Final Thoughts

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 Final Thoughts


Do you think that Brightline knew that Fort Pierce was incapable of performing on a deal and decided that Stuart and Martin County could?

If you look at the mess that is happening with King’s Landing, they certainly seemed to have a premonition. It seems that the City of Fort Pierce and Audubon Development Corp could be headed to court because the city is claiming the developer has not performed according to their agreement.

The last thing the railroad wanted was a partner that could not perform. I am not so sure that our county and city will perform either but at least there is a hope of success. If you remember Fort Pierce’s two offers didn’t have their commission voting in favor of either concept. That is not a good sign.

I am sure when push comes to shove if the grant funding is there, both Martin County and Stuart will move forward. It won’t be unanimous, especially in the city commission, but the will of most of our citizens is there. Except for the usual NYETs (Russian for NO) what is the problem having a mode of transportation that takes cars off the roads?


Jane Jacobs, the mid-20th century disrupter of Robert Moses’ plan to have a highway cut across Manhattan along Canal Street and then another superhighway along the West Side, was not anti-development. She believed in higher density cities, short blocks, and mixed-use zoning. In her view new construction was not a problem, it was the way many developers designed their projects.

Foremost she disliked cars. In her mind, cars were things that required huge amounts of unproductive land to be used as parking lots. Highways that moved cars were disrupters of neighborhoods. If Moses had had his way, SoHo, Greenwich Village, Chinatown, and other Manhattan neighborhoods would have been destroyed. It is very similar to what happened in the Bronx with the Cross Bronx Expressway and in Brooklyn and Queens with the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway.

Here in Stuart, we often hear from the NYET people that any new building is wrong. Parking codes are not changed because we want people to use cars, but car-centered approaches are not favorable for small town life. It is not conducive to shopping locally. Cars kill small towns.

Stuart is not a suburb of anything. Why do so many people who do not live in the city want to stop Stuart from returning to being the small-town economic hub of Martin County. That requires a level of density that Stuart had at one time. When we were not so focused on cars, there were even a couple of buildings that had density above the dreaded 30 units per acre.

If the NYETs want to hark back to an earlier Stuart, they need to end their irrationality when it comes to planning. Cities are about people—a critical mass of people. They need to mix in streets, parks, and public places. Any small town is one where people walk to school, jobs, entertainment, and shopping. Where they can’t walk, then the transportation shouldn’t be by car but by something like our trams.

When one leaves Stuart, then whenever possible they should also use public transportation…Brightline. Regardless of what Brightline believes their future is, it will probably be something else. At some point, it will become an affordable option compared to driving to our south and north.

If you want to save Stuart and preserve our small-town lifestyle, then stop fighting the building of any new multifamily housing. Right now, we have a downtown where you can’t buy milk, have clothes washed, or a prescription refilled. That wasn’t the Stuart of the 1960s. Today it is a Potemkin Village of restaurants and tourist stores where most people are visitors, and few are from the city.


There is not a critical mass of residents to support the retail necessities. By allowing multi-family to radiate along our major streets, we will create the amount of people necessary to sustain that economic activity resulting in fewer road trips and more walking ones.

Maybe Brightline saw a Fort Pierce Downtown completely devoid of people with only a few restaurants. Perhaps it saw in Stuart a place where people lived and worked. Those would be their customers but also would allow others to come here to work and enjoy a small town.

Remember Jacobs saw every neighborhood as a unique small town even in places like New York. That is why she fought the idea of highways disrupting the flow of people from one neighborhood to the other. You are not being an advocate for the small-town atmosphere if you are against neighborhoods having the critical mass needed to support themselves. You are the killer of what you believe you are trying to save.



Friends and Neighbors of Martin County is your eyes and ears so that you know what is going on in Martin County’s municipal and county governments. I attempt to be informative and timely so that you may understand how your tax money is being spent. Though I go to the meetings and report back, I am no substitute for your attending meetings. Your elected officials should know what is on your mind.

Tom Campenni 772-341-7455 (c) Email:

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