A house in Fort Pierce, which was built in 1911, could soon see itself surrounded by 288 apartments.
According to St. Lucie County staff, Paul R. Budick wants to build seven three-story apartment buildings on 7075 Indrio Road. The Miami-Dade County-based developer’s project would surround another property called Florindia, the former home of Edwin Binney, who invented crayons and dusk-free chalk.
Binney, who died in 1934 is founder with his cousin C. Harold Smith of the handicrafts company Binney and Smith, which marketed his invention of the Crayola crayon.
The property isn’t a registered historical place, according to the planner for the developer.
The property would also contain a clubhouse, guest parking, community garden, recreational open space, dog park and community pool, according to county staff.
County Records show Janie Baugh co-owns the Florindia, which is commonly referred to as the Binney estate. She said during a county meeting Thursday that the proposal to build an apartment would ruin the property.
“This will destroy, along with the integrity of our property, not just the look of the property, but the house itself,” Baugh said.
County records show the developer has made specific changes to the proposal to maintain architectural uniformity in the area.
Dennis Jurkiewicz, who is the other co-owner of the Binney Estate, along with others, said the proposal also doesn’t go far enough to protect the site’s environment.
“I don’t see any changes, really, to this project,” Jurkiewicz said. “Very little, if any. Some aesthetics. (They’re) still going to clear the entire property.”
Environmental issues existed when Jim Chalmers tried to create his RV Resort, which is less than a mile from the Binney house.
He said he faced pushback from the Binney estate as well to create a RV resort with 146 lots for RVs equipped with a lazy river, wave pool, another pool with a waterfall and then a bar. Chalmers said he spent about $40,000 to move natural trees to the property.
“It’s not the cheapest way to do it,” he said. “But I don’t think I would have got this project approved without a comprehensive tree mitigation plan.”
Lindsey Libes, who is the vice president of civil engineering at WGI and is working as the planner for the developer on this project, said it plans to have additional meetings with people and scale back the number of units on the property
“We will continue to listen to the community to ensure that the project complements the historic importance of the adjacent property and preserves an idyllic experience for all local residents,” she said in an email to WPTV. “We are confident that the development will ultimately prove to be a valuable contribution to the growing Indrio Road corridor.”