By: Joanie Cox-Henry Contributing Writer
The Beach Property Owners’ Association, Inc., in Delray Beach has a storied history of achievements and successes, including preventing the widening of A1A from a two lane to four lane road from Boca Raton to Palm Beach. They have advocated for the continued protection of the local beach and natural dune erosion, worked with the City of Delray Beach to add more traffic signals at problematic intersections and played a key role in developing the A1A Consensus Plan, which was part of the FDOT resurfacing and addition of bike lanes project. Most recently, they were a big part of the Beach Area Master Plan, which was a top priority for the BPOA.
The non-profit organization, which started in 1967, is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of Delray east of the Intracoastal. The organization consists mostly of property owners. With no paid employees, the group completely relies on volunteers such as BPOA President Bob Victorin and trustee Andy Katz to help get the job done.
“We are very dedicated to improving the quality of life in all barrier islands neighborhoods, protecting property values, maintaing close ties with residents to understand their needs and fostering an ongoing dialogue with the City of Delray Beach,” Victorin said. “We stay informed on city affairs including planning and zoning changes and represent the BPOA in front of government agencies.”
While the BPOA currently has more than 600 dues paid households and condo associations and there are more than a thousand people involved with the organization, the BPOA is still actively seeking new members. In fact, the BPOA, recently put an aggressive mailing campaign in place to get more residents to join the BPOA.
“The more members we have the more we can do to protect residents,” Victorin said.
Working for more than five decades to serve the Delray community, one of the BPOA’s first tasks was tackling a proposal made in the mid-60’s to put a convenience store on Ocean Boulevard just north of Linton.
“The community got together and fought it,” Katz said. “In retrospect, if this had been built, it would’ve changed the whole neighborhood, since it’s a very residential area. We are still very involved in the topic ‘What keeps a neighborhood a good place to live’ and this is important not only for our residents, but visitors too.”
Environmental concerns are also constantly at the forefront of the BPOA’s discussions.
“We’re very involved in beach re-nourishment and dune maintenance,” Katz said. “And we also talk a lot about sustainability and rising waters as well as flood prevention and building standards. People are much more aware now of how dunes protect us during storm surges. As an organization, we have learned how rising sea levels are affecting us.”
One of the BPOA’s projects Katz remains most proud of is the Beach Area Master Plan and working with residents and businesses to switch over to turtle-friendly lighting. The BPOA secured a grant for two gazebo replacements and raised $100,000 to help with Beach Promenade renovations.
“We want our residents to take an environmentally sound approach, Fifty years ago, people didn’t really understand the vitalness of plans for sustainability. You have to worry about the future,” Katz said. “We also try to work with the city closely to keep our residents informed of important issues.”
As growing the BPOA continues to be a priority for Victorin and Katz, preserving Delray Beach for future residents is also at the forefront of that plan.
“In 30 years, Bob and I won’t be here, but other generations will and that’s important to us” Katz said. “Delray Beach is one one of the few areas where the downtown restaurants go right up to the beach. We’re a very unique city and we want to maintain that.”
Dues to join the BPOA cost $25 annually. To become a member of the BPOA or learn more about it, visit bpoa-drb.com