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Dear Friends of AgTEC,
We are pleased to share our good news with you!
On Tuesday, July 12, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners approved our first, small AgTEC project with a vote of 3-2, with Commissioners Smith, Haddox and Scott voting in support.  We appreciate Commissioners Smith and Haddox for their ongoing support, and their recognition of the importance of creating high paying jobs that will expand Martin County's tax base. 
We are proud of the time and effort we spent working with county staff during the past two years to create a project that meets all of the rules and regulations of Martin County's Comprehensive Plan and also provides a framework for future applicants, so they too, will have clear guidance on how to conform to the AgTEC vision and land use policies.  Going into the Commissioner meeting, our project had earned a staff recommendation of approval as well as approval from the Local Planning Agency. 
While small, our first project has been designed to do the following:
  • Provide the framework for future projects to follow
  • Demonstrate that Martin County is open for good, quality business
  • Create shovel-ready sites that can be marketed to end users and site selectors and potentially become the location for a corporate regional headquarters, agriculturally related research and development, life sciences, support facilities and other uses
  • Create jobs, diversify the local economy and increase Martin County's tax base
  • Re-purpose a former citrus grove that was destroyed by greening and create opportunities for new forms of agricultural use
  • Help to advance the planning efforts for the Martin Grade Scenic Highway by establishing a planting plan and buffer that will help ensure that Martin Highway remains a unique driving experience
  • Begin the process for reestablishment of wildlife habitat and the creation and preservation of open space
  • Help to improve the water quality of the St. Lucie River by
    • Working with the South Florida Water Management District to create opportunities to convey water from the C-23 canal to the C-44 reservoir, where it can be stored and treated prior to being released into the C-44 canal
    • Holding 100% of our stormwater on our project site
    • Storing more water on other portions of the AgTEC land use category so it can be used as a temporary dispersed storage site during the Governor's emergency order related to the blue-green algae blooms that have negatively impacted the river and estuary
If you'd like to watch the review and approval process, which took about four hours throughout the course of the day, the first portion is here
and the last segment here: MC BCC Meeting 7-12-16 afternoon portion
As you watch the video you will observe that Martin County staff did an excellent job presenting our project to the County Commissioners, handled cross-examination with grace and professionalism, and provided sound legal advice when called upon to provide clarification.  Likewise, we are proud of the way our project team continues to represent us and our project throughout this lengthy process, always showing respect and gratitude to all those with whom we interact.  Unfortunately, as you may see in certain portions of the hearing, there were moments where this level of courtesy and respect was not extended to our representatives. 
As the largest private landowner in the county, we have long been a supporter of the community, especially Indiantown, and have been thoughtful stewards of our land.  We have the vision, longevity, expertise and financial wherewithal to plan things in a slow and thoughtful manner.  We are able to invest the time, expertise and financial resources to properly vet prospective employers and end users who may want to locate in Martin County to ensure they will be a good fit for the community.
Our company desires to be a strong and effective partner with the community and with Martin County elected officials and staff.  Citizens look to their elected officials for leadership, wise-decision making and civility in all of their public discourse. 
AgTEC is an opportunity for Martin County to achieve its goal of good, appropriate economic development and diversification of its tax base, the continuation of agriculture and opportunities for environmental restoration and enhancement.  We continue to remain hopeful that we can find common ground on how to move forward together in these endeavors.  

Mitch Hutchcraft
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The Agricultural & Targeted Employment Center (AgTEC)
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