Tom Campenni

Friends & Neighbors is designed to give you the information that is happening within our County. My goal is to inspire you to get involved and make a change to make Martin County the best it can be. There is lot’s to do! – Tom

News And Views

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1

IN THIS EDITION OF THE NEWSLETTER

 

Over the years, the newsletter has become a much-improved product from its beginnings when it was designed as a way for me to speak to constituents when I was a city commissioner.

 

Of course, I am prejudiced, but there is nothing else in Martin County that presents as complete a picture of how government affects our everyday lives. And it is all free to the reader!

 

Could it be better? Of course, it could. That is why we are adding contributors in this section of the newsletter to provide different viewpoints. I intend to add other voices in the months to come to encompass more and more opinions and interests.

 

The newsletter could also be better formatted and displayed…all it takes is money. But I am already committed to not putting in place a paywall to read our content.

 

Occasionally, I receive an e-mail that suggests that I do this or that to improve the formatting. Most of the suggestions are valid ones that would enhance the appearance of the product. Unfortunately, it all comes down to money. I intend to continue to publish this self-funded newsletter making improvements when I can.

 

I need you to excuse our imperfect formatting and concentrate on our content. You will not find it anywhere else but right here in Friends & Neighbors.

 

2

 

WHEN IS IT THE RIGHT TIME?

 

I have a theory about how an individual’s life is determined.

SOCRATES

Being born on “third base” as the saying goes is a major determining factor in the course a life will likely take. Therefore, the first opportunity we all have is the societal dynamic and fortune of the family we are born into.

 

Throughout our lifetimes, we are presented with maybe a dozen potential choices that can dramatically alter our futures. Most of those potential choices and decisions seem relatively uneventful at the time they occur. For example, 50 years ago while still in college, my mother-in-law arranged a job for me in the real estate management office where she worked.

 

I was a lowly clerk balancing check books and entering rent payments into ledger books. Within a year, I was promoted to being a building agent. The owner of the company took me under his wing and within several years I became a partner. I never again looked for a job.

 

That was one of those seminal moments that changed my life and ultimately the lives of my family. It wasn’t a Eureka moment, but it turned out to be a pivotal one. Another time, I was given an opportunity that I turned down which would have equally changed my life if I had recognized it as such.

 

Organizations, cities, and nations have crossroads too. In those cases, there may be a recognition of the opportunity and a conscious decision to not accept.

 

In every life and organization, the path chosen may seem to be the wrong one at times. Should we stay the course or abandon the supposed opportunity? Leaving prematurely may have costs.

 

You will never know the opportunities you passed up by saying no. That is unless someone like a young Jeff Bezos asks you to work at his new book business for a piece of the pie and you declined.    

 

3

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

 

At the last Stuart commission meeting, Commissioner Matheson brought up the railroad bridge and the possibility of a train station.

Rail Bridge Pinterest

Right now, both those things are in limbo. Construction of a station for a passenger train between Miami and Orlando may never happen because it looks like Bright Line may be turning into a commuter railroad for Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Perhaps at some point their original vision of Miami to Disney may be resurrected and Martin County could have an opportunity for the station.

 

What is not being placed on hold is the rail freight improvements. The double tracking continues without pause. The one thing that could “derail” the smooth operation of freight and cause serious problems to Stuart and all of Martin County is the existing bridge over the St. Lucie.

 

A couple of years ago Martin County, Stuart and Bright Line spoke about the county being the sponsor of a federal grant to replace the existing bridge with a bascule bridge. That new bridge would be kept at a much greater height when not in use. It would solve the problem of reliability and boat traffic. All the money would come from the train company and the Federal Rail Administration (FRA). I was told that the only piece missing was the enthusiastic support of our local congressman.

 

Now the federal government is poised to fund large infrastructure projects. Rail is favored in the Biden administration. A new bridge would be something that could bring Martin County the opportunity not to have our marine industries suffer. Our boaters would have reliable and easy access from western Martin County to the inlet. The City of Stuart would be assured that the possibility of a train being stuck on the tracks would be greatly reduced. That would prevent the entire city and county from suffering if the existing bridge can’t be opened or closed.

 

This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is basic stuff. The kind of thing America could always get done no matter which party was in control. There is going to be money put aside and spent by the feds for these type projects. Shouldn’t we go after the funds for this project with the avid support of our senators and congressman?

 

4

 

INTERESTING

 

When I opened my email last Monday morning, I noticed a posting on Next Door from Angela Costello telling people to sign a petition to stop Costco.

The funny thing was that nearly all of the more than 80 replies were in favor of the development located on Kanner Highway. I was glad to see that no one answering was nasty. Those postings were in favor of the retailer moving forward. They were not buying into the usual negativity regarding anything new in the county and city.

 

Since almost everyone was in favor, the anti-Costco Costello apparently closed the ability for any more people to comment. I guess that is one way to slow the momentum in favor. Without doubt, Stuart and Martin County residents want this project to move forward.

 

While driving on Monterey and Kanner one afternoon my wife noticed four people standing on the corner waiving anti-Costco signs. I wonder if it was Linda K. Richards and other family members, the disgruntled family that sold the land years ago and now wants to dictate the use? Is this what this fight has come down to being?

 

I understand Ms. Richards has posted on Facebook that it was not her family who originally owned the land. Let me see if I have this right. Her grandfather who owned the land bordering Monterey, Kanner, Willoughby and Indian gave most of that property to his son, Richards’ uncle. Her mother was given the Lychee Farm property. Over the years, Uncle then proceeded to sell all the property including a portion that is now the site of this project.

 

It seems to me being someone’s uncle and granddad qualifies as family in connection with the property. The argument is all immaterial since Richards, her grandad, uncle, mother, or children no longer have an interest in the property and therefore no claim over what its use is today.

 

Ms. Costello asks that you go to this webpage (wecaremartin.com) and sign a petition to stop Costco. When I went to the website to find out who is behind the effort, there is not a person’s name mentioned anywhere. And that includes the “about us” tab. All that it states is “We are the voting population of Martin County.”

 

It appears this is about one family and a few fellow NIMBY members trying to stop this from happening. No matter what project might be proposed, these people would be against it. Forget about the jobs, housing, convenience, and a dozen more positives. It doesn’t matter to the NIMBY adherents.

Ms. Costello, who lives in Whitemarsh Reserve on Kanner Highway, moved into a place that broke ground in 2006. I do not know whether it was a farm, ranch, or pristine property before someone sold it to a developer to build her home. I would argue that development could be considered sprawl. Yet it is home to 186 families.

 

Once Ms. Costello bought, her attitude was time to put up the moat in Martin County. That is often the mind set of people who also bemoan the lack of jobs and housing for working people. They should go anywhere except “Not In My Back Yard!”  

 

5

 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BOARD BENT

By Joan Goodrich

CEO BDBMC

Please indulge this slightly unusual—but highly appetizing—analogy: Imagine the local private-sector economy as a big pot of Sunday spaghetti sauce.   

 

The core industries—marine, aviation, healthcare, energy, and power generation—make up the base, rivaling the tomatoes (paste as well as crushed, pureed, or fresh), olive oil, ground beef and maybe sausage, too. Without them, no economy, no sauce.

 

But the base alone will not provide the right taste until you add garlic, onion, salt, black pepper, basil, maybe a few fennel seeds, and some say a little sugar. These seasonings compare to the vitality of the entrepreneurial spirit—evident in both small businesses and large—that infuses a healthy, vibrant economy.

 

Now, the Business Development Board of Martin County (BDBMC) will soon start showcasing what we’re calling our economy’s “Hubs of Excellence,” our legacy marine industry, aerospace and aviation industry, world-class healthcare industry, agribusiness, technology, and existing and expanding clean energy and green jobs market. You’ll read about it in this newsletter in the months to come. But we’re also focused on strengthening and stimulating our exciting entrepreneur economy through key programs:

 

1:1 Visits: Meetings with business owners to ascertain their concerns, offer resources and referrals, and advocate and pursue solutions to reoccurring challenges (the latest being the need to fill the talent pipeline).

 

Side Hustle to Main Gig: Currently in its inaugural session, this partnership with Martin County, City of Stuart, NAACP of Martin County, IRSC and SBDC, equips earlier-stage entrepreneurs with the tips, tools and techniques needed to launch their small-business dreams. Only six weeks long, courses include Lean Biz Planning, Magnetic Marketing, Side Hustle Financial Basics, and more.

 

Business Accelerator Program (BAP): This partnership with Indian River State College and its Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers an 11-week session featuring experts on digital and social-media marketing, finance, time management, public speaking, even “Dealing with Difficult People.”

 

The content resonates with business owners at any stage.

 

“As a young person who’s becoming an entrepreneur, BAP really gave me confidence and made me feel prepared to take on this challenge,” says Hillary Hassell of Hassell Free Tile & Window of the Treasure Coast.

 

“I had already been in business for over six years, however, I feel that there is always something new to learn,” says Candace Lopes, president of Skin Serenity Spa. “It was worth the time I put into the program.”

 

BAP even allows participants to compete for grants. Since 2015, the program has graduated 130 people and awarded more than $70,000 in small-business grants.

 

We only charge $25 for either class, as we don’t want cost to inhibit the growth of Martin County’s next great entrepreneur. The knowledge and discipline gained through BAP or Side Hustle could unlock not only their potential, but further enhance the flavor that makes our economic sauce so special.

 

For more, please visit BDBMC.org and sign up for our United Economic Leadership emails.   

 

6

 

PINE’S PONDERING

By Tom Pine

 

My article last week highlighted a man struggling to make a comeback after being laid off from working in the restaurant industry for many years. He bought a small hot dog cart and started moving forward. He’s located at 2520 NE Dixie Highway in Jensen Beach.       

One of the largest obstacles he faces on a regular basis is Code Enforcement.  No, he has all his permits, that’s not the problem. He puts out a sign 18” X 24”, the typical size of the political signs we see during election season. He puts it out when he opens and takes it down when he closes. That’s a violation of one of the thousands and thousands of rules and regulations in Martin County.       

It wouldn’t bother me if everyone had to play by the same rules but that’s not the case. We live in Martin County and many of the rules and regulations don’t apply to everybody. There is another sign about 100 feet south from his hot dog cart but there’s no one there for Code Enforcement to complain to so it’s ok.

 

About a half mile south on Dixie Highway just past the arch there’s another food concession in a small travel trailer, she’s there in the mornings. She has a sign alongside the roadway that reads “coffee”, I don’t believe it’s ever moved.

 

There’s one big difference though, a few weeks ago I saw a photo of her little pink travel trailer in the newsletter I get from the county called The Martin County Connection, it pays to know people in our local government.       

The gentleman that owns the hot dog cart is just your average guy trying to make ends meet. He doesn’t know anyone in our local government, so every single rule and regulation applies to him. Which is sad but true.         

Once again Code Enforcement picking winners and losers, is unacceptable!         

The County Commission meeting of May 11, 2021 in the consent agenda there were $ 16,545,363.45 that was paid out between April 10,2021 and April 23, 2021 without identifying the purpose or the payment or the payee.

This is unacceptable also. What is our local government hiding from us?           

Truth to power

Tom Pine’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

7

 

SYRKUS THOUGHTS

By Michael Syrkus

 

Martin County government, which of course is taxpayer supported, has ventured fearlessly into the realm of advocacy.

 

Regarding the development of the new LOSOM (Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manuel), Martin County has developed a subsection on their official county site. The new subsection, “Speak up for the Saint Lucie”, is designed to offer bullet points of information regarding why discharges to the St. Lucie are harmful. It offers a link to email the Army Corps of Engineers to submit a public comment. Sounds like a good plan, right? In theory, yes. Who doesn’t like a government that opens lines of communication between municipal, county, state and federal?

 

Here’s the rub! When you click the link to send a public comment to ACOE (Army Corps of Engineers), the county auto populates your message for you! This is a common tactic for PRIVATE groups to employ. Those organizations are funded by DONATION. They want their messages to be uniform. I have never seen this from a Taxpayer funded organization.

 

To add insult to injury, the auto populated bullet points very clearly push one perspective. It is the health and safety of those along the Saint Lucie are paramount to everyone else. The auto populated message takes no account for the safety of residents in western Martin County who rely on discharges to ensure the lake stays at a reasonable height for flood prevention purposes. The county also makes no statements about how to avoid discharges, just the old fashioned not in my back yard perspective.

 

Imagine being a taxpayer in western Martin County, and seeing your dollars used to advocate for an action that threatens your life and livelihood while prioritizing the fiscal and recreational desires of those to the east. After all, the health and safety of those in Port Mayaca are not of any concern when Algal Bloom waters are retained in their community.

 

Above all else. When did we relinquish our voice to our government? The idea that a public group would auto populate an email, for public comment, under YOUR NAME is not only immoral, but I question its legality. We’re better than this.

Michael Syrkus’ opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

8

HERBIE’S HOBE SOUND

By Herbert Howard

 

I went for another walk yesterday morning.  This time in my neighborhood.  It’s a great neighborhood for walking. 

 

It’s an older neighborhood so all the homes are different which, in my opinion, makes for a more interesting setting.  It is definitely an eclectic neighborhood.  By that I mean some people mow their lawns and some don’t. 

 

I do know that one friend who doesn’t mow is a strict naturalist.  He feels that nature rules and should, and that grass is not indigenous to Florida. Sand is the prevalent material that comprises his yard.  The yard next to him should be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens.  

 

Then I pass by the neon green house which is NOT my favorite color by any means, and I wonder if it turned out the way they imagined.  However, in another section a homeowner painted their home neon orange!  And believe it or not, it’s gorgeous.  Must be a decorator living there as only a pro could pull that off. 

 

An older home has a neglected yard and a very old car that looks like it hasn’t been moved in years.  I wonder if elderly people live there, and they just can’t keep up anymore.  I wish neighbors still reached out to help the way they used to. 

 

There are some old boats in some driveways.  I remember having a boat.  Some really good times and a lot of work.  It’s hard to sell those memories.  There are some hand-crafted lawn decorations in the next yard.  Must be an artist living there also. 

Speaking of which, you should see the beautiful mural someone painted on their house.  Really cool! Another neighbor has some hurricane shutters still up from…?  I think there are probably older folks living there.  I ponder if they may be too feeble to take them down and too poor to hire someone else to do it.  It does get expensive to hire someone …up and down…up and down. 

 

Ah, the spring flowers have blossomed, and I walk by where the now deceased woman who used to have the most beautiful garden lived.  The new homeowners must not be gardeners because they’ve planted grass where her garden used to be.  My loss. 

 

A diesel truck goes by a little too fast.  Must be a contractor of some sort hurrying to his next job.  Yes, my neighborhood is eclectic and a little messy.  But as I walk it, I am reminded of freedom.  Because freedom is not seen the same by all and it can certainly be a little bit messy.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Herbert Howard’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

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9

MCCHRYSTAL’ MEANDERINGS

By Frank McChrystal

 

It’s looking like the public schools will be getting back to their pre pandemic normalcy in the fall.  Hopefully, they will use this “fresh start” opportunity to return to the traditional classroom setting, which promotes individual learning instead of the progressive “group learning” desk arrangement.

 

Let’s pursue greatness here in Martin County by recognizing that competition is the truest form of cooperative learning. Competition among individuals promotes high achievement for all. Think of two bulls in a field, butting heads all day.  Both bulls benefit, but the smaller weaker bull gains the most by competing against the bigger and stronger one. 

 

Only when students compete individually do they cooperate.  Their duty is to produce their best individually and create the competitive environment necessary for everyone to discover the heights they can achieve.  Like bulls in the field, all grow stronger and participate in the development of others. Encouraging competition and rugged individualism is no sin.  In fact, it is a huge part of the DNA that has made us the greatest nation in the history of God’s planet.

 

Opposite thinking shows itself in the form of the politically correct, progressive “cooperative learning” where students are judged as a group instead of individual achievement. This “progressive” thinking has its roots in the 1960s and 1970s, promoted by old hippies who view western achievement as the source of all the third world problems.  I’ll quote Jordan Peterson, “To understand and oppose the postmodern progressives who now run our public education system, the ideas by which they orient themselves must be identified.  Equity is no longer the equality of opportunity, but the insistence upon the equality of outcome. Inclusion is the use of identity-based quotas to obtain this misconceived state of equity.  These cultural Marxists reject the value of the individual.  Your only value is being part of a group and that is un-American”.  

 

Let’s foster greatness here in Martin County by neutering the progressive “cooperative learning” into occasional dessert status instead of the steady main course.  The traditional classroom, where individualism is promoted, is where all students learn their personal strengths and weaknesses and ultimately, the self-knowledge to guide them in their lives.  A steady diet of group effort during the formative years robs the student of any chance to figure out their self-identity.  And that is never good.  Again, individual competition is the truest form of cooperation and the traditional classroom is where that takes place.

 

 Imagine our superior young adults being prepared to excel with the critical thinking skills they learned and earned while competing and cooperating as individuals. They will leave their politically correct, progressively educated contemporaries in a trail of dust.

 

  And no, not everyone gets a trophy.

 

Frank McChrystal’s opinions are his own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

10

 

JURGENS JOURNAL

By Kallie Jurgens

Living in Martin County affords residents a variety of recreational pursuits— trail walking at Halpatiokee Park, biking on Green River Parkway, or playing tennis at Langford Park. The most used amenity are beautiful beaches spanning 22 miles of shoreline. The beaches draw people here and the county spends much time and money to maintain them.

 

We need a strong beach dune system because the dunes’ job is to protect. Often rising several feet above the beach, dunes keep seasonal high tides, storm surges, and rising sea levels from inundating roads and buildings behind them.

 

I turned to my friend Pat Noonan, a stalwart champion of beach nourishment, to explain dune importance. “Beaches all over the world are renourished regularly.

 

A case in point is Miami Beach.  In the 1970s, Miami Beach was a seedy has-been, its glory days washed away with its beach, which had eroded right up to the seawalls in front of the faded hotels. The city rebuilt the beach and since then has maintained a wide healthy beach, changing its future,” she explained.

She explained the county has renourished its beaches as needed over the years—from the four-mile stretch from the St. Lucie County line to Stuart Beach, to the regular sand placement on the Town of Jupiter Island’s beach to the south. “State and federal funds help pay for it. Our beaches generate revenue for the local economy, and they protect our infrastructure against the onslaughts of waves and weather,” she said.

 

She said the county keeps small but treasured Bathtub Reef Beach as usable as possible, despite its dynamic shoreline formation with unique and vulnerable living worm reef. A partnership with Sailfish Point equally shares the cost after government funding of maintaining it and the northern piece of Sailfish Point’s beach through periodic dredging of the St. Lucie Inlet.

 

The reason for the dredging, says Pat, is sand from our beaches naturally migrates mostly north to south and is pulled into the inlet, filling its navigation channels disrupting passage of commercial, sport and recreational boaters and damaging expensive propellers at low tide. 

 

The dredging puts some sand back onto the eroded beaches north of the inlet while continuing most of it along its way south. The dredged sand also rebuilds strong, high dunes that protect the roads and homes of Martin County.

 

So, when residents see a sign on MacArthur Blvd saying Bathtub Beach is closed, they can now understand how important it is to continually repair what nature has wrought.

 

Kallie Jurgens opinions are her own and may not reflect Friends & Neighbors viewpoint.

 

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Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Letters-To-Tom
I urge those who are reading this newsletter to send an email expressing their opinions on subjects. When a reader sends one, it will be included if I find it relevant and I have adequate space. I may edit the letter because of length and clarity. You don’t have to agree with me to have your letter in Friends & Neighbors. All you must do is send it to Info@friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com or fill out the form on the website.
 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE

 

Our first letter is from Chris Englund:

 

Rights come with responsibilities.  The Second Amendment begins “A well regulated militia being necessary …” The Founders put the most important part first. The vote is the ultimate act of political non-violence.  

The next one is from Jim Matthews:

 

WHEN we consider herd immunity we need to understand our 2 decades long
research of Corona viruses report 60% are naturally T-cell immune.

SO, to get to 80% we can just vaccinate Covid as we do with ‘FLU’ =
about 130 to 160 million doses a year for past decade keeps us from
repeating the H1N1 / Swine / ‘Spanish’ FLU that killed from 100 to 200
million of the planet’s then 2 billion folks … BEFORE our amazing
medical technology over the past century wiped out most historical
diseases.  [[My great grandfather died in that 1918 Pandemic & his
spouse died the following year = hence we still do not understand
dropping one “L” in the family name compared to what someone put on his
headstone back in Missouri…]]

We also have to keep in mind Covid strikes down the very imperiled
ancients ..that are going to continue being diagnosed “with Covid” as
94% die generally from their other comorbidities that no vaccine has
ever been able to stop.

Increasing on an annual basis just 10% over our normal 3 million deaths
is a serious concern… some argue it doesn’t rise to any ‘pandemic’
that should shutter our Capitalist Democracy.  Indeed the ‘govt
solution’ of welfaring another $7 Trillion of future debt whilst
printing another $7 Trillion ‘fed pumping’ might be more damaging than
COVID !!  I still ask the simple… did any of the 63 million Seniors in
harm’s way miss a single SS or pension check?  At least we got to
discuss WHY are we taxing that SS or pension or 401(k) = shouldn’t they
all be Super Roth??

Thanks for providing an actual journalist platform in our community Tom!!

The next letter is from Robin A. Cartwright disagreeing with me on Costco:

 

I normally appreciate reading your newsletter. However, I feel compelled to respond as I need to express my concern about your slant regarding who is fighting the Costco CPUD. I, along with others, have been at almost every LPA meeting and every City Commission meeting. If you don’t know who I am, I am the individual that the city staff has mocked for bringing snacks to the meetings. You probably don’t see as many emails from people opposed to the developments, especially Costco’s development, because every time we’ve spoken, emailed, interjected, or filed to be an intervenor, we’ve been humored and placated but never taken seriously. 

 

Just because the family that is associated with nursery is the most vocal does not mean that they are the only ones fighting the Costco development. I realize that you are a developer and your interest as developer is not necessarily to maintain the integrity and quality of life here in Stuart in Martin County. But it would be nice if and when you decide to write something you at least refrain from an opinion and do your due diligence. 

 

Perhaps you should be writing about the inadequacy of the notifications of the ridiculous 300 feet requirement to neighbors. Perhaps you should be writing about how this project has been pulled at least twice because the developer knew it would not pass individually as a commercial property and a separate residential property. Perhaps you should write about how there was no residential property until it was recommended by the city staff to pair it together so that density could be pro-rated across all of the acreage instead of the actual residential side. Perhaps you should use your platform to share information and educate people and not just share an opinion. 

 

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE www.friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com

A compliment from Robert Weissman:

 

Hey Tom

 

Really informative and well done.  You have brought this “publication” a long way since the beginning…Bob

Another on Costco from Mary Alice Rowly:

 

I take issue with your contention that “One Family Seems to be Fighting Costco”. It is NOT just one family! All of those who live along Kanner Highway will be negatively affected by this development. I urge you to drive along Kanner any day between 3:09-5:30 pm & see what the traffic looks like, & then change your stance on this overdevelopment. 
Thank you. 

 

My answer:

 

I drive along Kanner multiple times a day. 

 

Everything is perception. When you can easily drive 10 or 20 miles over the speed limit, as many drivers do, then you do not have a traffic problem. It is a 6-lane highway that was built for three times the traffic flow. 

It is not a country road but a major thoroughfare with two bridges (three if you count the Roosevelt Bridge on US 1 which is part of the corridor).

 

As to one family…when you have multiple speakers that are related then that would be the conclusion I would draw. And while you may live on Kanner, you do not live within the City of Stuart. The county just approved several hundred homes on Kanner. Sprawl over hundreds of acres. No complaint?

 

If we are going to have open spaces, you need to develop infill parcels within the cities and CRAs, otherwise you will look like down south or St. Lucie where thousands of homes are approved and being built.  

 

And her response:

 

The residents who live in my development & have a hard time getting out of our entrance onto Kanner would disagree with your statement that there is not a traffic problem. Even though my home is in unincorporated Martin County, this over development that the Stuart commissioners are approving does affect me. Yes, we did complain about the county approved developments & were ignored. At least you & I can agree on your last statement that without proper development Stuart & Martin County will look just like the overcrowded counties to our south as well as St Lucie. 

The next letter is from Sandy with a question:

 

You are doing good job. Hope you help Costco get in. Long drive to WPB to Costco and we help that county not ours.

Do you know any details of the new homes going in on Jack St and Salerno Rd?

 

My answer:

 

There are 13 homes being built as of right. No special anything needed.

IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER DO SO FOR FREE HERE www.friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com

And from Tony Lagana regarding Sewall’s Point’s tree ordinance:

 

No one likes to see trees cut down. We all recognize the value of trees to our environment. But do we need untrained government bureaucrats dictating what we do on our own private property? What the tree ordinance in Sewall’s Point does is provides a platform for power intoxicated officials to intimidate citizens as has happened recently in a spate of prosecutions of citizens. Does the tree ordinance assume that a citizen will not make their property as desirable as possible? Shouldn’t the staff at Town Hall be as knowledgeable about the laws that govern us instead of taking an Us vs. Them attitude in order to cover their own ignorance?  Instead of assisting a citizen achieve the maximum beauty of a property by education or direction to the myriad of resources available, the staff and by extension the Town Commission uses its power to prosecute and asses the maximum fines it can get. Where does this money go?  Does it go into a fund used to add beauty to the Town, or does it go into the general fund and used to enhance the town staff? Speed traps have been outlawed; a community or town cannot rely on revenue generated by traffic fines. Has the governing body of Sewall’s Point come up with its own method of filling the coffers of the admittedly strapped community?

A citizen of Sewall’s Point becomes the inheritor of the taste in trees and vegetation of the previous owner of a property. Shouldn’t the new owner of a property be free to exercise their own vision of what their property should be?

Doesn’t it make more sense to work with citizens regarding landscaping instead of using the current ordinances as a platform to intimidate?

Sewall’s Point has a designation of Tree City If one visits the Arbor Day website, one finds that the Tree City designation only addresses public properties.

 

 

Has the current tree ordinance been reviewed since its inception? Shouldn’t the ordinance be more about beautifying a property and less about giving politicians more control and hitting citizens over the head with fines?  Isn’t it time to re-visit the tree ordinance?

And lastly from Gregory Kohs regarding the newsletter:

 

I truly appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into building a regularly-published newsletter like the Friends & Neighbors of Martin County.  I enjoy trying to read some of the articles posted on the website.  I say “trying”, because I find it extremely difficult to read through more than about three screens of content, because it is laid out in such a way that fosters distraction.  Is there any way to modernize the layout and maybe get a web design specialist to recommend a new content platform?  

 

There are frequent color changes in the text, like a string of Christmas tree lights.  The photo illustrations can appear virtually anywhere within the margins, and they rarely have captions to tell me who or what I am looking at.  The line spacing within (and between) the many, many paragraphs produces huge visual gaps that disconnect me mentally from the train of thought.  Lastly, with the intermingling of guest writers, it’s sometimes a challenge to know what sections have been written by guests, which have been from Tom’s pen, and which are perhaps submitted by anonymous contributors.  You’ll note that I’ve written this as two moderately-sized paragraphs, but I have every confidence my letter will be broken up into at least six paragraphs once it is published.

 

And my answer:

 

Many of your suggestions are valid. 

 

If you are reading it on your computer, it should appear as I wrote it. If you are accessing from your phone or even i-pad it would depend on your settings as to the number of paragraphs. It is a Word Press platform that is created exactly for this use.

 

The different colors for different sections were to allow the reader to scrawl through those that he was not interested in reading. We are playing around with alternatives at present behind the scenes. Everything that is written by a contributor is clearly marked with their ‘byline” and all the rest is me. 

 

Photos are embedded center, right or left within the piece. 

 

Your letter prompted me to write an editorial in the first section of this week’s newsletter.

 

Thanks.

 

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MartinCounty Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Commission

COMMISSION MEETING MAY 11, 2021:

 

After Commissioner Jenkins asked the question regarding ending mandatory wearing of masks, Administrator Kryzda provided the answer.

 

The policy of mandatory mask wearing will end in county buildings on June 1st. She said that will give everyone regardless of age the opportunity to be vaccinated and have the additional two weeks for the full immunity needed. This deadline will also apply to the Emergency Family Leave that was extended to this date.

 

THE SHERIFF & MENTAL HEALTH

 

Sheriff Snyder gave a presentation on what his department has seen regarding the mental health of our citizens.

There have been 2,358 calls regarding a person with mental problems from January 2019 to April 30, 2021. In 2019 there were 776 people that were involuntarily placed in custody using the Baker Act. During 2020, 711 people were. Deputies responded to 186 overdoses in 2019 and 224 in 2020. There were 8 suicides in 2019 and 18 in 2020. Those are staggering statistics for a county our size.

 

Within the jail complex, there has been a 21.8% increase in mental health incidents year over year. In 2020 there were 964 as compared to 1174 this year. There is a 67% increase in psychotropic medication prescribed over the same period for inmates. This statistic is for inmates with new prescriptions not those that were already on medication before they entered the system.

 

This is not something unique to Martin County. We see this throughout the nation. The U.S. has relegated the mentally ill to the penal system for care. This has placed our law enforcement in the precarious position of dealing with a population, but they have had little training in this area. We continue to see the results of this societal failure in police shootings and civilian deaths.

 

Sheriff Snyder is searching for answers. He has instituted crisis intervention training and case management. There is a full-time mental health councilor on staff. He is formulating an alternative response unit.

 

It has been found that people in uniforms with all their equipment could add to the stress of a mentally ill person. At the same time, even if a trained civilian responds to a call, the mental health professional would still need law enforcement to be with them. After 40 years of closing institutions, we know that leaving the mentally ill and their families to deal with this illness on their own has not worked.

 

I would imagine that MCSO’s solution is to spend law enforcement dollars on something that the health care system should be doing. A police officer or deputy is an expensive and not remarkably successful resource for doing so. We need to let law enforcement deal with crime and not turn illness into criminal behavior.

 

CRA CLASSIFICATION

 

A few months ago, the CRA and Growth Management departments brought an amendment allowing that in the zoning classification of Marine Waterfront Commercial, there should be a way to have residential development and public access. Both does not seem hard to accomplish.

 

At the present within that classification, you could have restaurants, marinas, boat yards, offices, retail, and everything else including hotels but not a residential development. This residential prohibition applies to both condos and single-family homes.

                      Pinterest

The change proposed would be to allow residential development within this zoning classification. There will also be a requirement that the public be given access to the waterfront much like what Stuart has done with their boardwalk system.

 

You would think this would be a no brainer…not in Martin County. Heard and Smith expressed fright that the small marinas may disappear. Heard also spoke about the shoreline setbacks. John Yudin, representing the Maritime Industries Association, said he was not in favor of the change because it may affect his members.

 

Decades ago, the commission placed this protection in the code because they were afraid that residential growth would overtake smaller industries. Apparently even with protections, there has been no growth in opening more working marinas and boat yards in the CRAs. That tells me that more of these uses within this area probably will not occur.

 

Government trying to protect certain industries happens all the time. It happens in places like New York, where for years they have tried to keep garment manufacturing through zoning prohibitions alive and well in Midtown Manhattan, to no avail. You can almost forgive an anti-free market Democratic city from thinking it knows best. What is Republican Martin County’s excuse for ignoring market trends?

 

Smith, but to a lesser extent some other commissioners, spoke about visioning sessions in CRAs that occurred more than 20 years ago as if the people then are the same as those living there today. Markets change and trying to create a vision that is 20 years old is economic and socially irresponsible. Ciampi asked if you could still operate or open a marine business. The answer was yes.

 

Even with the new loosening of allowing residential building, it would still need to be a mixed-use project.  While it is better than no residential at all, it still requires an unnecessary element instead of allowing the market to decide. Within the CRAs, all projects are infill. There is no pristine habitat being sacrificed. It should be purely market driven. It appears the market wants more residences on the water with docks.

 

All the wringing of hands by some was just show. Smith made the motion to accept, and it was seconded by Jenkins who does not wring his hands. It passed 4-1 with Heard dissenting.

 

To see the presentation, go here

 

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City-of-Stuart stuart-city-commision-2020

COMMISSION MEETING MAY 10, 2021:

 

After the hoopla of proclamations, recognitions, and pats on the back, the real purpose of government began.

 

Jessica Seymour of the Treasure Coast Planning Council gave a presentation about how to improve the U.S. 1 corridor from St. Lucie Crescent to south of Kanner Highway. It was almost identical to the one given the CRB earlier in the month. The picture painted is one ugly mess that was created without much thought to an overall plan.

 

As you look at what is there now, you see used car dealers, fast food franchises, vacant lots, and the worst of mid twentieth century retail and office use. The amount of empty store fronts would tell any rational person that we are way over capacity for that use. That goes nicely with the empty parking lots that front the roadway.

                  Publix From Report

Consider the Publix center between Kanner and Palm City Road. Most of the 6 acres are taken up by the parking lot. The stores are set back to almost the property line. From the roadway, you have no idea what stores are there. It just reeks of the bad planning that this report makes amply clear.

 

At the CRB meeting, one board member made the comment that you cannot dictate to the private sector what should go where. I mostly agree with that sentiment. Yet government, through zoning, can make clear how the city should look. Zoning and LDRs enable the city to push the look and concept of what should be built within a district. Sometimes that is bad (see above results in Martin County) and at other times it can enable redevelopment.

 

Using modeling, Seymour gave the commission and staff a vision of how the current Publix could be transformed to a mixed-use development with every building having a street forward view. Parking should not be the predominant feature of the property. The city can direct redevelopment to not have empty parking lots on what is the “front door” of Stuart through zoning.

 

If it were up to Matheson and Meier, changes would be made to reflect this viewpoint. I believe you could bring around McDonald and perhaps Bruner and Clarke. I suspect that this plan, like so many others, will wind up on the shelf. Even if changes were implemented, I do not doubt that the next time someone asks for an exception, the commission would grant it.

 

A review of the development on Colorado Avenue would show that not one project has been built or altered that conforms with the code in place for that street.

 

To see the presentation go here

 

MAIN STREET

 

What a surprise that Main Street was chosen as the top choice to operate the greenmarket. And that is after offering $500 less than the current operator.

 

In the not-too-distant past, Main Street was part of the city’s government administratively though they had an independent board. Their director was a city employee with city benefits. She was housed in a city office using city resources. Then several years ago, it was decided that Main Street should be truly independent, and the director would be a Main Street employee.

Main Street would receive a $70,000 subsidy from the city which was supposed to be reduced over three years to zero. In return, the organization would provide certain services. At the same time the Flagler Center became available for lease and the city offered it to them at a reduced rent. The revenue generated by the event and office space would go toward weaning Main Street off the subsidy. Of course, that hasn’t occurred.

 

Now they are in negotiation with the city for the greenmarket offering a cheaper price. The empire builds. What is in this for the city? More importantly, what is in it for the taxpayer?

 

There is nothing wrong with the city giving a break to a private nonprofit entity that is helping the city fulfill a mission such as “Rockin Riverwalk.” They should be compensated for acting as the promoter of a no charge event. At what point do the subsidies outweigh the practicality of the city just doing it themselves?

 

If having an event space, greenmarket, concerts, and other downtown events have been determined to be in the interest of the city, then why does not the city just do it. It is a dollar and cents matter, a taxpayers’ matter.

 

Middlemen are expensive and when you cut out the middlemen, you usually save money. Main Street is now a middleman that will continue to use every government provided revenue source to keep the party going. Staff and the commission appear to have no compunction in using taxpayer dollars to do so.

            Merritt Matheson

Matheson broached the subject about lessening the $70,000 direct payment subsidy. No other commissioner said a word to back him up except it wasn’t the right time. When will the right time happen?

 

I hope Matheson keeps fighting to save the taxpayers money. It seems other commissioners would rather just keep things going along and not upset anyone.

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Martin-County-School-Board Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-School-Board

BOARD MEETING MAY 12, 2021:

 

The meeting was all about policy…the present and future of how the Martin County School District will work going forward.

                        Pinterest

Superintendent Millay outlined his plan about how to move forward. With the upcoming school year, there will be a full return to traditional in-person learning. All students registered with the district will attend class every day. There is the option to home school and attend Florida Virtual School for those wanting that alternative.

 

The district will follow a voluntary mask policy as recommended by the Florida Department of Education in 2021/22 school year. This does not preclude a return to a stricter policy if circumstances change. They are encouraging all eligible students, teachers, and employees to become fully vaccinated. Those who are vaccinated will not be required to quarantine following contact with a positive case.

 

Presently, the board will continue mandating fully masked students, teachers, and personnel through the end of this school year. What many do not understand is there is an approved COVID plan in place for the remainder of this school year. To change it now would require permission from Tallahassee. For the less than two weeks remaining in this school year, it is not possible.

 

This year’s graduations will also have optional masks for seniors and guests since they will not be returning to the classroom. Beginning on June 1, summer session and other school activities and programs, whether to mask or not will be optional.

 

While the board may feel this is a sensible policy, there was a contingent of parents who spoke against masks. Some were very emotional. There were no new reasons offered as to why an immediate change in policy is warranted.

 

The board agreed with the policies and so the end of COVID restrictions for the schools are in sight.

 

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Town of Sewall's Point Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Sewalls-Point

HONORS FOR A CHAMP

 

When you decide to give recognition to someone, you do it because you respect the individual.

 

The political elite and everyday citizens of the town, county and region attending suggests to me that this ceremony is not an empty honor. In the case of Lou Savini, it meant even more. He was due this gesture of respect and we turned out on a Friday afternoon to make sure he knew that. There were present and past law enforcement personnel, elected officials, and most importantly the people that he served in Sewall’s Point.

 

I didn’t know Savini when he was a cop, detective and “boss” in Nassau County, New York. I didn’t know Savini when he was Chief in Sewall’s Point. I met him when I spoke at an event that he chaired for a retired law enforcement organization. He was gracious, gregarious, and impeccably dressed.

           Lou Savini

I later found out that he always was a sharp dresser…a throwback to a time when people knew how to comport themselves. At 90 he still has it. As he was delivering one-liners in his remarks, he mentioned comedian Henny Youngman. For a brief time, I managed a building in New York where Youngman owned an apartment, and Savini is funnier.

 

Lou, along with his wife, daughters, many grand and great grandchildren, should be proud of this accomplishment. They say that to be a great cop you need to have a sense of timing just like a great comedian. Lou Savini is good at both. He also was the kind of cop you knew would play it straight whether you were a citizen or a criminal. There was a code to follow with both. He just cared that the citizen did not suffer at the hands of the criminal.

 

Congrats Lou!

 

COMMISSION WORKSHOP MAY 11, 2023:

 

Sometimes things get better as they proceed. In this third round of Kim Delaney’s presentation to the commission, it was near perfection. Delaney’s first presentation on her strategic capital projects blueprint was spotty and the information was not always conveyed correctly. This time she had the commission focused on producing an outcome.

Kim Delaney

She gave them the bottom line. Of the short-term projects (2-10 years), the town’s projected costs were $9,375,000 of the $30,875,000 total project cost. The question really to be answered was how Sewall’s Point is going to pay for it.

 

During the discussions that ensued between the commissioners, there was some movement of projects from short term to mid-term (11–15-year time frame.) Yet ultimately most of what is on the boards to be done needs to be done now.

          David Kurzman

Commissioner Kurzman kept reminding the commission that things must be maintained once they are constructed. This is something that has not been done in the past. Most of the funders today want to see money dedicated to maintenance in the grant proposals. It makes no sense to spend millions constructing a project if it isn’t going to be maintained.

 

Once the discussion got down to how to pay for the infrastructure, it didn’t seem that every commissioner had read their agenda package. There was also confusion about what is the difference between an impact fee versus that of a maintenance or permit fee. Impact fees are levied on new construction. There are no provisions for impact fees for the town. There are impact fees due Martin County on new construction within Sewall’s Point.

 

What the town has done is charge building permit fees which are more expensive than in other Martin County jurisdictions. Building permit fees do not go into the general fund but must be used by the building department for operation or for programs having to do with that department. Besides the 2% there is also .4% road assessment fee. That fee is used for maintenance of existing roads.

 

Kurzman wanted to double the road maintenance fee to .8% which would equate to approximately an additional $12,000 per year to help in resurfacing roads. Along with Commissioner Tompeck, who is someone that understands government as the utility director in Fort Pierce, knows that maintenance is important. That is why both support a storm water maintenance fee.

 

The town will be spending millions, mostly in grant dollars, to build a storm water system. There needs to be a way to maintain such a system and to assure those entities giving the dollars that the system will be maintained. To institute such a fee, there needs to be a study done to know what to charge per ERU (Equivalent Residential Unit.)

 

Commissioner Fender, who at this meeting and at every other meeting usually states that there just isn’t enough data or as he likes to say “looking for the delta” to decide. For this decision he said there was no need for a study. He could just add up the costs spent in the past and have his answer. Any costs spent in the past would be immaterial to maintaining a new storm water system even if adequate funds were expended to maintain the current inadequate system.

            James Campo

Commissioner Campo surprised many when he said a case could be made for doing everything on the short-term list and accomplish it within five years by borrowing the money. There were more than a few caveats he added including no additional staff being hired even to manage the millions in projects being done. He also stated that he was not endorsing this but only saying a case could be made. There is plenty of wiggle room there when it comes up to a vote.

 

Berger also suggests that a special assessment line be created to pay the fire/recue contract with the City of Stuart instead of having the money come from the general fund. The current fee is $517,000. If the town were contracting with the county, property owners would pay 2.7 mils per $1000 of value to a separate tax bill item.

 

That would make some sense since as the contract fee is increased, the general revenue mil rate would not need to be increased. It serves as a pass through and keeps the general millage down.

 

The above will again be discussed and perhaps voted upon at the next regular meeting. I think there will be some 3-2 votes coming up. Are these projects needed? The majority of residents are tired of flooded roads and overflowing septic systems. Should a wealthy coastal community ignore the environmental impact of doing nothing in the name of having the lowest tax rates around?

 

At some point, even the swankiest property becomes a slum if the infrastructure is not maintained and improved. Do you tell brokers that your home cannot be shown if it rains for fear of road flooding? If a community is going to compare itself to Jupiter Island, it must be willing to spend money like Jupiter Island. Otherwise, there is no comparison.

 

You can see Kim Delaney’s presentation here

 

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Village-Of-Indiantown Friends-and-Neighbors-of-Martin-County-Indiantown-Village

COUNCIL MEETING MAY 13, 2021:

 

MORE ON FIRE

 

                     Howard Brown

Manager Brown began relaying the offer from the county by introducing the contents of the letter from County Administrator Taryn Kryzda. The letter outlined that the county would offer a grant of $300,000 per year for five years to be used to enhance fire flow to the town. Nowhere in the letter did it mention the separate inter local agreement concerning keeping Martin County Fire/Rescue for the same period. The letter can be found  here

 

Brown also had Bill Archebelle, the current public works director, explain what should be done with the funds to comply with the county grant. His diagram and memo are attached here

 

Brown and Attorney Vose met with Martin County staff to discuss the offer. Vose stated that the county would be willing to give statistical reports to the village regarding calls. He said that county staff were not going to discuss any increase in the monetary offer or what it could be used for outside of fire prevention. They said there may be a willingness to pay it upfront as the work is accomplished.

 

Vose went on that at a village staff meeting that they wanted the buildings at Booker and Big Mound Parks to be used for more than recreation. They want to propose to the county that they be used for any public purpose.

 

Gibbs-Thomas wasted no time and made a motion to accept the offer of $1.5 million with a five-year fire agreement including statistical reporting and broader building usage. The money would be paid out immediately. She went on to explain that the BOCC did not want a negotiation and that it was a onetime offer. There was no second.

               Anthony Dowling

Dowling believed it was an initial start. He wants the entire price that Archebelle quoted for the fire flow work of $2.8 million. He also wanted the park building restrictions lifted and statistical reporting. Going forward the deed restrictions and the reporting requirements were in every motion.

 

Clarke wanted a three-year fire deal with a one-year additional village option at $375,000 per year.

 

Hernandez wants the counteroffer to be that the village collects the MSTU and sends it quarterly to the county. The county continues to do the village’s LAP certification for FDOT projects. $500,000 per year with a five-year agreement.

 

Clarke then came back with a motion for three years at $500,000 per year. That was discussed with some heated commentary. Dowling came back with $500,000 per year over five years. Archebelle explained that the work outlined in the memo and documents would cost approximately $2,800,000 but the design part could be an additional $400,000.

 

Clarke made a second motion for a five-year agreement with $500,000 per year. Stone seconded this one. After discussion it was withdrawn. Both Gibbs-Thomas and Vose believed that the county number was firm.

 

Clarke then made a third motion for three years at $500,000 per year that died for lack of a second. Then Dowling made a motion for a five-year agreement at $500,000 per year. Hernandez passed the gavel and then seconded. During discussion, Stone said that Gibbs-Thomas was not acting as a member of the council but rather as if she were a county commissioner. She responded angrily that she indeed was a member of the council but believes that the BOCC is not going to raise the financial grant amount. I tend to agree with Susan.

 

The vote was taken, and it passed 3-2 with Clarke and Gibbs-Thomas dissenting.

 

AND ALL THE REST

 

Jim Karras went through the last strategic planning workshop. Some of the goals that were outlined seemed to be in stark contrast to the council’s recent behavior. It doesn’t seem that at present the village is going to work with the Indiantown Chamber regardless of the platitudes expressed in this document. They will have another workshop at a future undetermined date.

 

Dowling made a motion to accept the report and have another session that was seconded by Clarke. It passed 4-1 with Gibbs-Thomas dissenting.

 

You can see the presentation  here

 

Currently the position of public works director is filled using a contract with Bowman Engineering. Bill Archebelle is the Bowman employee assigned to the contract. The contract calls for 8.5 hours per week. Brown is looking to create an internal position to manage the consulting contract and the water plant.

 

The position would pay between $77-$92,000 per year. The position would be paid equally from the general fund and the water utility fund. Motion made by Dowling and seconded by Stone. It passed 5-0.

 

The job description can be found here

 

Lastly, in my opinion the council needs for all five members to return to the chamber for meetings. It is a bit chaotic to run a meeting when two council members, usually Clarke and Stone, are not there. I am 100% for the broadcast of the meeting both live and through the website. I am less in favor of continuing public comment this way.

 

There is no substitution for council members seeing each other, staff, and most importantly their constituents in person. Don’t be afraid! The video conferencing of meetings for the council was a lifeline during the pandemic. The pandemic is over.

 

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Town of Ocean Breeze

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the May 10, 2021 meeting. If there was anything of substance, I will report it in the next newsletter.

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Jupiter Island Jupiter Island Sky View

COMMISSION MEETING MAY 10, 2021:

 

The meeting began with a proclamation honoring former Commissioner Barry Hall. He decided not to run for reelection. He appeared to be a good solid member of the commission.

 

Jupiter Island is an enclave for the very rich. What it is not is a vulgar ostentatious place. It is no Palm Beach. For the most part, the residents (including the commissioners) try to be good stewards of the environment. Yet in attempting to do just that, they sometimes run into trouble. Managing where the setback line for construction should be can bring out many inhabitants.

According to a memo given to commissioners: The Waterfront Setback Line (WFSBL) is a plotted line along both the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway/ Indian River Lagoon that represents the rear yard setback of all waterfront properties.

 

The entire reason to have a setback line is to not have construction too close to the water and obstruct the views of existing structures. It helps the environment and makes sure that other valuable properties do not become less valuable.

 

The criteria for the ocean lots are:

 

  • 50 feet landward of the “mean high water line.”
  • 50 feet of the landward dune line (+14’)
  • 50 feet landward of existing seawall/coastal structure
  • Line of sight between closest habitable conforming buildings within 1000 feet
  • Average setback from the mean high water of closest conforming buildings within 1000 feet.

 

Those lots facing the river have only two:

 

  • 50 feet landward of the “mean high water line.”
  • Average setback from mean high water of closest conforming buildings within 1000 feet.

 

On Jupiter Island before any decisions can be made, experts need to weigh in. More municipalities would have better results if they followed this course of action. Usually if there is one consultant’s report covering everything that would be sufficient.

 

Both the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act need to be taken into consideration. The Aquifer must be considered as well as the Gopher Tortoise. Before construction, a coastal control line permit must be obtained from the state so that shore and water birds are protected. There are other safeguards in addition to the town’s own.

Under their program and in cooperation with Martin County, the beaches have done remarkably well. They are growing in depth from where they had previously been in mid-20th century. This is a continuous process. The base line for measuring this is 1973, and there is 187 more feet of beach today.

 

There is an old saying that you can’t fight city hall. It usually is true because most of us can’t or won’t pay the legal fees necessary to do so. On Jupiter Island that saying does not apply. A couple, David and Adena Testa, have hired a law firm to fight the 2019 ordinance that sets the criteria. Their argument is that the ordinance is in violation of the town’s comprehensive plan.

 

Since the beach, dune lines and mean high water lines have changed because of renourishment what was true in 1973 is no longer true today. That is a common sense reading of the situation. That does not mean it is the legal one. Town codes cannot be in contradiction to the comp plan. If the ordinance being reviewed (376) conflicts with the plan, it may end up being determined in court.

 

The zoning in progress was extended to the September meeting by the commission in a vote of 5-0.

 

The presentation and objection letter may be found here

 

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In The Spotlight

by Jackie Holfelder

Spotlight

Title

 

 

 

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Final Thoughts

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Democrats and Republicans are locked in another battle regarding taxes.

 

Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for raising the corporate income tax rate and the rate on those making more than $400,000 per year. According to the president, that would pay for the $1.9 trillion in spending. It is an ambitious plan, but we need massive amounts of new infrastructure in this country. And I am not opposed to spending the dollars needed if there is a way to pay for it.

Biden and the Democrats are looking to raise the funds in the wrong way. The Republicans are against it, but they would be against any plan. In some ways they are irrelevant to the conversation because of the “reconciliation” process. If I were Biden, I would ask Congress to eliminate the corporate income tax entirely. We have been having this argument about what the rate should be for the past 60 years and monetary collections continue to go down.

 

For tax purposes, “C” corporations should be treated as “S” corporations with the earnings allocated to the shareholders, who would pay the tax due in their individual brackets. To raise appropriate funds the capital gains rate should be eliminated going forward. There is no justification in today’s economy to treat investment income differently than any other. Individual rates, which I would hope to be as few as possible, would need to be adjusted to reflect the needed income.

 

By doing so, the Democrats would immediately have a very pro-business stance to run on. The Republicans would get exactly what they claim to want, and we would remove a tax that may be marginally high but practically non-existent when it comes to collection. There are worries about making sure that corporations do not take advantage of too many loopholes but that is no different than now.

 

We then have a method of paying for the infrastructure we so desperately need while reforming two tax classifications that are arcane. To read a more in-depth version go here

 

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GET THE WORD OUT   Friends and Neighbors of Martin County are your eyes and ears so that you know what is going on in Martin County’s municipal and county governments. I attempt to be informative and timely so that you may understand how your tax money is being spent. Though I go to the meetings and report back, I am no substitute for your attending meetings. Your elected officials should know what is on your mind.

Tom Campenni 772-287-5781 (o) 772-341-7455 (c) Email: Info@friendsandneighborsofmartincounty.com thomasfcampenni@gmail.com

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

 

Articles I wrote in the past few weeks:

 

Tallahassee’s version of the “Godfather”

 

HERE

 

“History Is Just The Facts”

 

HERE

 

“The U.S. Needs A Social Safety Net”

 

HERE

 

Other Articles:

 

Our first one is from the Atlantic regarding those working in an office get bigger raises than those working from home:

 

HERE

 

The next is an article from David French in the Dispatch asking if Jews are being beaten in the streets can America be America:

 

 

HERE

 

From The Hill is it time to rethink zoning:

 

HERE

 

The New York Times asks Bill Bratton about police reform:

 

HERE

 

A press release from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding Lake Okeechobee:

 

HERE

 

The Miami Herald asks why Florida picked up the tab for lawsuits for doctors’ mistakes in child birth:

 

HERE

 

The Washington Post writes that Senators are the oldest in history:

 

HERE

 

Another from the Post explains why Florida was supposed to be more left but turned more right instead:

 

HERE

 

The Florida Phoenix writes it is time to get rid of the filibuster:

 

HERE

 

The Mew York Times has a test for us to take regarding the facts on the increase in crime:

 

HERE

 

Lastly from Pro Publica their story on America’s richest pay no tax:

 

HERE

 

 

 

CHARTS:

 

Two charts this week from Visual Capitalist on debt:

 

The first is on household debt:

 

HERE

 

The second is on government debt:

 

HERE

 

GLOSSARY

Annual Medium Income (AMI)

Basin Action Management Plan (BMAP)

Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

Business Development Board (BDB)

Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)

Career & Technical Education (CTE)

Center For Disease Control (CDC)

Centum Cubic Feet (CCF)

Children’s Services Council (CSS)

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

Community Development District (CDD)

Community Redevelopment Board (CRB)

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)

Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) 

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Emergency Operation Center (EOC)

Equivalent Residential Connection (ERC)

Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)

Evaluation & Appraisal Report (EAR)

Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA)

Federal Rail Administration (FRA)

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

Full Time Equivalents (FTE)

Future Land Use Maps (FLUM)

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)

Hobe Sound Local (HSL)

Indian River Lagoon (IRL)

Land Development Code (LDR)

Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS)

Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSUM)

Local Agency Program Certification (LAP)

Local Planning Agency (LPA)

Martin County Fire/Rescue (MCFR)

Martin County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO)

Martin County Taxpayers Association (MCTA)

Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU)

Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU)

Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY)

Organization For Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD)

Planned Unit Development (PUD)

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

Preserve Action Management Plan (PAMP)

Request for Proposal (RFP)

Residential Planned Unit Development (RPUD)

Right of Way (ROW)

Secondary Urban Services District (SUSD)

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)

South Martin Regional Utility (SMRU)

State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP)

Storm Water Treatment Areas (STA)

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)

Urban Planned Unit Development (UPUD)

Urban Services Boundary (USB)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Zoning-In-Progress (ZIP)

Photo Capt Kimo