From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: The Martin County Board of County Commissioners will consider a baker’s dozen of proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments at Tuesday’s meeting – six County-initiated amendments for publicly owned land and seven privately initiated amendments seeking changes in Future Land Use Map designations for four parcels along SW Martin Highway in Palm City and three parcels near U.S. 1 and Cove Road and off Kanner Highway.
Amendments approved on Tuesday will be transmitted to the state for review before final adoption hearings which are scheduled for July.
The other major item on Tuesday’s agenda is a proposed revision of the County’s noise ordinance prompted by a Port Salerno restaurant that features late night-into-early morning live music that has generated complaints from nearby homeowners.
The Palm City Comp Plan Amendments are Agenda Items 6A through 6D. Three of the four proposed amendments request changes from residential to commercial land use designations in what appears to be a concerted effort to turn SW Martin Highway into a commercial strip that may ultimately be anchored by a huge Costco warehouse store and gas station development.
CPA 16-01 (Palm Bluff) seeks a change from Rural Density Residential to Limited Commercial, and CPAs 16-07 (Legg LUA) and 16-14 (Legg II) request a change from Rural Density to General Commercial. The fourth Palm City proposal, CPA 16-04 (Sunshine State Carnations) requests a change from Agricultural to Low Density Residential in the same area.
Staff reports and recommendations are difficult to comprehend. Staff initially recommended denial of the proposed amendments due to traffic issues related to SW Martin Highway, which can’t handle existing traffic and is clearly not ready for increased levels. But the applicants persuaded staff that since the County’s Capital Improvements Plan includes widening SR 714, increased traffic level of service is “planned” for the future, even though funding has not been committed or allocated to the project. This somewhat confusing explanation of how the CIP affects changes in land use designations and new development projects highlights the need for the Commission, staff, and the public to understand CIP priorities and commitments.
The three Comp Plan Amendments that affect properties near Cove Road and Kanner Highway are Agenda Items 6E through 6G. CPA 16-05 (DeMartini) and CPA 16-06 (Seacoast Bank) affect adjacent properties on U.S. 1 and Cove Road and seek to change the designation on each property from Commercial Limited to Commercial General. CPA 16-02 (Kanner 5601) requests a change from Commercial General to Low Density Residential for 21 acres off Kanner Highway between SE Pomeroy Street and SE Salerno Road.
The BCC-initiated amendments for publicly owned properties approve changes from mostly residential to recreational and conservation land use designations. Agenda Items 6H through 6M are:
CPA 16-08, Maggy’s Hammock Park, changes 22 acres on Rocky Point in Port Salerno from Estate Density Residential to Recreational.
CPA 16-09, Oxbow, changes 7.7 acres on the South Fork of the St. Lucie River north of Salerno Road from Low Density Residential and Recreational to Conservation.
CPA 16-10, Danforth, changes 24 acres southwest of SW Martin Highway and Mapp Road from Estate Density Residential to Conservation.
CPA 16-11, DOT property, changes 305 acres south of I-95 at the intersection with SW Citrus Blvd.from Agricultural Ranchette to Recreational.
CPA 16-12, Datillio, changes 57 acres south of Bridge Road in Hobe Sound from Rural Density Residential to Conservation.
CPA 16-13, Bob Graham Beach, changes 2.4 acres on North Hutchinson Island from Estate Density and Medium Density Residential to Recreational.
Agenda Item 6O is a proposed revision to the County Noise Ordinance, prompted in large part by complaints about the Twisted Tuna restaurant’s live music performances in the late night and early morning hours that can be heard in nearby residential neighborhoods. The changes are an effort by the County Attorney’s Office to ensure that the local noise ordinance can withstand constitutional muster. The existing ordinance fails to provide a definition of the “plainly audible” standard that may be used to cite an establishment for generating noise at an unacceptable level. The proposed revisions give an enforcing officer discretion to issue a citation based on either a “plainly audible” standard or a decibel level measurement. “Plainly audible” is defined in the proposed ordinance as “any sound which can be clearly heard by a code inspector using his or her normal hearing faculties” at a distance of at least 150 feet from the building or property where the sound is produced. The sound must be continuous for at least 10 minutes. It is not necessary that the officer be able to ascertain “particular words or phrases being produced or the name of any song or artist producing the sound” and “detection of a rhythmic bass reverberating type sound is sufficient to constitute a plainly audible sound.” Allowable decibel levels are established for various types of properties (residential, commercial, industrial) during nighttime (9 p.m. – 7 a.m.) and daytime (7 a.m. – 9 p.m.) hours. A section which previously allowed the BCC to revoke the occupational license of repeat violators is being deleted from the proposed revised ordinance.
In other items on Tuesday’s Agenda:
– The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will make a presentation at 10:00 a.m. on coyotes which are being found throughout the state (Item 7A).
– The County Attorney’s Office seeks direction from the Board regarding a release to be executed in connection with claims against the State of Florida regarding juvenile detention costs but, curiously, the request has been placed on the Consent Agenda (Item 4D1), making it impossible for the Board to provide direction in a public meeting.
– A request by Port Mayaca Investments for approval to complete infrastructure improvements for the recorded plat of Port Mayaca Plantation Phase I (Item 8A) has been postponed until the May 10 meeting.
Please let Commissioners know how you feel about these and other issues by attending the meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday or by e-mailing them email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com, with copies to the County Administrator and County Attorney at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.