Master Site Plan For Newfield Phase 1 Approved By Martin County Commissioners
Martin County’s Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 today to approve the Master Site Plan for Phase 1 of the innovative Newfield mixed-use community, which will set a new standard for traditional neighborhood design and open-space preservation on the Treasure Coast.
At the same time, it approved the creation of a Community Development District (CDD) encompassing 2,212 of the project’s 3,411 acres, to facilitate funding the infrastructure and amenities that Newfield will need over its estimated 20 years of development.
The 1,199 acres of pristine natural lands not placed in the CDD will be protected forever under two or more county-sponsored PAMPs—”Preserve Area Management Plans”—that are a centerpiece of Newfield.
These lands—added to another 1,100 acres of open space like playing fields, farms and groves, school grounds, recreational parks and small squares and greens within the new town—will bring the combined open space at Newfield to an unprecedented 70% of the total acreage. Open space at Newfield–open to the enjoyment of all county residents, without gates—will be several times the size of the county’s current largest park, Halpatiokee.
The natural areas in the PAMPs will become the Kiplinger Conservancy, crisscrossed by trails for hikers, mountain bikers and horses, skirting beautiful wetlands, pastures and upland hammocks. Agriculture—the biggest legacy industry of Martin County—will live on in more than 100 acres of farms and groves in Newfield. The Conservancy will also include the county’s first relocation space for gopher tortoises threatened by loss of habitat elsewhere in the county.
The BOCC also approved the developer agreement under which Newfield will either contribute impact fees to the county or build public facilities, covering the cost of the county’s providing basic services to Newfield’s new residents in the years to come. This agreement—plus the new CDD, plus the regular county taxes that residents will pay—all assure that “development will pay for itself,” a long tradition in Martin County.
Several commissioners praised the Newfield concept—and especially the amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Plan and form-based zoning code, proposed by Newfield in 2018 and approved by the BOCC—which make this new kind of community possible.
Doug Smith, vice chair of the county commission and a longtime advocate of this kind of town planning, called Newfield “a gift to our community—a world-class opportunity to create someplace special. If Knight Kiplinger had done what he could have done by right (under the existing zoning), it could have gone in a different direction… just another South Florida suburban neighborhood.”
Commissioner Ed Ciampi, whose Palm City district includes Newfield, said the Newfield design “is the most detailed plan ever submitted to the county.” He praised Mr. Kiplinger’s “vision” and said Newfield will be “a legacy of the Kiplinger family.”
The Master Site Plan for Phase 1 encompasses the 139 acres at the midway point of Citrus Boulevard between Boat Ramp Avenue and the C-23 Canal. As it will be the Newfield town center, it will have greater density than later neighborhoods of Newfield radiating outward. It is zoned for 1,251 residential units of varying types, sizes and prices, including single-family detached dwellings, town houses, and condominiums and rental apartments. Mixed with the housing will be space for local retail stores, recreational amenities, restaurants and small offices.
Work on the horizontal infrastructure of Newfield—such as grading, stormwater management features, sewer, water, electricity and telecommunications cables—will likely begin later this winter or early spring. Interior roads and streets will follow, enabling homebuilding to begin by the end of 2021 or early 2022. The total buildout of the community, eventually totaling 4,250 residential units, could take 20 or more years.
Newfield will adjoin, on its east, Martin Enterprise Park, some 300 acres of prime, fully zoned light-industrial, R&D, manufacturing, warehouse and corporate office space, lying in a triangle between the Florida Turnpike, Citrus Boulevard and Boat Ramp Avenue. It is the county’s largest, best-located employment space, ready for expanding local business or attracting new ones.