By Steve Plunkett
Work to open a “minimal” park at Ocean Strand will not begin until February at best.
The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, which owns the undeveloped 14.8-acre tract west of State Road A1A, must have its revised plan for the park approved by the city’s Planning & Zoning Board and the City Council.
And when those approvals come, the district will have to pay $1,500 into the city’s beautification program, Briann Harms, the district’s executive director, told commissioners on Nov. 15.
“Even though we’re taxpayer-funded and not a typical developer, we will still have to contribute to that fund,” Harms said.
At the board’s Nov. 1 meeting Harms sketched out the schedule.
“We are just waiting to get put on the Planning & Zoning and the City Council’s agendas,” she said. “I’m hearing that by the end of January we would be through that process and have the right steps to go forward and finish out that project.”
The park — with picnic tables, benches and a kayak landing area — was originally envisioned to open in September 2020. But a required archaeology study that documented remnants of a prehistoric people and a decision to make the park accessible to people with disabilities slowed the project.
The district now plans to leave invasive Brazilian pepper trees on the north and south portions of the park, clearing the exotics only from the central portion where an asphalt road and mulch pedestrian path runs from A1A to the Intracoastal Waterway.
Meanwhile, commissioners approved a temporary construction easement on Nov. 15 for work at 900 Lago Mar Lane, on the Intracoastal just north of the park. JJ Morley Enterprises Inc. will pay the district $15,000 for permission to stage construction equipment and materials, park vehicles and enter and leave the site. The easement runs until February 2023 or until construction is complete and can be extended if necessary for $1,000 a month. After the work is finished Morley will repave the asphalt road.
Lago Mar Associates Inc., headed by real estate broker and Lago Mar Lane resident David Petruzzelli, sold the vacant property in January 2021 for $4.1 million to a Boca Raton limited liability partnership, according to county property records. Petruzzelli’s entity bought the land and three adjoining parcels in 1989 for $300,000.
The property includes a pier extending 206 feet into the Intracoastal and a boatlift.
Harms said she believed the building planned for the lot is a three-unit condominium.
“Equipment wise, the largest vehicle anticipated on the easement is a concrete truck,” Harms said. “The impact to Ocean Strand will be minimal during the construction of that property and will not interfere with our plans to open it as a pedestrian park.”
She also said the district had planned to resurface the asphalt at a later phase and possibly incorporate public art there.
“We were able to incorporate the cost of those improvements into the (temporary easement) which benefits taxpayers,” Harms said.