By Steve Plunkett
Work on a fifth “view window” along State Road A1A will soon give landlubbers — especially those in the Yacht & Racquet Club of Boca Raton — a better look at the Atlantic.
The Yacht & Racquet condo association will trim sea grapes bordering A1A between the complex and the ocean and replace exotic vegetation with native plants. The Boca Raton City Council approved the project Sept. 10; work cannot begin until sea turtle nesting season ends Oct. 31.
Under permits issued by the state’s departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection, the Yacht & Racquet Club will have native sea grapes trimmed to make a 430-foot-wide corridor across from its complex at 2711 N. Ocean Blvd.
Sea grape and exotic vegetation will be removed entirely in a 30-foot-wide strip bordering the highway. In an adjacent, 15-foot-wide strip the sea grape will be trimmed from an average 22 feet in height down to 4 feet above the roadway. The condo’s contractor will plant sea grape, saw palmetto, nicker bean, sea oat, panic grass and beach sunflower in the next strips extending to 100 feet from A1A.
Exotic invasive plants including Brazilian pepper, Australian pine, sanseveria, wedelia and beach naupaka will be eradicated from the dune system within the corridor and also on 0.49 acres next to it, the permit says.
The Yacht & Racquet Club will have to work with the San Remo Club condominium, which lies between it and Spanish River Park, to make sure lights from the neighboring complex do not adversely affect sea turtles, the Department of Environmental Protection said.
Boca Raton, which last year opened three view corridors across from Spanish River Park and one farther north, has so far seen no change in turtle hatchling disorientation and only a slight increase in false crawls, Jennifer Bistyga, the city’s coastal program manager, said.
“Sky glow is just the biggest concern, both within and without the view corridors,” she said.
The Yacht & Racquet Club applied for state permits in September 2012 and received the DEP and FDOT approvals in June. Boca Raton, in contrast, spent 18 months getting the OK to trim its corridors, partly because the regulatory agencies knew private-sector requests would follow, Bistyga said.
“Ours was kind of the guinea pig,” she said. “We went back and forth a lot with the department. Everybody wanted to make sure we did it right.”
Boca Raton spent $400,000 for its corridors.