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I live in St. Lucie West and have for just over a year. In my opinion, as far as Florida goes, it's a really nice place that has alot of convenience really close to home. St. Lucie West is a very well maintained town and is really pretty and nicely landscaped. Gated communities are extremely common in St. Lucie West (not as much in Port St. Lucie from what I have seen, though they're everywhere you go pretty much). We live in a gated community, and though alot of people don't like the rules that come with these types of communities, we like it because we don't have neighbors with trailers, boats, broken down vehicles and other random junk laying all over their yards which we do tend to see quite a bit of outside of gated communities. Most of our rules are common sense and are really in place to keep the area beautiful plus we have 2 pools, a hot tub, a workout room and a clubhouse and from what we have been told, we have the lowest hoa dues in St Lucie West. We chose the area because it's MUCH cheaper than Palm Beach and anything else south of here (of course this was before the market went kaput and it's not as crazy as far as traffic, congestion, etc. However, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation right now, so you will experience some traffic (more so during daylight hours it seems) but we rarely wait in lines at the grocery store etc. We have lots of restaurant choices, 3 major grocery stores, a home depot, sears, wal-mart and lots of little shops and stuff within 5-10 minutes of our house, so we really like that we are so close to everything, but since we are in a community, it doesn't feel like you're in the middle of it all if that makes sense. We have noticed that during the summer, alot of the congestion and traffic noticably decreases because the snow birds go back up north.
We are selling our house because we really don't like Florida in general and are going back up north, but if we were ever to come back here, I would definitely look in the same area, but that's just my two cents. Hope it helps a little. No matter what though, I would recommend staying north of PGA Blvd because it is 100x crazier down there.
Turtle has written an excellent review of St. Lucie West; I'm sorry to hear that he doesn't care for Florida and will be leaving, but not everyone likes the same thing.
I would like to clear up one possible misconception that some might feel after reading the review. Turtle makes it sound as if St. Lucie West and Port St. Lucie are different cities. St. Lucie West is not a separate city; it is completely incorporated into the City of Port St. Lucie.
It's an interesting area, however, because there is some separation. 20 years ago, the area that is now St. Lucie West was ranch land. A gentleman named Thomas White bought the entire area, over 6 square miles, and created a new community within the City of Port St. Lucie. As part of his marketing, he built a baseball stadium, gave it to the County recreation department, and attracted the NY Mets to do their Spring Training here (they still do). The St. Lucie Mets play a Summer schedule in the Florida grapefruit league. Mr. White also had the creativity to construct his own exit on I-95, the first one to ever be privately funded.
He was elderly, and over time his family sold the community. It is now being being developed by Core Communities, a division of Levitt.
The community was granted a status that may be unique to Florida, a Special Taxing District. In this type of organization, portions of the taxes that are used by police, schools, fire department and such are passed to the City or the school department, county taxes are collected, but a portion of the taxes are retained by the District and used for their own infrastructure. The District created their own water/sewer department, communitypwide irrigation, and specialized public works to maintain landscaping, etc. The District holds elections for positions as District Directors. The Directors have the authority to set policy for the district concerns, but still must operate within citywide authority.
Recently, problems with the St. Lucie West water plant led to the city's utulity authority taking it over, after a vote by the District Directors to turn it over. Certain things, such as maintenance, as best done by a larger organization with more expertise and can take advantage of scale.
The best part of a Special Taxing District, however, is that they can set higher standards for design, architecture, landscaping, etc. This makes St. Lucie West a bit of a special place within the city; a reputation the residents do everything to push, even to the extent of implying that they are not within the City. They can be forgiven for that.
As Turtle stated, most of the area consists of gated communities, each with different economic "goals" and pricing, although none of them are low income. Just outside of the city limits and further West than St. Lucie West is PGA Village, a gated community owned by the PGA and home to their national golf school. Besides the stadium, St. Lucie West is home to the city's largest movie theater, a new entertainment center including bowling lanes and batting cages, Home Depot and soon Lowes, Walmart and Sears (formerly KMart), and several upscale stores. There is also a very upscale Outdoor Resorts RV park in which only Class A coaches over 25' are permitted, and which generally is occupied by million-dollar Prevosts. RV lots are for sale starting at around $60K; many of the owners spend another $50K having them landscaped.
St. Lucie West is also the home to the PSL campuses of Indian River Community College and Florida Atlantic University. They have formed a unique partnership in which students spend their first two years at the community college and then finish their degrees at the FAU branch; the schools share facilities like the library, auditorium and gymnasium while maintaining separate classrooms.
Finally, the area has a large business park with warehouses and light manufacturing, providing jobs and a boost to the tax base.
All in all, St. Lucie West has been a major improvement to Port St. Lucie. It's not the most expensive area in which to live, but it is a cut above most of the traditional areas of the city.
Thx so much for the comments. They are appreciated. I am a Yankee at heart, I admit, but have an opportunity to live there while DH is overseas (we are military). I am hesitant b/c I feel it will be lonely but ppl have said that it is a "friendly" place for someone in their late 30's. Is this correct? I would want part time work and as far as I know, the house is NOT in a gated community. The owner said that the beach is only a 10 min. ride (looks longer than that on a map tho). My main purpose for being there from Oct. - May, is for a respite....long walks on the beach, warmer weather for awhile and some peace of mind. Is this something you feel that PSLW offers?
Can you get more information about the specific location of the house? I may have mislead you. There are two possible areas that fit your description, St. Lucie West (the community within PSL which I described) and Western Port St. Lucie, which is more a geographic description than a name of a community.
Port St. Lucie is immense, covering the largest land area of any city in Florida except Jacksonville, and Jacksonville only beats it because the city limits include the entire county. To help sort things out, people refer generally to areas of Port St. Lucie like Northport, Southport, Midport and Eastport. All of these areas lie East of the Florida Turnpike, which runs through the middle of the city. The area to the West of the Turnpike was among the last to be built up, and in many ways, is still like the Port St. Lucie of 20 years ago compared to Northport. Logically, one would think that the area would be called Westport, but that didn't seem to happen -- instead, people refer to it as Port St. Lucie West, which is an entirely different thing than the area which was developed and formally named St. Lucie West. Perhaps a little confusing, but these things happen.
If the house to which you refer is not in a gated community, then it's much more likely to NOT be in St. Lucie West. I can think of only one, very small area in SLW that is not gated.
If you are not in one of the gated communities or a specialized development like Tradition, then you are in the original and "normal" Port St. Lucie. In this case, it really doesn't matter where you are -- Northport, Southport, or PSL West, it all looks exactly the same. Lots are 10,000 square feet (80x125) except on curves, corners or cul de sacs, and are pretty close to 10K SF even when odd-shaped. All the streets look the same, there are few sidewalks, and you will need a car to get around. The houses all have to fit within a 60' wide footprint after setbacks, so they all have front garages, a driveway, etc. There is no common architectural style, and they all look different, yet they're all somewhat the same.
I'm afraid I can't think of any area in PSL that's 10 minutes to the beach. It's about 10 to 15 miles as the crow flies, but there is not direct way. One has to drive North to Fort Pierce or South to Jensen Beach or Stuart to access a bridge over the Indian River to get to the beach. On a good day with light traffic it will take at least half an hour, and possibly more. However, no one seems to mind. Remember that PSL is so large that it takes more than a half hour to get from one side to another, and the closest area is still 20 minutes to the beach!
Is it friendly? Well, it's not unfriendly or aloof or snobby the way that some New England towns can be. Remember, everyone here came from somewhere else and had the same experiences when they got here. Most remember and are very friendly. It's perhaps more accurate to say that if you want to be alone, you will be left alone. But, if you want to take part in any activities, you will be welcomed with open arms. There are so many people moving here (over 40 every day) that no one will notice your coming or make any special effort to welcome you; it will take some effort on your part to make friends. Attend a church, volunteer at a school, attend things at the Community Center, join a fitness center, whatever you do, you will make immediate friends, but it will be up to you. You may live here for years and never know your neighbors unless you make the effort
There are plenty of younger folks, but most have families. My single, 30-something son lives further South because there is not much "happening" in PSL while my married, 30-something daughter with 3 kids is very happy in the extrememly slow, outdated and rural Okeechobee area with absolutely "nothing" to do. I suspect you will fall somewhere in between, and should be content in Port St. Lucie.
If you can provide a street name or even the names of the closest major intersection, I can give you a lot more detailed information about the neighborhood.
Wowza! You are a wealth of info here! Thx! I am used to moving (b/c we are military) so having to make new friends isnt usually an issue. I have been volunteering in all sorts of areas for many years and suspect I will there, at some point. The owner of the house may have said 10 miles (not min.'s). Is Jensen a nice beach? And Ft. Pierce? Ive heard nice things about Stuart....and PSL does look like a large county on the map. However, I dont want to drive over 45 min.'s to go the beach (I suspect Id want to be there walking every evening or morning and thats pretty far).
Ive seen pic's of this house and its gorgeous, brand new. Its on a corner lot but he says its in PSL West.....which is supposed to mean something "different" than PSL alone. (I know its not gated tho....). Can you tell me anything about the vicinity of NW Drophy Ave.? (Dont feel comfortable giving an exact # on a public forum.....). Thx again for your input.
Jensen beach is quite nice, has outdoor fresh water showers and public bathrooms. I have been there several times and I like it. Fort Pierce has a state park with a beach that I prefer. You can get a pass or pay as you go and there's walking trails there and a beach on the ocean side and one on the channel side and a playground for kids (if you have them). If you get a pass there, it's good at all of Florida's state parks! I got alot of use out of mine while working in the keys for 5 months. There's also a dog beach in St. Lucie county that we really enjoy. Our dogs love it there, but it's no good for human swimming (there's a reef like ledge that'll scrape ya all over) so if you have dogs, or enjoy other peoples, it's a fun place to go walk the beach.
I'm glad Turtle chimed in about the beaches, because I don't know much about them -- I've lived here 34 years and haven't been to the beach in 33 years -- I do't care for it, much. Did you know that the water is salty? And, that there are things alive in it? And, some of them are bigger than you?
Anyway, I can tell you a bit about Drophy St. It's actually located in an area that residents prefer to call "North Port St. Lucie". It's just outside the specific area of St. Lucie West. In other words, it's not in the St. Lucie West Special Taxing District I referred to earlier. It's just a couple of blocks away, so the owner may "feel better" thinking it's part of SLW. If you go out to Torino Parkway, then south on California, you'll be in St. Lucie West.
Frankly, I'd rather be on Drophy. I don't care for gated communities. They have too many rules.
The area around Drophy is recently built up; almost all of the houses are within the past couple of years; none are more than 5 or so years old. The area has an interesting history. It was originally "sold out" over 30 years ago. All the lots were deeded to the owners and the roads were constructed over 20 years ago. Then, the rules changed.
All of Port St. Lucie was on wells and septic tanks at that time; there was no central water and sewer service. The state and the county health department convinced the city to declare a building moratorium on the area around Torino Parkway. The lots sat vacant for over 15 years. As little as 5 years ago, you could buy a vacant lot in the area for as little as $2,000.
Then, the water and sewer service was installed, the moratorium was lifted, and people could build houses. It's really a pretty area (for South Florida, which is all flat and looks the same), all the houses are new, and the values jumped quickly. Today, lots are over $100,000! If we had only known...they money I could have made...sigh.
You'll be really close to all the shopping, dining and entertainment in St. Lucie West, yet outside the gated communities, and you won't have to suffer the traffic unless you want to. You're close to the northern border of Port St. Lucie, which is Midway Road, straight out Torino Parkway to the north. From Midway, you'll be about 20 minutes from the beach in Fort Pierce. You'll soon learn which beaches you prefer.
It's a nice, quiet, safe area. You'll be able to walk a dog at night if you like. Your neighbors are likely to all be Yankees. The house is so new that hurricanes will not really be a concern. I can't think of anywhere better to wait for DH. I wish you luck, and I hope that he remains safe, wherever he is.
PSLoldtimer, are you on the board of the chamber there or some town council? You really know yer stuff! I really appreciate the kind replies and the info on the area of this house. I would be renting it sight-un-seen (the area it is, the house Ive seen pic's) and of course, DH & I are a tad nervous about that fact. However, I do need a safe place to be while he is gone. He will be helping me move over his leave and it would also be nice for him to have some downtime after this whole thing. If you can think of anything else to add about the area, plz do.
Turtle, thx for the beach info. I grew up on Cape Cod & I love the ocean and have missed it for a while now. The last several yrs have been long enough to be away from it. I will look fwd to checking out both beaches. Again, anymore input you want to share, plz do.
PSLoldtimer, are you on the board of the chamber there or some town council? You really know yer stuff!
Nope; I'm a retired previous owner of a BBQ Grill retail store; we also used to build custom outdoor kitchens. Before that I was a free-lance programmer, and before that I did spend a couple of years in real estate (but that was 25 years ago, and even my barber had a real estate license), and before that I owned a small boat-building company (which went under during the last oil crisis in the 70's when polyester resin got too expensive).
I have lived here a long time; I have always been curious; I have always taken pains to understand things and get my facts right; I know how to research and especially how to get the most out of Google; I generally have a positive attitude and I genuinely like to help people who appreciate the help, and my ego gets a boost whenever someone gives me another reputation point . I'm retired and have a fairly severe heart problem such that I have to rest a lot, so I have time to spend on forums like this.
Finally, I like to talk (or type, as the case may be), which is why my posts are so long-winded. No other secrets; nothing to gain except my ego, not selling anything.
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