Votes on adult living, day care west of Boca Raton delayed

Residents west of Boca Raton will have to wait a little longer to find out if a senior living center and a day care will be built near their homes.

A proposal by St. Louis-based Allegro Senior Living and property owner Alan D. Simon to build on Clint Moore Road has been delayed.

The project’s planners requested a postponement of a planning hearing and a vote by the Palm Beach County commission. The meetings were set to take place this month, but now a planning meeting won’t be held until Dec. 8 and a county commission meeting won’t take place until Jan. 31.

Planners said the delay “will allow the applicant to continue to work with the neighbors.”

The projects are proposed for a 13-acre parcel in the Agriculture Reserve, on the north side of Clint Moore Road just west of Florida’s Turnpike.

The Ag Reserve is  a 22,000-acre farming and conservation zone west of Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. Building in the reserve has been limited by strict county rules, but the reserve has been under increasing development pressure.

Allegro wants to build a 151-unit, 223-bed rental adult living facility that will feature independent and assisted living, plus memory care. Allegro operates facilities in Boynton Beach and Jupiter.

Adjacent to the 175,000-square-foot development, a daycare for 240 children also is proposed. Simon is chief executive of Alternative Educational Systems, which owns the Randazzo School in Coconut Creek.

Some residents who live near the property fear the projects will add to traffic and noise in the area. They’ve organized a group, www.clintmoorewest.com, to oppose the project.

Thousands of dresses from Alfred Angelo’s inventory to be auctioned next month

Looking for a deal on a wedding gown? Thousands of dresses from the inventory of failed bridal chain Alfred Angelo could be auctioned next month.

The bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case has proposed an auction for Sept. 2 in Deerfield Beach. If the judge approves, the sale would be run by auctioneer Stan Crooks, president of Auction America in West Palm Beach.

NEW: Former employee of Alfred Angelo says company violated 248 workers’ rights with abrupt layoff 

Crooks said Alfred Angelo’s inventory includes 5,000 to 10,000 wedding party gowns, plus supplies such as warehouse racks, commercial sewing machines and a pallet jack.

Crooks said he plans to bring a mirror, just in case any brides-to-be want to try on dresses.

The auctioneer will add a 10 percent buyer’s premium to each final bid price, according to court documents. Auction America also will get “reasonable and documented expenses” up to $18,000.

Delray Beach-based Alfred Angelo, a bridal chain with stores throughout the nation, abruptly ceased operations in July.

Republican stronghold The Villages gets medical marijuana dispensary

In the strange-bedfellows category, medical marijuana firm Trulieve said it will open a cannabis dispensary Tuesday in the Republican stronghold of The Villages.

In the Reefer Madness era, conservatives despised pot. These days, they like it just fine: Fully 61.9 percent of voters in Sumter County (home of The Villages) said yes to Amendment 2 in November. Overall, weed won in a landslide thanks to support from the white, rural voters who gave Florida to President Donald Trump.

The Villages, a fast-growing retirement community in Central Florida, is a regular stop for Republican politicians on the campaign trail and book-signing tours.

Among Florida’s new breed of cannabis businesses, Trulieve has been expanding the most aggressively. The company grows marijuana at a facility near Tallahassee, and it operates dispensaries in Clearwater, Miami, Pensacola, Tallahassee and Tampa.

Many municipalities have temporarily barred marijuana dispensaries. For example, Palm Beach County this year passed a one-year moratorium on pot shops.

Brick-and-mortar locations might not be that important, however. Trulieve also makes deliveries statewide to patients in the state’s marijuana programs.

Even as state lawmakers and regulators negotiate rules for Amendment 2, the medical marijuana measure passed last year, Florida already allows patients to use low-THC weed with a doctor’s permission. And patients suffering from terminal diseases can use full-THC pot.

RELATED COVERAGE:

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Hazy science: Is weed a wonder drug?

Why marijuana businesses can’t get a checking account

Disappointment for medical pot patients who revealed their secret during Amendment 2 campaign

Prison operator GEO Group leads stocks in first 100 days of Trump administration

Donald Trump on Super Tuesday. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Reviews of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office have been decidedly mixed. But there’s no debating this fact: Shares of Boca Raton-based GEO Group have been on a tear since Jan. 20.

Investors expect the private prison operator, which runs detention centers for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will house more inmates in a Trump administration. Shares of GEO closed Jan. 19 (the day before the inauguration) at $29.05. Monday, they closed at $39.20, up 26 percent.

Plus, the real estate investment trust pays a healthy dividend of more than 5 percent. After a 3-for-2 split, GEO Group trade in the $33 range on Tuesday.

Socially responsible investors might recoil at such a play: The company has been cited time and again by federal and state regulators for horrid conditions at its facilities.

 

Tall tower plan prompts dueling petitions, snipes from builders

Related Cos.’ proposed 25-story tower on the waterfront in West Palm Beach

Sensing blood in the water, New York developer Charles Cohen has sent West Palm Beach city officials another letter urging them to act quickly on his proposal to build an office tower on the city-owned “tent site” land.

The move comes as city officials held two meetings this month, where impassioned city residents voiced opposition to The Related Cos.’s plan to build a 25-story office tower along the city’s waterfront.

The One Flagler tower would be on Flagler Drive, next to the First Church of Christ, Scientist. The land now is zoned for only five stories.

Related’s bid to build One Flagler has mobilized some city residents who don’t like the plan. They say the tower is too tall, will worsen traffic, will block some of their views and will forever ruin the city’s waterfront.

They’ve circulated a petition and now claim nearly 1,000 names on it from nine condos, including the powerful One Watermark condo. They’ve flooded city officials with emails, formed teams and organized a Facebook page, dubbed Preserve West Palm Beach Citizens Coalition. Now they’re working on slogans.

Their effort has become so aggressive that Related has started pushing its own petition, this one with the names of tower supporters collected during neighborhood meetings. The petition has about 700 names.

Related’s petition drive made a public showing this past weekend at CityPlace, which Related built.

At the shopping and dining center, bewildered Easter tourists encountered a table in front of retailer Anthropologie, seeking petition signers.

The table was meant to provide people with tower information and drum up support, said Rick Asnani, a principal with Cornerstone Solutions, the group hired by Related for community outreach.

In meetings with neighborhood groups, “once we explain what we’re trying to do the opposition melts away and we find people are neutral or gravitate to it,” Asnani said. “It’s amazing how quickly people are supporting this project.”

Unfortunately for Related, a lot of tourists were hanging around CityPlace this past holiday weekend, so Cornerstone officials couldn’t reach as many residents as they hoped.

Nonetheless, “it was a good experiment. We were happy to bring awareness,” Asnani said.

Related officials say there is demand for a new Class A office building that will bring more jobs to the city. Money from the sale of the land will preserve the 1928 Christian Science church, they add.

But residents in nearby condos aren’t buying it. Their growing opposition has prompted Cohen and another billionaire real estate developer, Jeff Greene, to openly criticize Related’s efforts to try to rezone the low-rise waterfront site.

This is especially the case since business and city leaders have been crying for some time about the need for new, Class A office space downtown.

“The site in play and the development planned does not comply with current zoning and has received community opposition that will delay any forward movement,” Cohen said of the Related site in his letter to city officials, including Mayor Jeri Muoio.

In a statement to this reporter, Cohen said the tent site “provokes much less consternation than any site that would compete with it.”

The letter comes one month after Cohen, the Oscar-winning owner of the Carefree Theater property, sent a letter to city officials notifying them of his interest in building a 300,000-400,000-square foot office building on the tent site. That land is at Okeechobee Boulevard and South Dixie Highway.

Meanwhile, Greene poked holes at Related’s efforts to create the Okeechobee Business District to justify One Flagler. A previous effort to create a waterfront historic district that would have allowed this tower failed.

“What’s next? The One Block From The Water District?” Greene asked. “We should just call it what it is: Spot zoning. And everybody knows it.”

Greene said the city’s citizen referendums are the reason the land is zoned for only five stories. If that cap is to change, “the city can have another referendum,” he said.

Greene is planning to build a 30-story, twin-tower complex featuring office space at 550 Quadrille Blvd. He said he plans to start building soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump, China and Twitter: 9 tweets that likely irked PRC leaders

President Donald Trump hosts his Chinese counterpart at Mar-a-Lago next week. It’s the second global — and Asian — leader the president brings to the Southern White House.

But this meeting may not be as amicable as the golf diplomacy with Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe. In fact, People’s Republic President Xi Jinping will not stay at Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach club but instead will spend the night in Manalapan.

President Donald Trump arrives at Palm Beach International Airport on Air Force One Friday, February 10, 2016 accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Abe, and the Prime Minister’s wife Akie Abe. Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post

Why? Well, Twitter may have something to do with it.

RELATED: Will Palm Beach County benefit when Trump brings  a global leader?

On the campaign trail, Candidate Trump frequently blasted the trade deficit with China, saying the People’s Republic was “ripping off” Americans via unfair trade and monetary practices. Those complaints worked their way into Mr. Trump’s Twitter missives.

Since his election as president on Nov. 8, Mr. Trump has not taken China to task on Twitter very often. He’s just fired off nine times.

Full Donald Trump coverage: Galleries, news, video

But they’ve stung — in particular his defense of accepting a congratulatory call from the leader of China’s rival, Taiwan. Mr. Trump has also sharply criticized the PRC for inaction in dealing with provocative moves by North Korea.

In early January, China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, lambasted President Trump’s “Twitter diplomacy” likening it to a “child’s game.”

RELATED: Night at Mar-a-Lago: Inside charity event with Trump, Sessions nearby

Here are Mr. Trump’s China tweets since his Nov. 8 election.

Delray Beach legal impresario joins forces with Boca Raton law firm

Michael Weiner

Delray Beach legal eagle Michael Weiner is joining forces with a Boca Raton law firm renowned for its prowess in homeowners and condominium law.

Sachs, Sax & Caplan will be the new home for the longtime zoning, land use and administrative law attorney.

Weiner, 68, is a ubiquitous figure at municipal hearings on behalf of real estate developers. Even his website’s name is all about his business: zonelaw.com.

And although he’s best known for his work representing Delray Beach real estate developers, Weiner’s practice extends from Boca Raton to Lake Worth.

But starting April 1, Weiner will become of counsel to Sachs, Sax.

Weiner, who has had his own law firm for more than 30 years, said he decided to join Sachs, Sax because he could not figure out a way to clone himself.

“I can only be in so many places at once,” Weiner said. And cities love to hold meetings on Tuesday nights at the same time, he added.

On a more serious note, Weiner said that Sachs, Sax’s land-use department complimented his own practice.

In addition, he said the heft of a full-service law firm with a wide geographic reach will help him better serve clients, particularly on topics such as climate change and transportation.

For its part, Sachs, Sax said Weiner broadens its expertise.

“The firm’s practice will be further diversified with Weiner’s extensive background in land use and zoning litigation, private property rights, historic property redevelopment, property tax challenges, and code enforcement defense and appeals,” the firm said in a statement.

“We are confident this milestone will benefit our existing clients while opening the firm up to new growth opportunities,” said Peter S. Sachs, a founding partner of Sachs Sax Caplan. “Our firm will undoubtedly be stronger and better positioned for the future with him on board.”

Sachs, Sax handles matters from Fort Lauderdale to Jupiter. With Weiner on board, the firm now will be able to handle not only matters throughout Palm Beach and Broward counties, but also from suburbs in the west to cities along the coast, east of Interstate 95.

Helping make the move more palatable is the fact that Weiner’s Delray Beach offices, at10 S.E. 1st Ave., soon could be transformed into a Delray Beach location of Louie Bossi. That’s the sizzling new Italian concept by West Palm Beach’s Big Time Restaurant Group.

In addition to community association and real estate law, Sachs Sax Caplan handles commercial litigation and appeals, estate planning and marital and family law. The firm’s main office is in Boca Raton, with another office located in Tallahassee.

 

 

This timelapse shows how Palm Beach County has grown in past 30 years

Google recently made a major update to its Google Earth Timelapse feature — and now we can see just how much our region has grown over more than three decades.

The internet giant announced earlier this week that it added tons of new data and images to give a sharper, clearer overall picture of how Earth has changed between 1984 and 2016.

Users can navigate the tool by zooming in and out to get as broad a view as the entire U.S., or as close as the neighborhood where you grew up.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

We’ve used it to help show the massive growth Palm Beach County has undergone in the past 32 years. And just imagine how it will look when we check back in two years: more neighborhoods will pop up, and an entire community, Westlake, will bloom west of West Palm Beach.

(Tip: You can adjust the speed of the timelapse by clicking “Fast” under the year; it will toggle to “Medium” and then “Slow.”)

That’s an impressive view — but let’s zoom in to take a look at each community.

West Palm Beach

You can see several neighborhoods appear. Watch work being done at Palm Beach International Airport and along the Florida East Coast Railway line. For those who want to reminisce, you can see the old Palm Beach Mall until just a few years ago, when it was razed and rebuilt as the Palm Beach Outlets.

Jupiter

Want a real “wow” moment? Watch Abacoa in Jupiter come out of the ground in about five seconds with this timelapse.

Palm Beach Gardens

Numerous large neighborhoods appear over the past 30 years in Palm Beach Gardens. Watch Downtown at the Gardens and Legacy Place grow out of the ground in the span of about two seconds.

Lake Worth, Greenacres

Want to show your friends how the pre-Recession housing boom affected Palm Beach County? Show them this timelapse. Hundreds of homes populate the screen from 2000 to 2006 along Lantana Road.

Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, The Acreage, Loxahatchee Groves

Long-time residents of Royal Palm Beach and Wellington will notice a few things: the construction of the Mall at Wellington Green, along with several Wellington schools; several large developments north of Okeechobee Boulevard and west of State Road 7; and several projects to connect major roads in Loxahatchee Groves.

Boynton Beach

Watch as the Boynton Beach Mall and the surrounding area grow. The Renaissance Commons development begins to grow around 2006-2007, stalls, and then sees renewed growth. Areas of suburban Boynton see several large housing developments.

Delray Beach, Boca Raton

The growth of Florida Atlantic University is especially noticeable here, along with areas of suburban Delray Beach near Lyons Road and Atlantic Avenue.

New group forms to steer autonomous vehicle policy in Florida

A new group has formed to help guide any future autonomous vehicle policy in the Sunshine State.

Autonomous Florida, based in Tallahassee, “will provide an important voice from stakeholders and experts in the conversation about Sunshine State policy related to automated vehicle technology,” according to a news release.

The announcement comes at a time when interest throughout the U.S. in automated vehicles is high.

An Uber driverless Ford Fusion drives through in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in September. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
An Uber driverless Ford Fusion drives through in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in September. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Electric-vehicle maker Tesla announced last week that all of its cars now are being produced with self-driving capabilities. Earlier this year, Babcock Ranch, a new town being built near Fort Myers, said on its blog that it “will welcome driverless cars with open arms to help improve our residents’ overall quality of life.” Images popped up in early October of what are believed to be the first self-driving Chrysler minivans in Google’s Self-Driving Car Project.

And earlier this year, Florida passed a law addressing autonomous vehicles, becoming the second state to do so. The law states that a person who has a valid driver’s license may operate an autonomous vehicle in Florida; it also defines who would be considered the operator of an autonomous vehicle.

The new nonprofit group will work with lawmakers on issues related to automated vehicles as research, development and production continues to pick up in coming years.

“As autonomous vehicle technology improves — much of that research and development taking place in our own state — policy changes are also required, so that our laws account for unprecedented advancements in self-driving vehicles,” Allison Aubuchon, spokesperson for Autonomous Florida, said in the news release. “States looking to work with this technology have a great opportunity to be at the forefront of policy changes.”

What’s the difference?

It can be confusing: There are many terms floating around in the automated vehicle discussion. Here’s how the Florida Department of Transportation breaks it down:

“Automated vehicle is an umbrella term that includes both autonomous and connected vehicle technologies. An autonomous vehicle (AV) is any vehicle equipped with advanced sensors (radar, LIDAR, cameras, etc.) and computing abilities to perceive its surroundings and activate steering, braking, and acceleration without operator input. Connected vehicles (CV) employ vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication to provide real-time warnings to a human driver to help them avoid crashes. Additional information can include traffic signal status, traffic congestion and construction warnings, as well as impending severe weather events.”

What you had to say on aggressive driving crackdown in Florida

(Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
(Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

Wow. Our readers certainly had a lot to say about aggressive driving.

Florida Highway Patrol is cracking down on unruly drivers in its latest enforcement campaign — called Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks, or TACT — which runs through Oct. 20.

This comes just months after the U.S. government announced a record surge in fatal crashes last year, including an increase in deadly wrecks involving large trucks.

For drivers of passenger vehicles, there’s a lot to know about interacting on the roads with tractor-trailers. You can read the full article here.

We posted the story on our Facebook page, and our readers responded in droves.

Here are some of the comments on the post:

Samantha said, “I’ve recently relocated from NJ. I have never seen driving quite like the way it’s done down here. I sometimes wonder if we all took the same driver’s exam. The speeding, tailgating and passing on the right drive me bonkers! I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands each time I have to drive on 95. The cell phone laws need to change here, as well. It’s horrendous! From little old ladies to kids with a fresh new license. Someone is almost always with a phone to their ear.”

Ali said, “Good, I can’t stand when everyone is going the speed limit and the guy behind me is so close to my rear like I can go any faster with people in front of me. Makes me so mad, especially cuz I have my kids in the car with me most of the time. Back off people! Can’t control the traffic flow!”

Derek said, “Need to crackdown on slow drivers. They create more dangerous situations than drivers who drive a little over the limit.”

Sharrie said, “Good, because that was all I saw when I was in South Florida last weekend.”

Laura said, “There’s no excuse for tailgating. If there’s a car accident or whatever in front of you but you’re tailgating and don’t have time to brake, you’re getting caught up in it.”

To read more comments, head to The Palm Beach Post’s Facebook page.