Previously, the Martin County Taxpayers Association announced our support for the Atlantic Fields Community Development (317 private homes on over 1,500 acres north of Bridge Road). We support this development due to the anticipated overwhelming positive economic impact on Martin County.
The impacts include:
- $21 million annual ad valorem taxes for Martin County
- 436 permanent jobs direct and indirect, resulting from the development of the community.
- 10,755 temporary jobs are expected during land preparation and construction, based on similar communities already developed by Discovery.
- $1.6 billion in gross economic output during construction
- $40 million in annual ongoing permanent economic activities
- $543 million in annual associated wages and salaries
Originally, Becker Holdings (the landowner) and Discovery (the developer) proposed a new land use category that, once approved, would allow them to tap utilities from within the urban services district and avoid adding septic tanks in such close proximity to St Lucie River and Loxahatchee River headwaters. Many county residents and other stakeholders were critical of the initial scope of the originally proposed Rural Land Use Designation even though it held the boundary of the urban services district in place. Therefore, Becker Holdings and Discovery have amended their initial rural lifestyle land proposal, reducing its footprint by 90 percent.
The amended land use designation includes these changes:
- Addresses concerns raised by the public and other stakeholders about countywide application
- Requires landowners to apply to use the amendment and meet strict criteria
- Restrictes eligible properties to only those adjacent to the urban services strict
- Applies to only six properties totaling 11,924 acres, allowing 596 units based on current zoning
- if all six properties implemented this land use, the net increase in housing units would be 1,057 over a region of 21 square miles
- could result in over 10,000 acres of preserved land and open space
There are additional safeguards in the amendment, such as requiring that:
- applicants to undergo at least four public hearings during the process
- 70% of the development to be Open Space such as golf courses and polo fields
- another parcel half of the size of the development footprint (at least 500 acres) in conservation easement for any increase in density to a maximum of one unit per 5 acres
- landowner establish a lifetime funding source to maintain donated land
- developer to pay for water/sewer services-limiting them only to the approved site
- provide an economic feasibility study as a condition of approval
Clearly, this amendment, especially in its reduced format, will only work for projects that can generate high amounts of tax revenue and leave minimal impact on services. This is a very good deal for Martin County. Passage of the amendment could enable the creation of another “unicorn” project such as Atlantic Fields. That it is certainly in the best interest of our taxpayers, and we urge the county commissioners to vote in support of it.
You can learn more about Atlantic fields on their website: https://beckerlegacy.com
Please contact them and ask them to do so.