By: Donald Rodrigue, Hometown News
STUART — The Martin County Commission authorized the final assessment resolution for the second phase of the North River Shores septic-to-sewer conversion April 24 despite the last-minute protest by several residents opposed to the mandatory connections.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the $7 million project that will include the installation of a vacuum-assisted, gravity wastewater collection system and vacuum pump station to provide sanitary sewer service to more than 300 homes located adjacent to the St. Lucie River Estuary. Commissioner Sarah Heard cast the dissenting vote on the matter, asking several questions about the contractor and the project financing without expressing the specific reason for her opposition.
Several members of the public pleaded with the Commission to reject the proposal, including long-term North River Shores resident Sally O’Connell who spoke both in the early morning public speaking segment and returned later in the evening to address the Board during the actual public hearing.
“The cost to the 302 homes in phase two is excessive,” she said. “Phase One residents paid approximately $6,500 for the sewer to run by their houses. All Phase Two residents, regardless of lot size, are being assessed $11,708. If paid over 20 years at an annual increase of nearly $1,000 on your tax bill, the total cost will be $19,302.”
Ms. O’Connell also emphasized the smaller North River Shores properties would be “subsidizing the big lots” and insisted the cost would be more equitable if related to the amount of roadway frontage and related length of underground sewage pipe necessary to service the homesites…