D.R. Horton is billing its new mega-development in Osceola as a town, but that doesn't mean it will ever be a true municipality.
More than likely it's part of a rebranding effort that started in May, when the homebuilder submitted a new preliminary plat for the first phase of Toho Preserve. The nearly 1,600-acre master-planned community was officially renamed "Kindred."
The development of regional impact (DRI), on the eastern shore of Lake Tohopekaliga, is approved for nearly 3,000 single family homes and 639 mulitfamily units. The mixed use project also has entitlements for 550,000 square feet of retail, office and institutional uses.
"The town will offer a variety of charming architectural design styles that are diverse throughout the community, yet harmonious within specific neighborhoods," a website for the project has boasted in recent months.
Kindred was granted its own community designation by the U.S. Postal Service, meaning residents can list their address as "Kindred" rather than the default designation of "Kissimmee."
Now D.R. Horton has petitioned the county to create a community development district to finance the construction of some $20 million in infrastructure improvements. The only thing unusual about that is the name: Town of Kindred CDD.
"I don't think they have any plans to try to incorporate," Osceola Community Development Director David Tomek told GrowthSpotter. "I think it's more of a marketing strategy."
Company officials declined to address whether they have future plans to incorporate the "Town of Kindred," which would require that it provide municipal services.
Toho Preserve is the northernmost of five DRIs and PMUDs that comprise the county's East of Lake Toho Master Plan.
And they're not the largest of those five, Tomek said. "They just happen to be the first one to start building."
He speculated that if any of the DRIs had potential to incorporate, it would likely be Edgewater, which is the farthest distance from Kissimmee and has the most urbanized development plan.
East of Lake Toho Master Plan also incorporates the Tohoqua DRI, Bella Terra and Green Island. The five communities cover more than 11,000 acres and have combined entitlements for 16,380 single family homes and 11,800 multifamily units. It also calls for multiple schools, parks and neighborhood commercial centers.
CONTROVERSIAL PAST Osceola Commissioners approved the Toho Preserve DRI in 2008 despite enormous opposition from residents who wanted the county to buy the property and keep it as a nature preserve. The project sat dormant until 2012. D.R. Horton held onto the property through the recession and broke ground on the first 221 lots in the fall of 2014.
Vertical construction began this summer, and the first inventory homes are already available for sale. In November the builder received county approval for the next 300 lots. D.R. Horton representatives told GrowthSpotter that construction on the next phase, 1C, should start next summer.