UPDATE: Water main fixed west of Boynton

Workers repair a water main break that shut off service to Palm Beach Outlets mall. (Tony Doris / The Palm Beach Post)

UPDATE: Everything has been repaired.

ORIGINAL POST: A water main break has left some residents west of Boynton Beach without running water.

Residents of the Briella community, at W. Boynton Beach Boulevard and Hagen Ranch Road, were notified of the break by email.

The Palm Beach County water department is at the scene. The break should be repaired within a few hours, according to a news release.

Red-light camera program coming back to Boynton Beach, but when?

Red light cameras are used at the intersection of Belvedere Road and Parker Avenue in West Palm Beach, June 11, 2013. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Now that Boynton Beach’s officials decided to bring back the red-light camera program, the big question is when does it start?

Well, there isn’t a start-date yet.

City Manager Lori LaVerriere said there’s a lot to be done before the program starts: The city needs to meet with camera-vendor American Traffic Solutions to work out logistics; and three police employees need to be moved back to the program to review the videos and pictures.

City officials decided earlier this month to reinstate the program. Boynton will be the only Palm Beach County city to do so.

Read more here: Red-light cameras coming back to Boynton Beach

 

New Boynton Starbucks opens, Chipotle coming soon

Starbucks in Canyon Town Center on Aug. 7, 2017. (Alexandra Seltzer / The Palm Beach Post)

Attention coffee lovers: There’s a new Starbucks in town.

The coffee cafe, which also has a drive-through, opened Friday in Canyon Town Center west of Boynton Beach.

A Chipotle is under construction next door. It’s expected to open in September.

Canyon Town Center is at 8780 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., just east of Lyons Road. The center is already home to Publix, Panera Bread and Massimo’s Italian Restaurant.

 

Marijuana, red-light cameras among big decisions by Boynton officials

Boynton Beach commissioners discussed five major topics at their meeting Tuesday including red-light cameras, raising garbage fees and a dog beach.

Here’s how they voted:

Red-light cameras:

What: They’re coming back in Boynton.

Read more here: Red-light cameras coming back to Boynton Beach

Medical marijuana dispensaries:

What: In November, Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment 2, making marijuana available to people with certain illnesses. The state has licensed organizations to grow, distribute and sell medical marijuana. The law went into effect July 1.

While the state worked on their law, the city worked on a local law. But city staff recently found out that portions of the local law — such as how many dispensaries will open in the city and where — are moot according to state law. State law says rules for locating dispensaries can’t be tougher than the ones on pharmacies. The City Commission can either allow the dispensaries to open in the city and not restrict them more than pharmacies; allow the stores but change requirements for pharmacies in order to write stricter rules; or ban the dispensaries.

Vote: The dispensaries will be allowed to open in the city and officials will not restrict them more than pharmacies.

Raising garbage rates:

What: The first of two votes allowing a $1 per month increase on residential garbage rates for the next two years. If approved, beginning Oct. 1, single-family home rates would be $17 per month and multifamily home rates would be $13.75 per month. Those increases would bring about $460,000 a year in revenue to the city. For 2018-19, the rate for single-family would be $18 per month. Vehicle and personnel costs for Solid Waste are rising, and the city wants to keep enough money in the Solid Waste fund to be able to handle unexpected emergencies.

Vote: The majority voted against this increase, so the rates will not change. There will be no second vote. Now the city’s budget is short that $460,000.

Texting while driving: 

What: State Rep. Emily Slosberg has asked Boynton to support legislation that would make the ban on texting while driving a primary offense. As it is now, police officers cannot pull over drivers who are texting while driving because it is a secondary offense. Slosberg said new legislation would save lives, prevent injuries and prevent property damages.

Vote: The commission supports Slosberg’s move for new legislation.

Dog beach: 

What: Commissioner Joe Casello has requested to discuss allowing dogs at Oceanfront Park beach during certain hours. If the dogs could be confined to one area, he said the dogs wouldn’t need to wear leashes. If not, they would wear them. “Just to have the ability to have dogs be on the beach and enjoy the water would be a huge success,” Casello said.

Vote: Commissioners supported Casello. The city will work on plans to make this happen.

VIDEO: Boynton officer lassos gator outside home, releases it in canal

Screenshot of a Boynton Beach Police video showing an officer lasso an alligator.

A Boynton Beach police officer has been named the department’s alligator wrestler after he lassoed one on a porch this month and filmed it on his body camera.

A Hunter’s Run resident called police July 10 when he found the gator outside his front door. Lucky for that man, Officer Alfredo Vargas showed up with the proper tools and even more important- training on how to handle the reptiles.

After a few tries, the officer successfully threw a rope around the gator’s head and swung the body around to get the mouth away from him. Then he threw a jacket on the head and held the mouth closed while another officer tied it shut.

Vargas called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. But facing a long wait time and likely a death sentence for the gator, Vargas decided to take the gator on a short ride to a nearby canal and let him roam free.

 

Pizza chain starts South Florida expansion with Boynton locations

Part owner of Hungry Howie’s Michael Pierson in his new Boynton Beach location on July 25, 2017. (Palm Beach Post/Alexandra Seltzer)

A pizza chain plans to expand in South Florida and has already begun with two new restaurants in Boynton Beach.

Hungry Howie’s opened a store at 4789 N. Congress Ave. in the Meadows Square plaza at Hypoluxo Road, and at 1660 S. Congress Ave. just south of Woolbright Road.

Both openings happened within the past three weeks, said part owner Michael Pierson.

The Hungry Howie’s new Boynton Beach location on July 25, 2017. (Palm Beach Post/Alexandra Seltzer)

The chain is known for its flavored pizza crust and oven-baked subs. They also offer deals every Wednesday, Pierson said.

Ice Ice B…oynton? Rapper dines at Boynton Beach cafe

Rapper Vanilla Ice takes a selfie at East Ocean Cafe on July 23, 2017 . (Handout: Cindy Sumlin, owner of the cafe)

Rapper Vanilla Ice dined at a Boynton Beach cafe this weekend and snapped selfies with the restaurant’s owner.

“He’s an awesome guy. He makes everybody smile,” said Cindy Sumlin, owner of East Ocean Cafe.

>> Read: What was Vanilla Ice doing at this Royal Palm Beach restaurant?

The Wellington rapper, whose legal name is Rob Van Winkle, came to the Ocean Avenue spot for lunch on Sunday. Sumlin says the visit wasn’t a rarity; he dines there frequently.

Vanilla Ice with Cindy Sumlin, owner of East Ocean Cafe in Boynton Beach. (Handout: Cindy Sumlin)

The family-owned East Ocean Cafe, at 412 E. Ocean Ave., is known for its eggs Benedict and home fries.

Sumlin shared the photos on the restaurant’s Facebook page and wrote: “What a Wonderful weekend we had at The Cafe. Thank you everyone coming and enjoying breakfast and lunch with us . It was nice to see you again Rob (Vanilla Ice) you always being a smile”

 

BurgerFi to open in Boynton Beach next week

Image of a BurgerFi. (Phil Scavo)

It’s been in the works for at least 10 months, but Boynton Beach residents will finally be able to eat at BurgerFi next week.

Owner Phil Scavo plans to open his restaurant in Renaissance Commons on Monday.

Scavo built the restaurant in about 3,000 square feet of space taken from the 6,000-square-foot Hurricane Grill & Wings restaurant. 

The restaurant is at 1500 Gateway Blvd. at Congress Avenue.

BurgerFi started in 2011 and uses 100 percent natural Angus beef patties. The company says they don’t use steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. It’s described on the website as a “Gourmet Hamburger Restaurant: French Fries & Craft Beer.”

Boynton group opposes changes for more rentals and no condos

The District at Cortina apartments, shown here on July 6, 2017, is under construction in Boynton Beach. (Alexandra Seltzer / The Palm Beach Post)

A group of Boynton Beach residents have created an online petition against proposed changes to the incoming Cortina residential project off Congress Avenue.

A developer wants to build more than 300 additional apartments instead of 643 condos. Also, a plan for 115 single-family homes is in trouble. That developer now favors townhomes and apartments.

Read: Boynton could lose houses to apartments furthering crunch for homes

Cindy Glover lives in Renaissance Commons, next to the development at Old Boynton Road, and emailed the city’s officials Saturday about her concerns. She said the neighborhood already has enough apartments under construction. She wants the plans to stay as approved. The commission will likely decide later this month if the changes are OK.

The residents’ petition is on Change.org and is titled, “Oppose Cortina zoning changes!” It’s garnered 18 signatures as of Monday afternoon.

In 2015, city officials approved the Cortina project put forth by JKM Development. The plans promised homes for 1,108 families, including 115 single-family homes, 350 apartments and 643 condos. Those homes were packaged with an existing commercial element, the Boynton Village & Town Center that includes Target, Michael’s and Total Wine & More.

The first phase of Cortina, the 350 apartments now called The District, is almost complete.

The proposed changes are adding to an already difficult housing market in Boynton and throughout Palm Beach County. A study released in April of Boynton’s housing stock, estimated that about 1,800 families will move to the city during the next five years. But it forecast that fewer than 800 vacant homes would be up for sale.

The proposed changes at Cortina would turn 643 condos to rentals, creating what the study’s author’s called a “significant imbalance” between for-sale and for-rent housing, in addition to contributing to the overall shortage.

There are single-family homes under construction, just not enough. Nonprofits work with the city and the Community Redevelopment Agency to build homes in targeted low-income neighborhoods. But they usually are built one at a time and can’t keep pace with the demand. Some relief is expected from the Casa Del Mar project going up off Federal Highway, but even that adds only 72 homes to the market.

Boynton is about to be flush with apartments. More than 1,000 units are going up from the Intracoastal Waterway to Congress Avenue.

Glover’s email in part:

Higher-density development is more profitable for builders, but it is not good for residents of Boynton Beach. There are at least three important reasons why the City Commission should reject this request:
Traffic & Parking – Renaissance Commons Blvd. and Congress Avenue will soon be much more congested as a result of apartments already under construction. Increasing housing density will make this worse.
Public Safety – Higher levels of home ownership are associated with lower levels of crime and less strain on police, fire, and EMT resources. 
Education – The public schools in our zone (Galaxy Elementary, Congress Middle, and Boynton Beach High) have all received C’s or D’s from the Florida Department of Education over the past two years. It is harder for the schools to build strong relationships with parents when residents are transient. 

Abandoned, underweight dog recovering after found by Boynton resident

Becca (Handout)

An emaciated and abandoned dog found wandering a Boynton Beach street last week is on her way back to health thanks to a Boynton resident and the Tri-County Animal Rescue.

Alisha Zucarro found the 30-pound boxer-mix walking alone without a collar or leash in her neighborhood one day last week. The dog was at least 30 pounds underweight.

“It looked scared and starved,” Zucarro said in a written statement.

Read: VIDEO: Boynton Beach police rescue dog left in hot car

The two warmed up to one another. Zucarro put a leash on the dog. Then the dog rolled over for a belly rub. Zucarro called Tri-County to care for the dog. Once at the shelter, staff named the brown dog with a bib of white fur Becca. They estimate Becca is about four years old.

“It’s shameful that someone would let this dog get to this point,” said Suzi Goldsmith, Co-Founder of TCAR. Becca was traumatized and will have a long road to recovery, she said.

Tri-County will care for Becca until she is ready to be adopted. Meanwhile,  the organization is collecting donations for Becca’s medical treatment here, https://tricountyanimalrescue.com/