(Annexation of unincorporated property contiguous to Town of Gulf Stream)
Yes: 301 votes, 91.77%
No: 27 votes, 8.23%
By Steve Plunkett
Gulf Stream Town Hall will host two polling precincts for the first time this month as voters decide whether Gulf Stream should annex the 16.6-acre county pocket just north of town.
Town voters are used to going to Town Hall for elections, but voters in the pocket had to cross the Intracoastal to cast their ballots. This time, however, their usual polling place on Federal Highway was unavailable, so Town Clerk Rita Taylor decided to cut the Commission Chambers in two rather than staff separate sites.
Town commissioners kept to the schedule at their February meeting and approved an annexation ordinance calling for the referendum just 30 days before Election Day. There was no discussion and no one from the public asked to speak.
If either side votes against the measure, annexation will not occur and cannot be considered again for two years.
If approved, the annexation will add about 150 people to Gulf Stream’s current population of 716, according to the Civic Association. The town’s tax base, now $694 million, would grow by about 10 percent, the association said.
Police and fire-rescue services would shift from the county to the town’s police and Delray Beach fire-rescue, which contracts with the town. Newly annexed properties would also be included in the town’s project to put power lines underground.
The issue came up after the county asked Boynton Beach to explore annexing the pocket last year. Residents of the pocket asked Gulf Stream to consider annexing them instead.
The main annexation benefit to Gulf Stream is the long-term opportunity to influence future redevelopment in the pocket, the Civic Association said in a mailing to members.
“Gulf Stream zoning and building codes are more restrictive than either the county or Boynton Beach, favoring more green space, lower multifamily building heights, and lesser population density,’’ it said. “The town also forbids commercial business, such as retail establishments