The Department of Economic Opportunity has issued a Final Order finding the Amendment to Chapter 10 of the Martin County Comprehensive Plan to be “in compliance” with state law.
Entry of the Final Order means the amendment to the Sanitary Sewer Element of the Comp Plan is now effective.
— eliminates the Expressway Oriented Transient Commercial Service Center land use designation (remember the proposed Extreme Sports project off Bridge Road?)
— reimposes a 2,000 gallon-per-day limit for septic systems (rather than the 10,000 gallon-per-day limit authorized by the state)
— prohibits expansion of water and sewer utilities outside the primary urban services district
— prohibits new package plants that provide stand-alone sewage treatment facilities
The Amendment was adopted in December of 2014 (it was approved by Commissioners Scott, Fielding and Heard with Commissioners Haddox and Smith opposed). A challenge was filed by several large land owners who were particularly opposed to elimination of the EOTSCS designation (did I mention the Extreme Sports project off Bridge Road?) and the return to the 2,000 gallon-per-day septic system limit. All of the challengers eventually settled except Martin Land Company.
After a hearing in April of 2015 before Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk, a Recommended Order was entered suggesting that the DEO find the Chapter 10 Amendment “in compliance.” The DEO’s Final Order, generally adopting the ALJ’s Recommended Order, was entered last week.
Although the Final Order may be appealed to the District Court of Appeal, the Amendment is effective now and will remain effective during any judicial appeal. An appeal could take more than a year and, based on the ALJ’s Recommended Order and the DEO’s Final Order, would not likely succeed.
The DEO’s Final Order affirms the viability of local control in land use and environmental matters.
The New Year is off to a great start thanks to the expertise and dedication of Maggy Hurchalla, extraordinary work by County staff in drafting and researching the amendment, and Linda Shelley’s excellent legal representation on behalf of Martin County.
LITTMAN, SHERLOCK & HEIMS, P.A.
P.O. Box 1197
Stuart, FL 34995
Phone: (772) 287-0200
Fax: (772) 872-5152