Exclusive to MCTimes: memo by Nat Reed re column on South County development

Longtime Jupiter Island resident Nathaniel Reed, former Assistant Secretary of the US Department of the Interior, currently serves as Vice-chairman of the Everglades Foundation. He is also Chairman of the Commission on Florida’s Environmental Future, Chairman Emeritus of 1000 Friends of Florida, and an honorary board member of The Martin County Consensus, Inc., sponsor of  this online publication, The Martin County Times.

Mr. Reed has given his permission to the Martin County Times to share his recent correspondence to Stuart News columnist Rich Campbell. Campbell recently published a column about South County developer Tom Kenny (to link to that column, please see “Stuart News columnist’s comments prompt a developer’s tirade” – September 14, Martin County Times.)

Following are some remarks from Mr. Reed’s memo:

Date:                September 14, 2011

To:                   Rich Campbell

…I am in daily contact with many environmental issues and spend anywhere from 4 to 8 hours daily on issues that fascinate me coast to coast.

 …I have not always agreed with you, but I have always saluted you for taking a position that you feel strongly about, have researched and are ready and willing to defend.

 … [regarding developer Tom Kenny] I wish he had the nerve to address who was paying for the advertisements in his first paragraph.

Rich, with the Department of Community Affairs shut down, with the water management districts weakened and the Department of Environmental Regulation under strict orders from the governor’s staff not to blow any “whistles” on obvious polluters, the developers have their dreams come true.

 All across the state proposals like Harmony, Hobe Groves and Canopus are being presented to county commissioners at a time when everyone is deeply concerned about the depth of the recession. To workers who have no jobs, it’s a depression.

The crisis was built on speculation and the collapse has been not unexpected.  New growth cannot occur until the nation’s economy dramatically improves and owners of homes in the north are able to sell them and retire to Florida.

What is going on now is “fakery”: promises of hundreds of new homes, schools and universities, technology centers, industrial parks: name it and they are being proposed all over the state.

With no state oversight, the number of payoffs to county commissioners for development permits will dramatically increase.

The developers are well aware that there is no possibility of selling out their proposed projects at this time.  They want the county commissions’ permits which they will bank and either develop or sell to another entity when “recovery” is a fact.  They know that their projects are not saleable at this time, but if they can gain approval, then a future commission that wants to modify the permitted plan will face the charge of “taking”.

…Congratulations to you for calling a spade a spade.

 Nathaniel Reed



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1 comment to Exclusive to MCTimes: memo by Nat Reed re column on South County development

  • ValerieJones

    All anyone must do to prove this scenario is to look at property valuations: Purely as an example,agricultural land valued at $2,000 an acre magically multiplies by 10 if it’s changed to 5-acre ag, and multiplies by 100 if it’s changed to 1/2 acre residential density, even more if it’s commercial or industrial. So once the zoning is in place, who cares if it’s developed? The owner has already made his money just by jumping through a few county bureaucratic hoops!