in the theoretical does not mean a traffic report that is necessary to present to the city and the county along with other documents.”

It’s not that the wheels of review are turning slowly, Brown said.

“I can assure the council that it is always our objective to move as expeditiously as possible,” Brown said. “We don’t sit on things.”