Please read the articles from the Palm Beach Post about the potential of St. Lucie to annex part of Martin County.  There was an annexation threat in 1998, and it could happen again.  The articles below are no longer available online, so we have provided them by typing them below using library archives.   Highlights were added for emphasis.


      Then State Representative Pruitt’s 1998 ANNEXATION Legislation Proposal:

“The City of Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County, State of Florida may be extended and enlarged so as to include,  and so that the City of Port St. Lucie has jurisdiction over, in addition to the territory presently within its corporate limits, unincorporated land and territories presently lying and being in the County of Martin, State of Florida, that are contiguous the City of Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie County.”

PORT ST. LUCIE'S TURN January 17, 1998 - Palm Beach Post page 16A

Now that the Great Port St. Lucie Land Grab won't happen, the underlying issues between the city and Martin County can and should be discussed reasonably.

Port St. Lucie is a 78-square-mile bedroom with relatively little commercial zoning and none of the large unplanned areas developers covet. Port St. Lucie's commercial "downtown" actually is along U.S. 1 in the northern end of Martin. That downtown is growing with development of the 1,100-acre West Jensen project. The first phase is to include 400,000 square feet of stores, roughly one-third the size of the nearby Treasure Coast Square Mall Port St. Lucie officials say they are concerned about added traffic to and from the stores, especially along Westmoreland Boulevard, which winds through several residential areas. That's a legitimate concern, though Port St. Lucie should have brought it up a decade ago when the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council reviewed West Jensen plans.

Not legitimate, however, is the solution that state Rep. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, proposed at the city's instigation: annexation of West Jensen by Port St. Lucie. The plan was pulled back quickly this week in the face of vociferous opposition from Martin County.

This particular annexation might have little effect aside from giving Port St. Lucie some tax money. As is the case with any approved project, Port St. Lucie could not decrease the amount of development in West Jensen without the developer's consent. Further, West Jensen is a Development of Regional Impact, which means Port St. Lucie could not increase the amount of development without going to the regional planning council and the state Department of Community Affairs.

The danger is in the precedent of allowing a landowner in a county with strict growth controls to get his land annexed by a city in a county with looser controls. What if Port St. Lucie decided it wanted to come south into Palm City, a possibility raised by Martin County Commissioner Donna Melzer? What if Jupiter or Tequesta went on an annexation binge that carried over in Martin County's Pal-Mar wetlands, or Section 28, subject of a continuing controversy over development?

Port St. Lucie should be consulted about West Jensen. Ways of helping the city with traffic problems should be explored. But the first step toward a civil discussion rests with the city. Port St. Lucie tried to subvert Martin sovereignty, and City Councilwoman Mary Ann Cernuto said Ms. Melzer was lying when she pointed out the dangers

Copyright 1998 Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.

PRUITT DROPS ANNEXATION PROPOSAL by Howie Paul Hartnett - Palm Beach Post Jan 13, 1998 pg 1B

Heeding the wishes of Port St. Lucie city officials, state Rep. Ken Pruitt said Monday he will drop his plans to file a bill allowing the city to annex parts of north Martin County.

But the fight to increase the city's tax base isn't over for the Port St. Lucie Republican ``I still feel that it is a viable solution and I'm going to take it to the next level and do it at the state level instead.''

``It has been frustrating,'' he said. ``We felt that once we presented the facts that the Martin County Commission would see the benefits.''

Pruitt's decision came after city officials urged him to cancel a public hearing scheduled for Friday on the proposed bill. City officials cited the ``misinformation'' being spread by the Martin County Commission as their main reason for asking Pruitt to back off.

``Ken had a very good idea. What really amazes me is the Martin County commissioners have yet to sit down and talk to the man,'' city Councilwoman Mary Ann Cernuto said. ``I think it is unfortunate the hysteria that has been caused by (Commission Chairwoman) Donna Melzer.''

Melzer said Pruitt's plan, which would allow any Martin County land contiguous with Port St. Lucie to be annexed, could have affected Palm City.

That's not true, Pruitt said, because unincorporated Palm City is not contiguous to Port St. Lucie and, therefore, not in danger of being annexed.

Still, the mere suggestion was enough to poison the well, Port St. Lucie officials said.

``When you have Donna Melzer writing letters full of lies, then what chance do you have in finding an equitable solution?'' Cernuto asked. ``I am disgusted. These are two government entities and one doesn't even want to hear what the other is saying?''

Melzer said her worries are real. ``It concerns me that the goal is to discredit me with Palm City and Martin County residents when my so-called crime is merely trying to protect the Martin County comprehensive plan.''

Something will happen, Pruitt vows. Port St. Lucie needs economic help, and if annexation is not the answer, maybe giving Port St. Lucie approval power over developments along its borders in Martin County will.

Any development adjoining Port St. Lucie has an impact on the city's roads and services, so the city should have a voice in deciding how much is placed next to it, Pruitt reasons.

That's one point Melzer agrees with.  Everyone having a say ``would be fine with me . . . as long as it doesn't differ from our comp plan,'' she said

Copyright 1998 Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.