Final zoning changes due for Houston’s

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By Dale King  The Pineapple Contributing Writer The Boca Raton City Council should make the final zoning ordinance changes this month needed to bring about the construction of a Houston’s Restaurant on the site of the former Wildflower nightclub on East Palmetto Park Road at the Intracoastal Waterway. Ordinances are expected to be acted upon during the Sept. 22 council meeting, held at 10 a.m. in City Hall rather than the usual 6 p.m. meeting time. The zoning changes may be presented at the Sept. 9 meeting, but no action will be taken. Boca Raton spent $7.5 million in December 2009 to purchase the former Wildflower land, located at 551 East Palmetto Park Road. “The goal of the purchase was to create an income generating property as an eastern anchor to draw people to and through downtown and initiate activity on the waterfront,” according to a document on the city website. In September 2013, the city issued a request for proposals and the Hillstone Restaurant Group was the only firm to respond. In 2014, the council directed City Manager Leif Ahnell to develop a lease with the company, which owns Houston’s. “The creation of a lease is currently in progress.” The site plan calls for a one-story, 7,160-square-foot restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, an outside bar and 131 parking spaces. No valet service has been proposed. The plan does not include dockage, as the city initially planned. But it does include a pedestrian walkway through the site and along the water that will include benches and bike racks. The entrance and exit will be on Fifth Avenue at the northwest corner of the site. Residents can attend the meeting in person or tune in to Comcast channel 20 within the city limits and AT&T U-verse channel 99 throughout Palm Beach County. The session also will be streamed live at Boca TV and on the city’s website. The city’s radio station, 1650 AM WPQJ, also will broadcast the meetings. Archived meetings are available on the city’s website at www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us.