Boca Raton: City vs. Not, with Robert Weinroth

A reader asked us a question:

Hi there – can you possibly explain in a future post what exactly it means to be outside of the Boca city limits? (Ie 33498) I understand annual beach parking is limited to south beach park- what other limitations or perks exist due to the city limit restrictions? Thanks in advance!

We didn’t know the answer, so we asked Robert Weinroth serving his freshman term as a member of the Boca Raton City Council. We first met Mr. Weinroth when he was running for a county office. Until recently, he and I were fellow members of the West Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce and we have seen each other at a number of the events held in the City and West Boca.
Here’s his answer:

Thank you for passing along the question received from your reader. Since it appears primarily focused on recreational facilities, let me focus on that first:
Our Beaches & Parks are actually funded through the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Parks District. The area covered by the district is not exactly the same as the city of Boca Raton. The farthest West either goes is currently the Turnpike.
If you go onto the Beach & Parks District web site they first define “residency” with respect to the beaches & parks:
* Residents are considered persons who live in the City of Boca Raton and/or the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District.
* Sugar Sand Park is open to the general public; there is a residency requirement for groups of 10 or more visiting the park or Children’s Science Explorium. Groups of 10 or more must make a reservation through the Children’s Science Explorium to visit the park for both indoor and outdoor facilities.
Here is a map of the District:
residencymap2 cropped
As you will note, whereas the pink reflects the City’s legal boundary, the yellow (essentially going West to the turnpike) adds additional “residents” to the District. District residents are assessed for the annual operating budget. The District has five elected Commissioners (independent of the Mayor & City Council) with two of those living within the district but outside of the City.
There is a great deal of cooperation between the City & District since there is a fair amount of overlap as Recreation Department personnel oversee many of the programs run at the beaches & parks.
“Non-residents” living outside of the District’s area but within Palm Beach County, may purchase a permit for South Beach Park, only, at the same rate (currently $55) as “Residents.” The Boat Launch and Recovery facilities at Silver Palm Park Boat Ramp are, likewise, available to any Palm Beach County resident for a daily fee of $20.00 or an annual fee of $55. Non-Palm Beach County residents must pay a daily fee of $50 or an annual fee of $435.00
The following fees are charged for issuing a permit for all groups, other than Independent Youth Sports Associations and Youth Travel Teams, requesting usage of an athletic field owned by the City of Boca Raton. Fees and inventory of fields available for rental subject to change.
Resident rates in bold, Non-resident rates in italics
• Baseball/Softball Field $20.00 per hour $110.00 per hour
• Soccer/Football Field $25.00 per hour $140.00 per hour
• Basketball Courts (Woodlands Park)
Volleyball Courts (Meadows Park – Sand Court): $13.00 per hour $70.00 per hour
• Batting Cage $10.25 per hour $30.75 per hour
Boca Raton is a “full-service” City providing police (Boca Raton Police Services), fire protection (Boca Raton Fire Rescue Services), water, sewer and and garbage pickup. Residents living in West Boca are protected by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Services and garbage pickup is overseen by Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority.
Residents of the city can use either the Palm Beach County Libraries or the two city libraries. Residents living outside the City, wishing to use the City of Boca Raton Libraries, may purchase an individual card for a $150. annual fee, or a family card (immediate family only) for a $250. annual fee.
Last but not least, come election time, voters within the City & Beach and Parks District will be asked to select a Mayor, four City Council Members (all five of whom also act as Commissioners of the Boca Raton Community Redevelopment Agency) and five Beach & Parks District Commissioners, all elected “at-large.”
Residents in the City and residents in West Boca will each be asked to select a single Palm Beach County Commisioner. There are seven Commissioners elected by District. West Boca is within District 5 and represented by Commissioner Mary Lou Berger. The City of Boca Raton is within District 4 and represented by Commisioner Steven L Abrams. Since West Boca Raton is “unincorporated,” Commissioner Berger is often considered its “mayor,” working closely with the West Boca Community Council and others within her District to facilitate their needs.
I hope this comprehensive overview of the City of Boca and West Boca Raton (more properly referred to as unincorporated Palm Beach County) provides some clarity for your readers.

Career Criminal Attacks Boca Beach Lifeguard

A Boca Raton beach lifeguard was attacked Monday by a man designated as a career criminal by the State of Florida. The city police blotter places the attack at Lifeguard Tower 6 (above) at the north end of South Beach Park near NE 4th Street.
Per the blotter, Arthur Kennedy Gates (55) battered a lifeguard inside Tower 6. When police arrived on the scene Gates attacked them. He was subdued with the use of a Taser, medically cleared, and then taken to the Palm Beach County Jail. Charges filed from the incident are burglary with battery, battery on a police officer, and resisting with violence. He remains in custody at this writing with bond set at $10,000. In light of a reader comment we note that there is no charge for causing injury, so we are hopeful that the lifeguard is okay.
Arthur Gates is listed by FDLE as a habitual violent felony offender.
While we found no history for Mr. Gates in Palm Beach County, we found seven cases in Broward, including felonies in 1979 (battery on police officer), 1992 (robbery), and his career felony cases from 1995. The 1995 charges look particularly troubling, including: Aggravated assault, sexual battery on a child under 11, kidnapping, and … wait for it … attempted murder in the first degree. We should note that despite the sexual battery on a child charge, he is not listed as a sex offender by FDLE. That charge may have been dropped. However, his career offender record indicates he was adjudicated guilty of attempted murder.
More recently he was charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm in March of 2013. Somehow that didn’t stop him from getting out in time to face two municipal ordinance violation charges in September (trespassing) and November (open container).
Gates appeared in front of Judge Crow on Tuesday and is scheduled to appear again on Thursday.
Readers might wonder what we’re wondering: How is this guy out?
Update: Per a reader comment on Facebook, we have been told the following.

Hi. I found out exactly what happened through my son’s junior lifeguard captain. The lifeguard, Brendan, is totally fine. The bad guy tried to climb the lifeguard tower. When Brendan tried to stop him, the guy put Brendan in a headlock. Then he tried to punch Brendan. Brendan was able to restrain him. Then the cops came. Brendan decided not to press charges. He felt bad for the guy because he was homeless.
Then the guy attempted to punch one of the cops. He was then arrested. The cops say that the homeless people have been doing things like this to try to get arrested on purpose to get out of the heat, into somewhere air conditioned and with food. That is why when the guy saw that he wasn’t going to be arrested at first, he then had to go after the cop. Crazy, right?
Anyway, funny thing is that I realized after hearing Brendan’s full name and age, that we went to grade school and high school together!! So funny! I told the captain that some people on Facebook were concerned about him and he promised to pass along everyones’s well wishes.

Note: Normally we try to stick closer to West Boca with our coverage. However we feel the facts here are particularly serious. Also, we go to South Beach Park ourselves and know that other West Boca residents go there. It is the one beach where non-city residents can get parking permits.

Downtown Delray Offers Friday Night Fun for Everyone

Across the Universe: A Beatles Tribute band plays the classics for a toe-tapping, head-bopping crowd during Delray Beach’s weekly free Friday night concerts.

After a long week of working and school, a Friday night out can either sound like a wonderful escape or a call for exhaustion. It is also very rare to find something to do on a Friday night that is good for all ages, inexpensive, enjoyable, and safe.
Enter the city of Delray Beach’s “Free Friday Concerts in the Pavilion.” Every Friday night at 7:30 PM from now until January, there will be a host of local bands and singers performing for free for all to enjoy. The event is located right on the Old School Square at at 51 N. Swinton Avenue. There will be food vendors and a cash bar on premises.
Last Friday was the opening night celebration, with over thousands coming to enjoy the sounds of a Beatles Tribute Band. Many danced while others sat out in the grass, tapping their toes to the Beatles’ iconic hits. The concert could be heard all throughout the downtown strip, providing great background music to walk the street to while scoping out restaurants and enjoying the cool October breeze floating from the ocean.
While admission is free, donations are appreciated. More information on upcoming performances can be found here: Delray Free Friday Concerts
Parking is available throughout downtown Delray, with garage parking costing $5 for the evening. Don’t forget to bring blankets and lawn chairs, and no pets or outside food/beverage.