Why this first small project matters
During the last several years, we’ve had numerous inquiries from potential end users about AgTEC - from small aquaculture facilities to large distribution centers. The recurring theme from these entities is that they need shovel-ready sites, or at least assurances they will be able to successfully navigate through the County’s review process in a predictable and timely manner. We could not make those assertions without taking this first step.
While this first project is small – representing less than .5% of the total land within the AgTEC Land Use Category - it is important. If approved it will:
- provide the framework for future projects to follow
- demonstrate that Martin County is open for good, quality business
- offer something to market to potential end users and site selectors
- create the potential to help diversify our local economy and tax base.
The policies in the AgTEC Land Use Category of the Martin County Comprehensive Growth Management Plan (Comp Plan) provide specific performance standards that exceed minimum County code requirements. Our first project is designed to meet or exceed the performance standards within the AgTEC Land Use Category.
There are many community benefits that are secured through the PUD, and importantly, the additional planning tools that have been created will ensure that these community and regional benefits will be provided concurrent with future development projects. Below are some highlights of the key benefits:
Western Buffer Area. Through an agreement with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), a canal reservation has been put into place along the entire length of the western boundary of the AgTEC Land Use Category (100+ acres within a 300 foot wide area) exceeding minimum policy requirements by 250%. The canal is part of Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects that will help to improve regional water quality.
Conservation and Creation of Open Space. More than 800 acres (almost half of the property) has been identified for continued agricultural use and common open space. Specifically for the PUD, nearly 40% of the 7.66-acres will be kept in open space. This is a 300% increase in the amount of open space required by the AgTEC policies.
Support for the Martin Grade Scenic Highway. Also known as Martin Highway, County Road 714, or simply “The Grade”— this beautiful and historic, 12-mile stretch of road is shaded by a canopy of hundred-year-old oak trees. Surrounded by pastures, groves, swamps, and woods, a drive across the Martin Grade is a drive through the splendor of Old Florida. Located between Allapattah Road (State Road 609) and Warfield Boulevard (State Road 710) this irreplaceable tree canopy corridor has now been designated a Florida Scenic Highway.
With AgTEC located just 5 miles west of the Martin Grade, we were among the original supporters of the efforts to achieve the scenic highway designation, providing financial support and incorporating language into our AgTEC Land Use Category that includes various landscaping, setback and buffering requirements. Our first project honors these commitments, including enhanced landscaping reflective of the corridor, increased setbacks, and a refined signage plan.