2019 Glossary of Terms

Affordable Housing:

Affordable housing is defined by housing programs of the federal government, the Florida Affordable Housing Act of 1986, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and local housing agencies. Affordable housing is defined as housing for which monthly rents or mortgage payments, including taxes, insurance and utilities do not exceed 30 percent of that amount which represents the percentage of the median adjusted gross annual income for the households or persons indicated in Section 420.0004, Florida Statutes. For renter-occupied housing, this percentage would include monthly contract rent and utilities.

The five categories used to define affordable housing are; extremely low income, very low income, low income, moderate income, and workforce housing. Each is defined below. The income ranges are based on the median household income for an area.


Agrotourism involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch, including a wide variety of activities such as buying produce direct from a farm stand, navigating a corn maze, farm to table dinners, picking fruit, feeding animals, or staying at a bed and breakfast (B&B) on a farm.

Best Management Practices (BMPs):

BMPs are Turf and landscape practices or combination of practices based on research, field-testing and expert review, determined to be the most effective and practicable on-location means, including economic and technological considerations, for improving water quality, conserving water supplies and protecting natural resources.

Comp Plan (AKA Comprehensive Growth Management Plan):

The Comp Plan is a document designed to guide the future actions of a community. It presents a vision for the future, with long-range goals and objectives for all activities that affect the local government. This includes guidance on how to make decisions on public and private land development proposals, the expenditure of public funds, availability of tax policy (tax or the rehabilitation of older neighborhoods areas. 

Community Redevelopment Area (CRA):

A slum or blighted area, or an area with a shortage of housing that is affordable to residents of low or moderate income, including the elderly; or a coastal and tourist area that is deteriorating and economically distressed due to outdated building density patterns, inadequate transportation and parking facilities, faulty lot layout or inadequate street layout; or a combination thereof; and designated by the governing body as appropriate for community redevelopment. 


Means the carrying out of any building, clearing, filling, or excavation or the making of any material change in the size or use of any structures or the appearance of any land. When appropriate to the context, "construction" refers to the act of construction or the result of construction.


Development means the carrying out of any building activity or mining operation, the making of any material change in the use or appearance of any structure or land, or the dividing of land into three or more parcels.


Discharge means any direct or indirect introduction of any solid, liquid or gaseous matter. It includes, but is not limited to, any release, spilling, leaking, seeping, pouring, emitting, emptying, pumping, placing or dumping of any substance or material.

Infill Development:

Development occurring in vacant areas in the urbanized parts of the County.

Leap-frog Development:

Developments located beyond the fringe of urban development where the planned provision of urban services cannot be assured in a cost-effective manner and where community planning goals would be adversely affected.

Live-work Units:

Buildings or structures used jointly for commercial and residential purposes where the residential use of the space is secondary or accessory to the primary place of work.

Living Shorelines:

Natural Living Shoreline:

An environmentally sound practice that uses materials and methods of construction intended to stabilize shorelines and reduce erosion while simultaneously enhancing environmental function by providing habitat for marine organisms, grasses, fish and wildlife.  Natural shorelines include seagrasses and oysters that stab live submerged sediments and reduce wave energy on the shoreline at the water’s edge, smooth cord grass and mangrove trees support a gradual slope.  These living shorelines can be a cost effective alternative to seawalls and rip rap when properly designed and located.  Even existing seawalls can have a living shoreline component.  Permitting for coastal protection may be easier if the proposed project allows a loving shoreline to persist.

Rip Rap Shoreline:

Rip rap is a sloped barrier of rocks that absorbs wave action where moderate/hi8gh wave energy causes erosion.  Natural limestone (coquina) is generally recommended because it supports native plant and animal species, slowly breaks down into sand/shell, and provides surfaces for oysters to live.

Seawall Shoreline:

Seawalls are hardened structures of concrete, wood, or vinyl designed to reduce erosion of sediment exposed to moderate/high wave energy.  Although upland soil is retrained, sediment on the water side of the wall can be lost.  These structures are expensive to build and maintain.

Mixed-use Project (MUP):

A parcel of land, with one or more buildings, containing more than one land use type where the land uses are in close proximity, are planned as a unified, complementary whole and are functionally integrated for the use of shared infrastructure.


Any dredged spoil; solid waste; incinerator residue; sewage; garbage; sewage sludge; munitions; medical wastes: chemical wastes; biological materials; radioactive materials; heat; wrecked or discharged equipment; rock; sand; cellar dirt; and industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste, and certain characteristics of wastewater (e.g., pH, temperature, TSS, turbidity, color, BOD, COD, toxicity, or odor).

Polluted Water:

Water to which no constituent has been added, either intentionally or accidentally, which would render such water unacceptable to any person having jurisdiction thereof for disposal to storm or natural drains or directly to surface waters.


The manmade or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological, and radiological integrity of water

Rural Area:

The area of Martin County not included in the urban service district, generally located west of the Turnpike in the north, and west of I-95 in the central and south parts of the county

Septic System (AKA On-site sewage treatment and disposal system):

A sewage treatment and disposal facility which contains a drainfield system and an anaerobic or aerobic treatment system, installed or proposed to be installed on land of the owner, as further defined in the Standards for On-Site Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems, of the State of Florida Department of Health, Chapter 64E-6, Florida Administrative Code


The flow of water resulting from rainfall; any flow occurring during or following any form of natural precipitation and resulting therefrom; means any surface runoff and drainage from land surfaces, including the surfaces of buildings and other hardened surfaces on the land, consisting entirely of water from rainfall events and devoid of pollutants.

Surface Water:

Aquatic areas that include, but are not limited to rivers, lakes, streams, springs, impoundments, wetlands, and all other water or bodies of water, including fresh, brackish, saline, tidal or surface.

Urban Sprawl:

A development pattern requiring the extension of public facilities and services in an inefficient manner, and failing to provide a clear separation between urban and rural uses.

Urban Development:

Commercial and industrial uses and densities in excess of two units per acre or lot sizes one-half acre or smaller.

Urban Services Area:

A defined area in which water and/or wastewater service is provided by a regional utility.


Areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. Water saturation (hydrology) largely determines how the soil develops and the types of plant and animal communities living in and on the soil. Wetlands may support both aquatic and terrestrial species. The prolonged presence of water creates conditions that favor the growth of specially adapted plants (hydrophytes) and promote the development of characteristic wetland (hydric) soils.