Editorial/Opinion – The City of Sebastian will again have the opportunity to annex more land to control its growth during Florida’s population boom. The Graves Brothers own the land that consists of 1,984 acres. It sits south of Sebastian, along CR-510, west of 74th Avenue, and north of 69th Street.
At the City Council meeting on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., they will discuss the annexation. The applicant has requested a Mixed Use land use to comply with the City’s adopted Comprehensive Plan 2040. If approved, there will be a public hearing on September 14, 2022.
Annexing land from the Graves Brothers is nothing new. Most of Sebastian was logged and cleared by the Graves Brothers. Over the years, the City annexed the land to expand. Chances are, your home and property were made available in Sebastian because it was annexed.
There’s been a lot of misinformation brewing again on social media by people trying to scare citizens and the same environmental groups who attempted to deceive people in 2019.
Misinformation About Sebastian’s Annexation
The annexation was a hot topic in 2019 during the City Council elections when three candidates ran on the anti-annexation platform. However, they were removed from public office during the Sebastian recall.
In addition, most environmental non-profit groups and the people against growth placed signs throughout the City that read “Save Sebastian” as if something horrible was about to unfold.
The misinformation also led citizens and non-citizens of Sebastian to ambush a City Council meeting during a vote for the annexation. People got all worked up after reading and listening to all the misinformation.
Many non-profits suggested the City would install 3,600 septic tanks on the property, warning that the County would not provide sewer. They didn’t do their research because Sebastian has an ordinance prohibiting septic systems in new subdivisions. Also, a County official told Sebastian Daily that they would provide utilities such as sewer to the property.
Some people even said the council members were receiving backdoor deals from the developers to push for the annexation—all without evidence to back up their false allegations.
Why would developers need the annexation anyway? They can build on it either way. It was a smear campaign, mainly by the same people who are already trying to dupe people again on social media.
To educate the public about the annexation, Sebastian Daily interviewed councilman and former Mayor Ed Dodd in 2020 to discuss the facts about the annexation in Sebastian.
Why Is Annexation Good For Sebastian?
It’s a good thing because Sebastian can control growth and receive taxes. If Sebastian does not annex the land, the County will build on it. Do you think the County has our best interest? Look at the tall senior living center on U.S. Highway 1 near Reflections on the River. Under Sebastian’s code, that building would only be two stories, not three.
If we do not annex the property, no matter what the size is, The County will build on it anyway. Then, residents will use our docks, boat ramps, parks, and other resources without paying any tax to Sebastian. Your taxes would probably increase to pay for their usage.
Mayor Jim Hill once said not to let the environmental groups in Vero Beach dictate Sebastian’s future. We cannot stop growth, but we can control it to better suit the people of Sebastian.
In 2019, a non-profit group sued the City of Sebastian over the annexation. The City lost due to a minor technicality, while the environmental group thought they did an excellent thing for the citizens of Sebastian. Instead, it was a great disservice to the citizens.
The annexation is back on the table with more land than before, and we certainly need it. We have built upon almost every empty lot in our City. It would’ve been better had we annexed to build out west.
Last year, I also wrote an editorial about the Sebastian annexation, and it’s a good read if you want more facts.