By Rick Hartman - President One Martin
To Our Friends and Neighbors,
Martin County stands indecisively at a crossroads that could very well shape its future for the next 50 years. Do we continue as we have, or do we recognize the issues facing residents and make changes to address them?
One question asked by Stuart City Commissioner Mike Meier at the recent Joint Meeting of Martin County, the City of Stuart, city, the Village of Indiantown and the School Board illustrates the most pressing dilemma, “Who will we allow to live in Martin County?”
As incomprehensible as that question is in a free society, he hit the nail on the head. We are restricting residents to only those who can afford to purchase a home here, now averaging more than $650,000, as we build more and more assisted living facilities and storage units for the mega-wealthy.
The answer, the solution, to our county’s crisis in providing affordable housing for those on whom we depend for the services we and our families need lies within our Comprehensive Growth Management Plan, according to an elegant, thought-provoking address by County Commissioner Ed Ciampi that launched the joint session of local governments.
The commissioner said we must have the courage to make small changes to the Comp Plan, not radical ones. Just the kinds of changes that make sense, such as allowing a second story apartment atop a garage.
We believe one of those small changes also would be approval of the Rural Lifestyle Amendment; however, any change will meet an onslaught of fear-mongering and misrepresentation of facts, so indicative of Martin County’s history.
This is not the first time, however, that someone recognized that small changes to the Comp Plan are required if we are to sustain our quality of life. It also is not the first time that the myth-makers insisted we’d be on the path to the “Browardization” of Martin County if we changed a thing.
Over the past 25 years, Florida university scientists – experts in geology, water quality, land planning, growth management, and the environment – suggested the vital steps Martin County needed to take to protect what we love, to ensure a sustainable future.
Even the 1000 Friends of Florida environmental organization, which partnered with the University of Florida and the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the Florida 2070 project, recommended changes to public policies to ensure Martin County’s sustainable future. https://1000fof.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/FOF-1124-Martin-County-Workshop-Flyer-9-18-web.pdf.
One Martin has compiled a comprehensive look at the various studies and recommendations over the past 25 years, and the responses to them, in our series, “Here We Go Again.”
Please read and share this six-part series with your friends and neighbors, so we can disarm the myth-makers with facts, and foster respectful discussion that will lead to an informed decision.
The real threat to the “Martin County difference” is to ignore that history and to continue as we have with our heads buried in the sand.
To read the entire series on our website click here: Here We Go Again Series.