Two Towns in Martin County - Palm Beach Post

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HOBE SOUND
Indiantown and Hobe Sound, two of Martin County’s oldest communities, want to be towns.

“We’re a small seaside town and we want to stay a small seaside town,” said Mike Ennis, a 60-year-old contractor who is one of the leaders in the drive for incorporation of Hobe Sound.

Control of zoning and building codes is one of the main benefits of incorporation, say supporters from both areas.

“Our two biggest challenges are that we are losing jobs and we need workforce housing. People should be able to live where they work,” said Brian Powers, 50, the owner of Indiantown Gas and a leader of a group supporting incorporation of Indiantown.

The Martin County legislative delegation unanimously agreed Thursday to propose a bill in the 2017 legislative session to call for a referendum to incorporate Hobe Sound and Indiantown. If passed by the House and Senate, and signed by the governor, a vote will be held in both areas in November to decide if incorporation will take place.

“Our communities want to keep their character and I think as they grow they are afraid that might be lost,” state Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, said at the meeting at Stuart Town Hall.

Martin County, which has a population of about 150,000, has four incorporated communities. They are Stuart, Jupiter Island, Sewell’s Point and Ocean Breeze.
Along with Hobe Sound and Indiantown, unincorporated areas in Martin County include Hutchinson Island, Port Salerno, Jensen Beach and Rio.

Both Indiantown and Hobe Sound, like The Acreage near Royal Palm Beach and Kennedy Estates near Jupiter, have no town councils. Their representatives are the county commissioner who represents their district.

Hobe Sound, in southeastern Martin County, would be a town of about 15,000 residents.

Hobe Sound would hire a town manager, assistant town manager, finance director/comptroller, town clerk/treasurer and administrative assistant. Estimates put the total annual cost in salary and benefits at about $675,000, according to the website established by incorporation supporters.

Indiantown, in far western Martin County near the border with Palm Beach County, would become a town of about 6,000 residents. Town voters would elect a five-member town council. The town would hire an administrator, Powers said.
Both communities would keep the Martin County fire and sheriff’s services.
Persuading voters that incorporation is not another layer of government that will raise their taxes is a big challenge, Ennis and Powers agreed.

“In the end, I think their taxes will go down,” Powers said, although residents will still be responsible for paying property taxes to the county as well as the new town.
Both
Hobe Sound and Indiantown supporters of incorporation have websites promoting their cause and asking residents to sign petitions and contribute money. Both will continue to hold public meetings to try to win support.

Indiantown originally was established by the Seminole native Americans as a trading post. It was settled by Europeans in the 1890s. The community is known for having one of the top thoroughbred horse racing facilities in the United States.
Monkees frontman Davy Jones kept a stable of thoroughbred horses in Indiantown.
Hobe Sound originally was settled in late 1600s when British merchant ship Reformation, on its way from Jamaica to Philadelphia, sank off the coast just north of the Jupiter Inlet. After being forced ashore, Captain Jonathan Dickinson and crew encountered two local Indian tribes, the Hobe Sound (Jove/Jobe Indians), and Tequesta (Tekestas Indians).

Where the towns aren’t

Unincorporated communities in Martin County and their estimated population.
Jensen Beach — 12,000
Hutchinson Island — 11,000
Port Salerno — 10,000
Rio — 1,000