Barnes revs up for ATV park site
St. Lucie County Commissioner Cliff Barnes, who recently bought a new all-terrain vehicle, vowed Thursday to try to speed rule changes to allow an ATV park at St. Lucie County International Airport.
"I'll put it on Tuesday's commission agenda to find the quickest way to make it legal to operate ATVs there," Barnes said. "We'll start changing the regulations so they'll be ready when we start to build the park."
County zoning laws now allow ATV parks only on 100 acres of land zoned for agricultural use.
The airport property is zoned for industrial and utilities use.
Barnes seemed surprised when Community Development Director Dennis Murphy and bicycle path coordinator Karen Butcher told him the county has to follow the same procedures as any other developer.
"What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," Murphy said. "We have to follow our own rules."
It could take up to four months of legal advertisements, meetings and public hearings before a zoning change could be approved. The same is true if commissioners should decide to add ATV parks as permitted uses in industrial or utilities zones.
Barnes and several county employees who are ATV enthusiasts are among the members of a committee mapping plans for construction of a temporary ATV park on airport property.
They hope admission and other fees will raise money to buy a permanent site in western St. Lucie County.
The county's Environmental Resources Division will have to mark wetlands and other features on the property that can't be disturbed by ATVs.
Commissioners will discuss the proposal at their meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.