By Thomas R. Collins
Since Boynton Beach brought up the idea of annexing pieces of unincorporated barrier
island land, several residents have made it known that they’d prefer to be part
of Gulf Stream instead.
As a result, Gulf Stream town officials have asked Boynton Beach to cancel a
6-year-old agreement with the town, an action that would pave the way for the
town to usher an incorporated pocket into its borders.
But the town is getting some resistance from Boynton Beach.
In 2004, Gulf Stream agreed to allow Boynton Beach to annex the land as long as
the city kept new development to six units per acre and about three stories in
After receiving letters from residents who say they want to be part of Gulf Stream,
the town became interested in considering annexation, Gulf Stream Town Manager
Bill Thrasher said.
“It would be inappropriate for any real conversation to take place about annexation
without first rescinding this agreement,” Thrasher said, cautioning that
whether actually to seek annexation still hasn’t been decided by the Town
Interest from the county in divesting itself of the pockets was heightened after a
barrier island resident died following a slow county emergency response.
Boynton Beach then considered making the barrier island part of an annexation
study now under way, although it eventually dropped the island land from its
Boynton Beach Commissioner Steven Holzman said the city should not simply sign away its
rights to annex the barrier island property, saying oceanside land would
improve the city’s image.
“I would like for Boynton Beach at some point to look at the viability of annexing
the properties on the other side of the Intracoastal,” he said. “I think it is
a growth area of the city.”
At his suggestion, Boynton commissioners asked for a written report from Gulf
Stream on its plans for the property before they consider doing away with the
Boynton Mayor Jose Rodriguez said at Boynton’s last commission meeting that he wasn’t
inclined to put up much of a fight. “Ultimately, I don’t know if the legal
battle is worth the gain.”
Annexation would have to be approved by the residents in the pocket.
Gulf Stream resident Bob Ganger, of the Florida Coalition for Preservation, said the
group would feel more comfortable with the land in Gulf Stream’s hands because
of the town’s tendency toward low-rise development. He said the coalition
prompted residents in the pocket to make their wishes known.
With Gulf Stream Town Hall so close by, many residents already thought they were Gulf Stream-ers, he said.
“It never occurred to them that they don’t live in Gulf Stream.”