Pineland Prairie, wetlands/shoreline LDRs on BCC agenda; and a public demonstration v glyphosate

PLEASE NOTE: Residents will be demonstrating from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. before the BOCC meeting on Tuesday, August 21st, to encourage Martin County to ban the use of Roundup and other weed-killers that contain glyphosate. Information will be distributed about the public health hazards of glyphosate, following an August 10 jury verdict ordering Mansanto (now Bayer) to pay $289 million in damages to a California school groundskeeper who developed cancer after years of using Roundup. Glyphosate feeds the cyanobacteria that is poisoning and making our waters toxic, causing serious health problems now and into the future. Please join fellow citizens outside the Martin County Administration Center, 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, on Tuesday morning to request a BOCC agenda item to adopt a resolution banning the use of Roundup or any weed killer that contains glyphosate by government, citizens, golf courses, etc., in Martin County.
From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: The Martin County Board of County Commissioners will vote on final adoption of Comprehensive Plan Amendments on Tuesday, including two amendments that establish special rules for the Pineland Prairie development in Palm City.  
Commissioners also will consider revisions to the Land Development Regulations designed to implement previous changes to the Comprehensive Plan regarding wetlands and shoreline protection rules. 
A text amendment establishing a new “Mixed Use Village” land use designation and a Future Land Use Map Amendment applying the MUV designation to the 3,411-acre Pineland Prairie property will be heard as Agenda Items PH-3 and PH-4.  
The Pineland Prairie amendments establish precedents that should be carefully considered, although the extraordinarily intense – and successful – lobbying effort of developer Knight Kiplinger makes it highly unlikely that the Doug Smith-Ed Ciampi-Harold Jenkins majority will ask any questions before approving site-specific amendments that change the rules for a particular property without regard for comprehensive planning of growth throughout the County.
The amendments effectively disregard the urban boundary without meeting existing requirements for moving the boundary.  There is no assurance that other large property owners will not seek similar special treatment, like the site-specific AgTEC amendment that was approved several years ago.  
(Owners of the Harmony Ranch property already have sued the County claiming Commissioners wrongly rejected Comp Plan amendments for Harmony when the Pineland Prairie amendments were approved.  The Harmony lawsuit is legally shaky, but the law firm that squeezed a multi-million-dollar settlement from the County out of the equally shaky Lake Point lawsuit likely plans to seek a similar payout from a Commission majority that would rather cave in to developer bullies than fight for residents and taxpayers.)
Agenda Item PH-5 is a proposed ordinance creating Article 11 of the Land Development Regulations to establish a “Planned Mixed Use Village” zoning district for the Pineland Prairie property (it’s not clear why the land use designation is MUV but the zoning district is PMUV).
The proposed ordinance is nearly 100 pages long and is extremely complex.  Despite the length and detail, the proposed ordinance is “flexible” in presenting examples and standards that are “illustrative” and may be changed at any time.  The Growth Management Director is authorized by the ordinance to waive or alter certain development standards without public hearings or notifying the public of changes that may be requested by the developer.
It remains to be seen whether the Pineland Prairie development will move forward as proposed and presented to the public or whether it will be significantly altered during the development process without public input.  
Proposals to adopt the Berry Retail Comp Plan Amendment (PH-1) changing the land use designation for 7.24 acres on SW Martin Highway from Commercial Office Residential and Rural Density to Limited Commercial and to change the zoning on the property from A-1 Small Farms and Commercial Office Residential to Limited Commercial also will be presented for BCC approval on Tuesday (PH-2).
The agenda also features a proposed ordinance revising wetlands and shoreline protection provisions in the Land Development Regulations (PH-8).  This is an extremely complex and lengthy agenda item that should be presented in segments.  A single agenda item seeking approval of numerous changes in regulations governing wetlands protection, uplands protection, excavation, filling and mining to implement changes made years ago in Chapters 8 (Coastal Management) and 9 (Conservation and Open Space Element) of the Comprehensive Plan is extremely difficult to follow.  
Staff has clearly devoted a large amount of time and effort to the preparation of the revisions.  Many of the changes were discussed in earlier BCC and LPA meetings with a variety of views offered regarding what appears to be a weakening of some protections.  
Hopefully, staff will make a detailed and thorough presentation of Agenda Item PH-8 to help citizens – and Commissioners – understand the revisions, many of which are appropriate but some of which are questionable.
Two items have been withdrawn from the agenda due to errors in notifying neighboring property owners: (1) transmittal of a Comp Plan Amendment to change the land use for Fire Station 10 in Jensen Beach from General Institutional to Limited Commercial (although the Local Planning Agency recommended a less intensive Commercial Office Residential land use designation) (PH-6) and (2) a land use change for a County-owned property within the Leilani Heights subdivision from Low Density Residential to Institutional-Recreational (PH-7).
Commissioners will be asked to approve a settlement agreement to resolve a federal lawsuit filed by a hearing-impaired citizen who cannot access materials on the County website.  Agenda Item PH-9 seeks approval of a settlement which requires the County to pay $1,000.00 to the plaintiff and $8,500.00 to his attorney and to bring the website into compliance with federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements within six months.  A vision-impaired plaintiff previously settled an ADA complaint against the County for $15,000.00 and promise that the County will update the website to allow visually impaired residents full access.
The Consent Agenda – significantly pared down from previous meetings – includes the usual contract approvals and “warrant list” from the Clerk.  Staff requests approval of contract to create a new “document management” system for $510,620.00 (CNST-1), and the Clerk reports unspecified expenditures of $6,783,140.67 in taxpayer dollars between July 21 and August 2, 2018 (CNST-2).
Consent Agenda Item CNST-9 presents a resolution encouraging the State of Florida and all local governments to “prioritize the reduction and eventual elimination of the land application of biosolids”, which are defined as “nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility…that can be recycled and applied as fertilizer.”  The resolution is related to a similar resolution that was unanimously approved by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include:
– Approval of a major final site plan for the 26-acre Kanner 5601 residential development on the east side of Kanner Highway south of Linden Street, where 65 new single-family homes are proposed (PHQJ-1).
– Approval of a new lease for the Witham Aero Club at Witham Field (DEPT-2).
– Approval of the purchase by the County of three vacant parcels in Poinciana Gardens for a public conservation area at a price of $10,000.00 (DEPT-3).
Download or view Tuesday’s agenda items at:
Click on the Agenda for the meeting date and then select items from the .pdf file for further viewing.  The Agenda is not easy to navigate.  Considerable time, patience and determination are required to display and review agenda packets.   
Attend the meeting at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Administration Center, 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart, to express your views on these or other issues or e-mail commissioners at sheard@martin.fl.usefieldin@martin.fl.ushjenkins@martin.fl.useciampi@martin.fl.us, and dsmith@martin.fl.us, with copies to the County Administrator and the County Attorney at tkryzda@martin.fl.us and swoods@martin.fl.us.

 

 

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