Home News Final decision on Stuart Costco project pushed to 2023 after state reschedules meeting

Final decision on Stuart Costco project pushed to 2023 after state reschedules meeting

Final decision on Stuart Costco project pushed to 2023 after state reschedules meeting

STUART — In the long-running dispute over a key aspect of the controversial Costco project, the community will have to wait another month for a final verdict from the state. 

The Dec. 13 Administration Commission meeting, which was to consider the issue, has been postponed until Jan. 17, according to state Deputy Press Secretary Jeremy Redfern. The commission — consisting of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis  — is to determine whether the City Commission violated its Comprehensive Plan in approving the project’s land use: neighborhood special district. 

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The land-use assignment of the 49-acre property on South Kanner Highway paved the way for the project itself: a Costco Wholesale Corp. store, an 18-pump gas station, 378 apartments and stores and restaurant space.

The land use and project were approved by the City Commission in August 2021.

One month later, Stuart resident Robin Cartwright filed a challenge at the state level against the land-use aspect. After a two-day hearing, Judge Francine Ffolkes, of the state Division of Administrative Hearings, in April ruled against the city. 

City officials disputed Ffolkes’ ruling, arguing she focused on the zoning aspect of the project instead of the land use. Now it’s up to the Administration Commission to decide. 

The commission discussed the issue at its August meeting, opting to issue a verdict at a later date because attorneys were still analyzing the case.

Local environmentalists recently called on Stuart officials to withdraw the city’s objection to Ffolkes’ ruling. They cited a memo from attorney Richard Grosso, who argued the city could do so without facing legal repercussions from the developer. Grosso represents Cartwright. 

The City Commission last month rejected, 2-2,  having a discussion over withdrawing its objection, with commissioners Campbell Rich and Christopher Collins voting in favor. Commissioner Eula Clarke was absent.  


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