By: Donald Rodrigue, Hometown News
STUART — For nearly two decades, the citizens of Rio have expressed their desire to have a new development on the site of the former Rio Village Mobile Home Park in hopes of injecting new life to the community, but Martin County Commissioners still struggle with the proposal on the site.
The crash of the housing market and the state’s decision to reconstruct State Road 707 only helped to further delay proposals on the 10-acre site, which first began with the Stuart Harbour Yacht Club in 2007. Over the decade since, the property has changed hands and the multi-phase project morphed into the Stuart Harbor/Rio Town Center, passing through seemingly dozens of Neighborhood Action Committee meetings and other public hearings and going through several revisions.
Growth Management Department Planner Catherine Riiska recommended approval June 12 for the latest changes to the proposal to the first phase. She told the Commission changes were minor to the first four mixed-use buildings housing 18 residential units and 38,039 square feet of limited retail and office adjacent to County Road 707.
“The major development master site plan and phasing plans were originally approved by the Board of County Commissioners on Aug. 4, 2015 for development of a mixed-use project to be constructed in six phases,” she said. “The applicant has proposed in this Phase 1 application to make minor changes to the boundary of Phase 1 to accommodate infrastructure and installation, to shift some of the residential units between buildings and to make minor changes to building footprints, which necessitated revisions to the master site plan and phasing plan for consistency.”
A Stuart attorney for developer SFI Marina Stuart TRS LLC, Bob Raines, emphasized the support of the community during the quasi-judicial hearing and insisted the proposed development complied with all county rules and regulations…