Maggy Hurchalla speaks out regarding Lake Point
This week their lawyers wrote me a letter saying that it was possibly a poor choice of words. They apologized and admitted that it might be possible for readers to think that
The Lake Point property is a little over 2000 acres in western Martin County. It is just south of SR 76 and the St. Lucie Canal and just a few miles east of Lake Okeechobee.
In 2005 Trucane Sugar (Florida Crystals) sold the north half to the Blakely’s who planned a 20 acre agricultural subdivision for polo players. They obtained preliminary approval from Martin County.
Martin County was promised that a 150 acre conservation area would be deeded to them for public use free of charge.
On August 11 2016 Judge McManus issued an order in the case that concluded:
The Acquisition and Development Agreement is not ambiguous and it clearly states nothing about selling water or reserving the rights to sell water.
- On the water issue they set a precedent that may change Florida water law. Right now the people of Florida own the waters in the aquifer beneath our feet and the waterways around us. Users can get a temporary water use permit for a reasonable beneficial use. The settlement appears to let Lake Point sell its “irrigation rights” to another user with a different use. That appears to privatize public water and give permit holders permanent ownership
- The original agreement ended in 2029. Lake Point was allowed to mine rock for twenty years. It provided for turning over land to the District for stormwater treatment areas early in the 20 mining term. The new agreement lets Lake Point mine for 50 years and doesn’t require that any land be turn over to the District until 2067. A lot of us think that if we haven’t saved our river by then it will be dead.
- The settlement awards a no bid contract to Lake Point to supply riprap to SFWMD for the next 15 years. Whether they need it or not, the District will have to buy 50,000 tons a year of riprap from Lake Point or pay a large penalty. If a court rules this year that the no-bid exclusive contract is illegal, taxpayers in South Florida will be required to pay Lake Point $19 million dollars.
- The original agreement was a trade. Lake Point would get to dig rock for 20 years. The District would get free land for a stormwater treatment area, and Lake Point would provide valuable fill and earthwork for the stormwater treatment area and would complete the stormwater lakes to permit specifications. The settlement removes Lake Point’s obligation to do any of these things. They no longer have obligations. They can sell rock for 50 years and sell water. In 50 years the District might use the 800 acres and the 1000 acre holes in the ground for some environmental purpose, but there is no requirement to do so. That’s the District settlement. The Martin County settlement agrees with everything in the District settlement. It appears to give Lake Point everything it asked for. It would take too long to list all the changes.There are interesting examples.
- It changes what is allowed in the A2 zoning category. That’s the zoning that the five acre rural lots in Martin County have. It didn’t allow mining and cement plants. It does now. Martin County was required by the settlement to expedite the changeto the A2 zoning. The agreement requires that, if homeowners on a five acre lot questioned what was happening to their rural neighborhood and sued, the County would be required to fight the suit and seek sanctions. That’s right. Your County Commissioners have agreed to sue you and seek monetary damages if you question what they did to your area’s zoning.
- The County is required to buy 400 acres from Lake Point for $12 million. Commissioner Ciampi pointed out that residents won’t use the land.I looked up the appraiser’s market value for 167 acres of that 400 acres. The total value of the 167 acres is set at $142,000 or $850 an acre. The County is paying Lake Point $30,000 an acre for the 400 acres.But don’t start saying it’s a bad deal or it will get worse and will cost taxpayers even more. The County agreed to put up $4 million in escrow immediately. If they don’t close the sale and give Lake Point $12 million by January 18. 2018, we lose our $4 million escrow, we get no property, and we agree to be sued for breach of contract. Finally, the County was forced to apologize and grovel on your behalf and agree that:Lake Point is an important and integral part of environmental restoration and regional water supply in the South Florida region. They agreed that:Lake Poimt contributes in a meaningful and environmentally responsible way to the creation of the Public Works Project by excavating land.
It is a vital component to the orderly growth of the County.
The County acknowledges Lake Point as a good corporate citizen and appreciates the efforts of Lake Point regarding its contribution to the Public Works Project and to the wellbeing of Martin County and its citizens.
It reminds me of the playground bully who beats up his victim abd rubs his face in the mud and demands that he say : “Uncle”.
It feels like Alice in Wonderland where the Red Queen wrote the contract so that if you don’t grovel, pay out millions, and give away the store the result is:
“Off with their heads!”
- But it’s not the Commissioners who will lose their heads. It’s taxpayers and the people who live here.
NO BID CONTRACT FOR ROCK SALES
VIII. District Purchase of Material from Lake Point.
(The County has amended its borrowing rules to allow it to borrow $15 million for Lake Point expenses. The County will receive 400 acres adjacent to the excavation and must provide access across it.).)
Sale of Acquired Property to the County.
Conveyance and Purchase Price. Lake Point shall convey to the County a portion of the Lake Point Property (“Acquired Property”) pursuant to the Purchase and Sale Agreement, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit B (the “Purchase and Sale Agreement”), which shall be executed by the County Administrator and Lake Point and upon approval of the County Board of County Commissioners shall become effective. The purchase price for the County Acquired Property shall be twelve million dollars ($12,000,000) to be paid to Lake Point via wire transfer of cleared funds on the Closing Date (defined in the Purchase and Sale Agreement).
The County shall place four million dollars ($4,000,000) in escrow with Lake Point’s legal counsel, as Escrow Agent, in the manner set forth in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. The deposit of funds placed into escrow shall become non-refundable according to the terms stated in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. Should the County fail to close on the Acquired Property on the Closing Date, if such failure to close is not the result of a default by Lake Point, or otherwise default under the Purchase and Sale Agreement, then, at Lake Point’s sole and absolute discretion, this Settlement Agreement shall terminate and become null and void and the Parties shall proceed to trial on the Lawsuit.
In order to be effective, Lake Point must exercise its right to terminate within six (6) months of the Closing Date (defined in the Purchase and Sale Agreement). Lake Point’s termination of this Agreement in conformity with this article shall not divest Lake Point of the deposit placed in escrow that became non-refundable under the terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement, and, in such event, Lake Point may pursue enforcement of any and all remedies available to Lake Point arising from the County’s breach of the Purchase and Sale Agreement, all of which remedies shall be cumulative and not exclusive. For purposes of clarity, however, if Lake Point defaults under the Purchase and Sale Agreement, the County shall not have the right to terminate this Settlement Agreement, which shall remain in full force and effect notwithstanding any default by Lake Point under the Purchase and Sale Agreement, and in such event, the County’s remedies for such default shall be limited to those remedies expressly provided in the Purchase and Sale Agreement.
Closing. The closing of the transaction under the Purchase and Sale Agreement shall occur on January 18, 2018 (the “Closing Date’), time being of the essence, unless this date is extended by the mutual agreement of the Parties.
( Changes the A2 zoning category, Agricultural Ranchettes) to allow mining and “ancillary uses)
Redi-Mix Concrete Plant. Upon approval of the Settlement
ement, the County will consider proposed revisions to Section 3.412, Article 3 of the LDR’s to allow construction of a concrete batch plant on the Lake Point Property, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit D (“Redi-Mix Concrete Plant Amendment’). The County shall expedite the process allowable under the law in order to ensure that the Redi-Mix Concrete Plant Amendment is approved or denied without delay. Should any third party make a challenge to the Redi-Mix Concrete Plant Amendment, the County agrees, at its expense, to move to expedite the consideration and resolution of any such challenge(s) and to seek any and all allowable sanctions against such third-party challenger(s).If the County is successful in obtaining sanctions (including attorneys’ fees and costs) against a thirdparty challenger,the County agrees that it will not waive, forgive or reduce the awarded amount. Lake Point is specifically relying on these representations in order to enter into this Settlement Agreement.