Senate unanimously supports new county lines for St. Lucie, Martinby Dara Kam | February 8th, 2012
The Florida Senate gave a unanimous thumbs-up to a plan (SB 800) that would move a waterfront enclave now in St. Lucie County into Martin County.
The 129-acre parcel includes the Beau Rivage development, where homeowners have a “Stuart” address but live in another county. Residents are divided about the proposal, which would require voter approval before the boundaries would be changed.
Bill sponsor Joe Negron, R-Stuart, called the proposal (SB 800) “democracy in action” before the 38-0 vote with no discussion.
The community’s address and proximity to Martin County has created confusion even among police and elections officials, proponents of the new lines say, including Alan Marcus, who’s spearheaded the move and said “There’s nothing St. Lucie County about this area.”
Residents also want the switch because St. Lucie County, which opposes the switch, school officials have indicated they are backing away from an agreement allowing the neighborhood children to attend school in Martin County.
Critics of the plan acknowledge the school issue needs to be resolved but say that some homeowners want to increase their property values by switching to Martin County and that Martin officials haven’t given enough assurances about what will happen if the change occurs.
A House version of the proposal, sponsored by Stuart Republican Gayle Harrell, has two more committee stops before it gets to the floor for a full vote.