ACTION ALERT: 382 light poles, 21 ft tall, planned for NE Ocean Blvd on South Hutchinson Island

 

Hutchinson Island sunset (Source: Hutchinson Island Preservation Initiative)

From The Hutchinson Island Preservation Initiative (HIPI): The Martin Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has approved an overhead lighting project, described as “decorative lighting”, for south Hutchinson Island on A1A, N.E. Ocean Boulevard from south of the Jensen Beach roundabout to the Lyons Bridge (near the Hutchinson Island Marriott). This project calls for the installation of 382 light poles at a height of 21 ft. to be installed on both sides of the street in this 3 ½ mile area.

 

There are 166 utility poles existing.  With the installation of the proposed overhead lighting, there will be a total of 548 poles along N.E. Ocean Boulevard.  Lighting the entire length of N.E. Ocean Boulevard will have a deleterious effect on the residential community and existing wildlife.  This project also includes completion of a sidewalk on the west side of N.E. Ocean Boulevard for the entire 3.5 mile project length. The new light poles will be installed on the backside of the sidewalks, staggered on both sides every 45 ft. to 50 ft.

 

The MPO has stated the reason for this lighting is to light the sidewalk at night for safety based on the belief that this project is heavily supported by the Hutchinson Island community.  This project was spearheaded by a small, self-appointed group known as the Hutchinson Island Coalition.  We believe the majority of residents in our area that will be impacted are unaware of the project.

 

A1A (Ocean Blvd.) is under the jurisdiction of the state (Florida Department of Transportation, FDOT).  FDOT had performed a traffic study and determined the street lighting was not justified.  The MPO was successful in obtaining an appropriation of state transportation funds for “decorative lighting.”  The construction cost is estimated to be $7,000,000.   Martin County agreed to pay for the annual energy and maintenance cost for the 382 new lights and poles which is estimated to be a minimum of $111,000.  How many people are going to be out walking after dark until 6 a.m. to justify the cost of construction and annual energy and maintenance costs?

 

A “Natural Resource Evaluation” was conducted by FDOT which stated the approved lighting project “May Affect” the four types of nesting sea turtles on our ocean beach which is the most critical leatherback sea turtle nesting site in the U.S. The technical memorandum also stated the lighting project “May Affect” the wood stork and east indigo snake as well. For more information on this project: http://hipi.pbworks.com

CALL TO ACTION:  THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PRESERVE THE ISLAND ASAP

Permitting is scheduled to begin July 26, 2018! Permit application number ERP180509561

June 18 – 9 am Attend MPO meeting at Martin County Administration Center, 2401 S.E. Monterey Road, Stuart to express your opinion.
Letter to editor Stuart News as a Letter to the Editor at adam.neal@tcpalm.com.
Petition https://hipimay18.questionpro.com
FL Fish & Wildlife Call Lauren Jenitus, 850-922-4330
South FL Water Management Reviewer Call Jessica Huffman, 863-462-5260, extension 3018. then follow up with an email to her at jhuffman@sfwmd.gov. Refer to permit application number is ERP180509561.
S FL Water Man. Reviewer Armando Vilaboy, Regional Representative for Miami/Dade, 305-513-3420, ext. 72496. Refer to permit application ERP180509561
FL Dept of Transportation Ann Broadwell, Region 4 Environmental Administrator for FDOT, 954-777-4325

Please write to the MPO board members. Their names and e-mail addresses are listed below. Express your opinion on this project.

MPO Names and E-mail Addresses:

Troy McDonald, Chair  tmcdonald@ci.stuart.fl.us

Vinny Barile, Vice Chair  vbarile@sewallspoint.org

Edward Ciampi, Martin Co. Comm.  eciampi@martin.fl.us

Eula Clarke, City of Stuart Comm.  eclarke@ci.stuart.fl.us

Sarah Heard, Martin Co. Comm. sheard@martin.fl.us

Harold Jenkins, Martin Co. Comm. hjenkins@martin.fl.us

Doug Smith, Martin Co. Comm. dsmith@martin.fl.us

Anthony Dowling, Indiantown Rep.  adowling@indiantown.org

 

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