Osceola planners voice support for Greenpointe commercial project near SunRail station

Osceola County's Development Review Committee endorsed GreenPointe Communities' plans for intense commercial development on property just west of the future Poinciana SunRail station. But the committee won't vote to move the proposal forward until the Jacksonville-based developer completes its transportation and economic analysis.

GreenPointe, in partnership with IBI Group of Maitland, has applied to change the land use designation for the 399 acres of the Frank Brown Estate fronting on Old Tampa Highway from agricultural development and conservation to the rarely used employment commercial category. The site is 800 feet west of the federally funded rail station.

"I think it's well supported for this location," Planning Director Kerry Godwin said, explaining that the category allows for higher intensity and density than standard commercial zoning. "Employment commericial is not one to be used randomly on the corridor. It's meant to be a point of emphasis around the SunRail station."

A preliminary site plan shows 72 acres earmarked for commercial or warehouse distribution facility, 66 acres of mixed use, 68 single-family homes on 18 acres, and 620 apartments or town homes on 31 acres. The rest of the land would be set aside for conservation. A fire station site is marked on the southeast corner of the parcel.

The site is contiguous to the 962.5-acre BK Ranch, which is already controlled by GreenPointe. The developer previously applied to DRC for a comprehensive plan amendment and future land use change for the ranch from industrial to mixed-use, as GrowthSpotter first reported on Aug. 31. Such a change must also pass muster with the Florida Office of Economic Opportunity.

GreenPointe President Grady Miars has declined to comment on the specifics of either plan, citing confidentiality agreements in place for both the Brown and BK Ranch parcels. IBI engineering manager Patricia Ramado represented the developer at Wednesday's meeting, and she assurred committee members the group is working diligently to complete the studies so both applications can be considered at the next available DRC meeting.

"I know that time is of the essence so we’re going for as quick a turnaround as we can get," Ramado said. 

Osceola County has already scheduled a community meeting on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m., although the location has yet to be determined. Godwin told Ramado that someone from the devleopment group would be expected to make a presentation. 

"The majority of the meeting will be talking about the planned transportation improvements to the area that will be underway, as well as links to SunRail," he said. 

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