What is AgTEC?

UPDATE:  
On 8/30/2011, the county staff recommended consideration of correcting the various spellings of "AgTEC/AgTech/I-95 AgTEC" within the AgTEC Comprehensive Plan Amendment.  However the Commissioners expanded the staff proposal which was approved by all Commissioners EXCEPT Commissioner Smith.


ACTION TAKEN:  

The Board adopted the resolution to initiate a CPA amendment to correct typographical errors in the Comprehensive GMP. The Board directed staff to add a note regarding the four story height limit and that AGTEC is sight specific changes to Sunrise Grove.

ISSUES:  The new "AgTEC" Land Use Amendment adopted by Commission majority Ciampi, Smith, and Hayes does not include the 40 foot building height limit and it does NOT comply with existing urban boundary protections. 

  • The AgTEC Amendments have serious “typos” acknowledged by King Ranch and County staff in testimony under oath.  The typos need to be fixed.  At issue are:

  • The land use amendment text uses 3 different spellings:  "AgTEC", "AgTech", and "I-95 AgTEC".  The developer said they didn't mean to spell it 3 different ways.  

  • Only the section titled "I-95 AgTEC" includes the 4-story building height limit.  This is be a big loophole.  Legally the height limit does not apply to the entire amendment.

  • The developer also said they intended that the AgTEC land use is applicable only for the Sunrise Groves project, but this property is not specified in the text.

  • AgTEC could be used elsewhere to further erode valuable urban boundary protections.  Applications for new towns outside our existing urban boundary [Hobe Grove and Harmony] could use the "typos" as precedent.  

Click here to read the Martin County AgTEC ordinance.  Note yellow highlights pertain solely to the unspecified 'I-95 AgTEC'. 

AgTEC allows the easy conversion of agricultural land to large industrial parks, regardless of the lack of need for more industrial areas.  Agricultural lands provide great value to communities.  

The county's inventory shows that both Palm City and Indiantown have significant vacant industrial and commercial acreage.  Testimony showed that lands inside the current urban boundary would have difficulty competing with AgTEC employment centers due to the cheap ag land values, so more jobs will be farther away from our homes.  The County report even stated that most jobs will go to nearby Port St. Lucie residents. 

The first APPLICATION of the new AgTEC Land Use is for 1,717 acres of Sunrise Groves. This development is miles outside the urban boundary. The county staff analyzed it as being okay based on connecting to and as benefiting Port St. Lucie urban area.   See the County Agenda item by clicking here. It may take a few minutes to load.

This means that Martin County pays while Port St. Lucie benefits. Communities have tried to annex across county lines in such instances in the past. A proposal for Port St. Lucie to be allowed to annex Martin County property was considered in 1998 but withdrawn due to Martin County protests. 

The Martin County Conservation Alliance filed a legal challenge to the AgTEC Comprehensive Land Use amendment proposal along with 1000 Friends of Florida and Donna Melzer.   Virginia Sherlock of Littman, Sherlock and Heims filed a Petition to STOP the AgTEC changes to the Comp Plan.  AgTEC is a PosterChild for lack of transparency, failure of fiscal responsibility and harming our rivers.  See the Petition with the AgTEC Amendment attached on the www.doah.state.fl.us site -- in the upper left slot of "Quick Docket" type 10-10007. 

The public told the Martin County Commissioners that the AgTEC "typos" must be fixed.  We do not want this Amendment to be a precedent for the new “towns” proposed out west and the further gutting of the urban boundary which resulted in the Commission resolving to have staff at least fix the typos and add the 4 story height limit.  To our knowledge, this has not been accomplished yet.