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Orientation Series

Martin and St. Lucie County Regional Land Use Study

Prevailing development patterns in Martin and St. Lucie counties have helped create a transportation system that is out of balance with land use. In recent years, development has boomed west of Florida’s Turnpike, near I-95, and along the western edge of the urban area largely bypassing suitable vacant land or areas where redevelopment might occur in the eastern portion of the two counties. As development sprawls further to the west, it strains public facilities, consumes open space, and threatens the environmental and natural resources. This spreading out of the population, further separating housing from places of work, results in a limited number of transportation choices and a worsening of traffic congestion on major roads. Studies show that the amount of cross-county automobile travel between St. Lucie and Martin counties continues to increase creating pressure for major, multi-million dollar construction on US 1. 

There are alternatives. Instead of just building new and wider roads that often become congested after they are built, the region could make better use of its existing developed areas by encouraging a more compact, mixed-use development pattern that expands transportation choices, revitalizes declining areas, and provides a broader range of housing types and mobility options for all citizens. 

The Regional Land Use Study was a multi-agency initiative designed to explore alternative growth management strategies. The study included an inventory of vacant and redevelopable land, and evaluation of alternative land use and transportation scenarios, and a market analysis of land uses. A key part of the study is recommended changes in local government comprehensive plans to implement the study findings. 

The Regional Land Use Study boundary encompasses the urban service area of Martin and St. Lucie counties including the municipalities of Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, St. Lucie Village, Stuart, Jupiter Island, Sewall’s Point, and Ocean Breeze Park. The Southern boundary of the study area is south of Cove Road. 

 

Phase I Report

Phase II Report