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The Palm Beach Ibst msl SECTION B RENTAL DEALS Car rental prices are creeping lower - if you're traveling here from the North. BUSINESS, 9B A SAD LOSS Stuart visionary Janet Andrien will be missed. " WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1997 DOCALNE if ' JERl BUTLER, ID Port St. Lucie sets roadblock to Martin development Port St. Lucie Blvd. Westmorelandl k By Stephanie Desmon Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ; STUART - It's a small stretch of road on the northern edge of Martin County, but it's becoming the center of a tug-of-war between the county and its neighbor, the city of Port St. Lucie. - 'Angry Port St Lucie officials told Martin County commissioners Tuesday they object to a developer's plan to connect a new road to Westmoreland Boulevard between U.S. 1 and the St. Lucie County line a stretch that actually is owned and maintained by Port St Lucie. : - No one bothered to get their approval, they said. No one asked, even though the development will add traffic as city residents use the street as a shortcut to new West Jensen shopping centers. And officials suggested they could close the county's section of the road if developers don't get permission from the city. "It's not necessarily true that we have to keep it operating as a road," Port St Lucie City Attorney Roger Orr told commissioners. Also, he said, "it doesn't mean someone can willy-nilly come in and say, We're going to plug into your roads.' " The discussion came as Mar commissioners, who have long complained that residents of the county to the north cause Martin County's notorious traffic woes. "We haven't imposed any extra guidelines on you," said Commissioner Elmira Gainey. "You can't discriminate," said Martin County Attorney Gary Oldehoff. "You can't say, We're only going to let in so many cars and they all have to show a badge." Both Port St Lucie and Martin County officials said they think the developers will need city permission to link the roads andagree the project will add extra traffic to Westmoreland. tin commissioners considered a proposal by the Jensen Beach Land Development Co., developers of the controversial West Jensen project to increase retail space within the 1,100-acre development decrease the residential element and reconfigure the roads and parcels. The commission sent the proposal back, asking for a resolution to the Westmoreland Boulevard issue before discussing it again on Jan. 13. Also, West Jensen's attorney, Linda Mc-Cann, said her client will withdraw its request for more stores but will keep more than 700,000 square feet of retail space. A road named Goldenrod would start at Jensen Beach Boulevard, cross over U.S. 1 and end at the section of Westmoreland Boulevard within the Martin County borders. It was supposed to end at a different road one that hasn't been built yet but plans have been changed. Port St. Lucie officials have not approved anything regarding West Jensen. Orr said the lure of the new stores including B J.'s Warehouse Club, Lowe's and Publix will cause traffic tie-ups. Orr said the road was designed for Port St. Lucie residents. That got angry response from ism i Jensen A Beach Sjjnset Blvi Blvd. oio o o UJ" 7 North Fork oP Jensen i. at. Itirie 3 9? Beach i 1 5 ' River h5 SEAN TEVISStaff Artis Shadow shooting y y , BOB SHANLEYStaff Photographer found himself odd man out when teams of three were chosen. He occupied his time shooting hoops at the other end of the court. PORT ST. LUCIE Patrick Mike takes a shot at Lyngate Park Tuesday afternoon. He had met with some co-workers for a pickup game, but County attorney says dropping suit doesn't violate Sunshine Law Sea Wind will sell off 2,500 acres with strings The developer could renege unless Martin OKs higher density on its plans for the remainder of the tract: By Sally D. Swartz Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Developers of SeaWind, which one day could be Martin County's largest development, have agreed to sell the state nearly half of the land for $15.2 million. The agreement would preserve 2,500 acres of the Atlantic Ridge, a pristine tract filled with wetlands and scrub habitat between Port Salerno and Hobe Sound. But the deal, which the South Florida Water Management District's board of directors still must approve, allows SeaWind to back out if Martin County doesn't approve changes the developer is seeking in the county's growth plan. r This is fairly unusual," said Bill Malone, negotiator for the water district. "It does allow SeaWind the option of canceling the deal." The water district isn't trying to pressure the county to change its growth management plan, he said. The deal won't be final for six to eight months. Malone said water managers, who negotiated the deal through the district's Save Our Rivers program, would have preferred no strings, but decided a "possible deal" is better than nothing. '. "I hope the deal does go through," Martin County Commissioner Donna Melzer said, "but I'm not going to sacrifice our comp plan for 2,500 acres." SeaWind representatives didn't return repeated phone calls. They originally proposed a 6,400-acre commercial and residential development that would have: been scattered throughout the property. Developers envisioned a project with 7,500 homes and apartments built over the next 25 years. -1 After hearing criticism that the plans would destroy environmentally sensitive land, SeaWind officials decided to sell the portion of the land to the state and scale down the number of residences to 3,500. 1 They hope to convince the county to change its growth plan to let them build more homes closer together on the remaining land, which would de-, i HeaseseeSEAmm8B Russian millionaire hid criminal past, INS officials say Despite two Russian convictions, . Alexander Tarantsev claimed he had never been convicted of a crime ' when he applied for a visa. ; By Val Ellicott Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH A Russian citizen who runs a Moscow-based business empire was arrested in Palm Beach last week on charges of concealing his criminal record from U.S. immigration authorities, j Alexander Tarantsev, 40, obtained two 3-year U.S. visas one in May and another in October, according to court papers. In completing the application forms for each visa, he said he never had been arrested or convicted of a crime. In fact, Tarantsev was convicted of crimes in September 1979 and June 1982 in Russia, Brian Cook, a special agent with the U.S. State Department, said in a Nov. 4 affidavit. In the first case, Tarantsev was convicted of criminal conspiracy and fraud and was sentenced to four years in a detention center. In the 1982 case, he received a 6-year sentence at a maximum security detention center for "misappropriation of another's property by way of deception or breach of trust," Cook reported. Please see TARANTSEV7B But four commissioners contacted Tuesday Chairwoman Donna Melzer, Dennis Armstrong, Elmira Gainey and Marshal "Bud" Wilcox said they did not direct Oldehoff to drop the suit and were surprised to find out he had dismissed it without telling them. "We did not direct that action," said Melzer, one of three commissioners who favored filing the suit. "I understood from (Oldehoff) that was something the lawyers can do if they come to that point in the litigation." The lawsuit was filed Oct 8 one day after commissioners voted 3-2 to pursue the issue in cir- Please see LAWSUIT75 lenge the annexation and this was part of my following up on that direction," he said. Oldehoff dismissed the suit a week after Circuit Judge Charles Smith denied the county's request to delay the court action until after the administrative hearings were concluded. "It was a decision I made that we could present the same case in (the Department of Administrative Hearings) and did not need the other case in circuit court," he said. Oldehoff initially told a reporter Monday that commissioners gave him direction at a Nov. 4 closed-door executive session to dismiss the court action, though they took no vote. By Pat Moore Palm Beach Post Staff Writer STUART Martin County Attorney Gary Oldehoff dropped a lawsuit against the city of Stuart Monday without permission from the county commission, and without a public hearing. i The hearing is required by a court order which resolved a Sunshine Law suit earlier this year with The Palm Beach Post. Oldehoff, who became county attorney after The Post's suit ended in April, said he did not believe a public vote was necessary to drop the suit that sought to keep the city from annexing hundreds of acres of land. "I had direction from the county commissioners to chal t, l v,"v Vv' Hispanic births up in St. Lucie County Low birth weights by race Low birth weights have risen during the last five years. 12 -7 ( 10 8 6 4 2 PAUL J. MILETTEStaff Photographer r " " White r- I Hispanic By Susannah A. Nesmith Palm Beach Post Staff Writer ' The Healthy Start Coalition of St. Lucie County has hired a Hispanic resource worker to help the growing number of Hispanic women in the county who are having babies. Coalition director Sylvie Kramer said Tuesday she decided to hire the extra worker after analyzing statistics that showed the number of Hispanic births has risen an average of 12 percent a year for the past five years. Countywide, births are down. : "My gut' feeling is telling me that it's more a migration problem than a fertility problem," Kramer said. "My problem is, when we're making so much progress with other groups, why is it that this group is still going up?" Last year, 247 Hispanic babies were born in the county. There were 2,140 babies born overall. Figures were not available to determine if the number of Hispanic adults in the county has also risen. Kramer's statistics also showed increases in the number and the percentage of low birth weight ba- bies born in the county. There were 182 low birth weight babies born last year, up from 157 in 1992. The coalition works to reduce at-risk pregnancies and improve the health of children through prenatal . ' i 1 . Stars, stripes and sea cows 0 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Source: Healthy Start Coalition of St. Lucie County, Inc. FORT PIERCE Fred Brock, a volunteer with the Manatee Observation and Education Center, raises a manatee flag along with the U.S. flag Tuesday morning. The flag is raised each day manatees are spotted in nearby Moore's Creek. Four manatees were sighted in the creek early Tuesday. SEAN TEVISStaff Artist and postnatal care and counseling. Kramer believes the rise in low birth weight babies can be explained in part by the decrease in the infant mortality rate. Some of the babies who have survived add to the population of at-risk infants. Infant mortality in the county has slowed to a rate of 9.9 per 1,000 births from 10.8 per 1,000 births in 1992.