Town of Briny Breezes Declines Offer for Urban Land Institute Study
Town refuses offer by Coalition, five municipalities to allow respected third party to study Briny Breezes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 12, 2007
CONTACT: James VanLandingham - (850) 222-1996
DELRAY BEACH, FL - The town of Briny Breezes has refused an offer extended by the Florida Coalition for Preservation and five neighboring municipalities to participate in an objective, third party study regarding the redevelopment of the Briny Breezes area by the well respected, independent Urban Land Institute.
The Urban Land Institute is a highly credible nonprofit research organization known internationally for its objectivity and independent land planning work with industry, cities and governments to promote responsible and sustainable communities.
The advisory study would have reviewed, assessed and made recommendations as to the highest and best use of the Briny Breezes area and the redevelopment’s effect on the environment, the area’s transportation infrastructure, its water supply and sewage system, as well as it’s financial impact on the local economy and jobs.
On June 6 and 7, members of the Florida Coalition for Preservation, County Commissioner Mary McCarty, as well as the mayors of Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Ocean Ridge, Gulf Stream and Manalapan, met with Thomas Eitler, the Urban Land Institute’s Director for Advisory Services. All agreed to participate in the study. On June 7, Eitler also met with Briny Breezes Mayor Roger Bennett, who was accompanied by Logan Pierson, Vice President of Ocean Land Development.
In a July 8 email, Mayor Bennett informed Eitler that the Town has declined the opportunity to participate in a ULI study. Logan Pierson also declined Ocean Land Development’s participation.
Because of their reputation for independence, the Urban Land Institute may not conduct the study without the participation of either Briny Breezes or the Developer.
Former Congressman Tom Evans, Chairman of the Florida Coalition for Preservation, said that while he was disappointed by the refusal of Briny Breezes to participate, he was not surprised.
“We have seen repeatedly in the media that the Town and the Developer welcome input from surrounding communities, yet here is a perfect opportunity for an objective group to do an independent analysis and the Town unfortunately refuses to participate,” Evans said. “So far, every single group that has commented favorably about the Briny Breezes plan has been financially linked to the developers.”
Developers have proposed to jam tiny Briny Breezes with multiple high-rise towers housing 900 condominium units, 300 timeshare units, a 349-room luxury hotel, restaurants, retail shops, parking facilities and a yacht marina - all on an environmentally fragile, hurricane-vulnerable barrier island.
On June 29, after a lengthy and thorough review of the plan, the Florida Department of Community Affairs issued a report that was highly critical of the proposed development, raising serious concerns about why the development, as proposed, shouldn’t go forward.
Every public agency reviewing the Briny Breezes plan has criticized it, including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida Water Management District, the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, Palm Beach County, and the municipalities of Boynton Beach, Gulf Stream and Ocean Ridge.
The town of Briny Breezes will be holding four public meetings before it resubmits a revised plan to the Department of Community Affairs for final review. Those meetings were scheduled for July 12, 19, 26 and Aug. 1, but have been postponed.
The meetings are open to the public and the Florida Coalition for Preservation urges area residents concerned about the massive project proposed at Briny Breezes to attend.