Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council Staff recommends denial of Extreme Sports Park

Local attorney and civic activist Virginia Sherlock writes:

The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council Staff has issued a report concluding that the Extreme Sports comp plan amendments are inconsistent with the Strategic Regional Policy Plan and should not be adopted.

If the TCRPC board accepts its staff recommendation at the June 15, 2012, board meeting, the recommendation for denial will be forwarded to Martin County and the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The TCRPC staff concluded that the Extreme Sports proposal is “not consistent with the vision described in the South Martin County Charrette Report” and that it is inconsistent with SRPP policies that promote infill and redirect future growth development patterns to towns, cities and existing urban areas.  Staff says the Extreme Sports proposal may be appropriate for an area on the edge of the urban district, but not far outside the urban boundary.

TCRPC staff recommends that the County update its planning study for the south county area to develop a vision for the area before adopting the Extreme Sports amendments.

TCRPC is a designated reviewing agency for comprehensive plan amendments.

Below are excerpts from a Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council memorandum for the June 15, 2012 meeting, a draft subject to modifications re Draft Amendments to the Martin County Comprehensive Plan Amendment No. 12-2 ESR

Extreme Sports Park

The subject lll-acre parcel is located on the north side of Bridge Road between I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike.The property currently has an Agricultural future land use map designation, and the southern l/3 ofthe subject site is included in the Expressway Oriented Transient Commercial Service Center (EOTCSC) overlay, All four corners of the intersection of  and Bridge Road are currently designated with the same future land use (Agricultural) and EOTCSC overlay. The proposed amendment would expand the EOTCSC land use overlay by around 77.1 acres to include the entire 111­acres of the subject parcel. Additionally, the proposed text amendment adds a sub-area policy to the Comprehensive Plan to allow the development of “a commercial amusement that includes a cable-driven water ski/Wake board lake, an indoor/outdoor skate park, an RV park, retail sales facility and related uses that support these activities” on the site. These additional uses would be limited specifically to the subject site per the sub-area policy restriction of the C0unty’s comprehensive plan.

The EOTCSC land use overlay is a special land use overlay developed in 1985 in advance of  to provide basic services such as food, gas and lodging to the transient public traveling on the interstate without having to impact local roads to  services. The new uses proposed in the text amendment for the property would change the nature of the services provided at the interchange from basic services for a traveling public to an attractor use that would draw the public seeking entertainment, thereby positioning the site as a destination. The new uses will increase the number of trips to the general area of the site rather than reduce trips on the local roadway network.

Within the Future of the Region (Vision) element of the SRPP, Policy l.l.2.3 requires a planning study to evaluate development proposals in the countryside. The intent of this policy is to discourage rapid or haphazard growth outside of existing urban areas by encouraging local governments to first establish a vision and area-wide plan with its citizens to define how growth and development should occur. While there are other policies in the SRPP encouraging the promotion and marketing of entertainment and sports activities to increase the Region’s tourism market, the SRPP qualifies such support based on furtherance of the SRPP’s overall goal of directing future development towards the existing pattern of towns and cities and other existing urban areas.

As illustrated in the Urban Service Districts Map, the subject property is located outside the primary and secondary urban service boundaries of Martin County. The site is approximately four miles West and one mile south of the secondary urban service district. The subject property is within the area of a planning study known as the South Martin County Charrette: A Regional Plan for Settlement, which was conducted in 1994 by Martin County and the Council. This planning study provided advisory recommendations for consideration when evaluating future development plans. The subject parcel is in an area the South Martin County Charrette identified to remain in agricultural use. The “Extreme Sports Park” proposal was not considered as part of the South Martin County Charrette. The application materials submitted with the proposed amendment indicate the proposed use is not consistent with any vision for the area described by the County. Prior to final adoption of the proposed amendment, the County should consider conducting an updated planning study for the south county area to establish and affirm the County’s future vision for this area and to ensure the proposed use is consistent with it.

Extraìurisdictional Impacts

Under the informal agreement facilitated by the TCRPC, local governments in the northern three counties of the region are to provide copies of amendment materials to other local governments that have expressed an interest in receiving such materials. On May 2l, 20l2, TCRPC requested comments from these local governments regarding any conflicts with the proposed amendments. As of the date ofthe preparation of this report, no objections to the proposed amendments have been received from other local governments.

Effects on Significant Regional Resources and Facilities

There are several roadway facilities of regional significance in the vicinity of the subject property, including I-95, SE Bridge Road (CR 708), and SW Pratt-Whitney Road (CR 7ll). According to a traffic analysis included in the amendment package provided by the County, the proposed FLUM amendment could produce a net l53 additional external daily trips. This would not create a significant traffic impact. Also, the subject property contains several cypress dome swamp wetlands, which are natural resources of regional significance. Martin County’s existing Wetland protection policies are expected to provide adequate protection of these Wetlands. The proposed site has features that buffer it from surrounding parcels. This is an advantage of siting the use at this location absent an overall plan for the area. No adverse effects on significant regional resources or facilities have been identified.

Conclusion

The FLUM and text amendments related to the Extreme Sports Park are not consistent with the vision described in the South Martin County Charrette Report. No recent area-wide plan or new study consistent with SRPP Policy l.l.2.3 has been completed by the County. Additionally, all elements of the SRPP generally promote infill and include goals, strategies, and policies to redirect development patterns to towns, cities, and existing urban areas as the Venue for future growth. While the proposed commercial amusement use is not necessarily appropriate for infill in urban areas, it is an appropriate use as a special district on the edge of an urban area, similar to an industrial or workplace district that is Well­connected to, but on the edge of, an existing town or city. For these reasons, the proposed amendments are inconsistent with the SRPP.

The County should consider conducting an updated planning study for the south county area to develop a vision for this area prior to adopting the Extreme Sports Park amendments. ln recent years the County has considered several other comprehensive plan amendments affecting land use in this general area, outside its urban service boundary. This general area was also the subject of two recent Development of Regional Impact applications, one of which has been postponed and the other has been withdrawn. This further suggests the need for such an area-wide planning study for south county. It is also noted that citizens have expressed concerns with the proposed project related to pattern of growth, urban services, natural resources and transportation systems. A new visioning process would give the County the ability to carefully consider these local concerns prior to taking final action on the proposed amendments.

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