Winter Haven-based developer Cassidy Holdings wants to add 275 apartments in its Brentwood Townhome community plan in the works in Haines City and unincorporated Polk County.
Brentwood was initially approved as a community of 942 units over five phases that would have been one of the largest townhouse communities in Polk County history. Cassidy Homes now wants to redesign the later phases to swap out townhomes for apartments. The update would require Polk County Commissioners to approve a Comprehensive Plan Amendment to change the future land use for the proposed multifamily site. A new site plan also would have to be prepared and pass a level 4 review by the county.
Cassidy assembled 87 acres in Haines City for the Brentwood community. The first 226 units in Phase 1 are already under construction on 43.3 acres west of U.S. 27 North, east of FDC Grove Road, south of Minute Maid Ramp Road 1. D.R. Horton is the homebuilder and is already compiling an interest list for the first units, which are scheduled for delivery this winter. Phases 2 and 3 will add another 246 units, for a total of 472.
Phases 4 and 5 are south of Holly Hill Grove Road 3. The three parcels in the apartment proposal are the southernmost 33 acres of the project and front on Holly Hill Grove Road 2. They include less than half of the land earmarked for phases 4 and 5.
Absolute Engineering filed the CPA request on behalf of the owner and developer seeking a future land use change from Residential Medium (RM) and Employment Center-X (ECX) to Residential High-X (RHX). The property is located in the North Ridge Select Area Plan and the Ridge Special Protection Area of the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.
County Planning Administrator Chanda Bennett raised concerns about the concentration of new apartment complexes on the U.S. 27 corridor in Four Corners and the proximity of this site to the Country Walk Estates subdivision.
“There is a good deal of apartments south of I-4 (Home Run Boulevard), Brentwood, Posner Park, and more expected by the developers of Indigo north of I-4 in the Four Corners DRI,” Bennett wrote in her comments on the proposal. “How much high density can this area realistically absorb and be successful? Is the depth of this RHX appropriate and realistic? This will be the only apartments in northeast Polk adjacent to single-family detached.”
Brentwood is west of two single-family Planned Developments by Winter Haven-based Cassidy Homes on 367 acres near the Heart of Florida Hospital. Both properties are west of U.S. 27 North, east of FDC Grove Road and north of Massee Road and the Charles Cove subdivision. The Kalogridis property is about 109 acres with plans for up to 418 lots and is south of Holly Grove Road #1. The Wynnstone project is up to 793 lots on 259.3 acres south of Minute Maid Ramp Road #1. The developments received Haines City zoning approval a year ago.
“The concern for staff is the adjacency of the RHX with the single-family detached,” Bennett wrote. “Yes, staff acknowledges that current subdivision is in ECX. However, ever since the Board approved the ECX, it has been increasingly changed from ECX to RMX near FDC Grove Road and RHX adjacent to US 27. Moreover, the ECX within this request is not likely to be developed expect for a low intensity use like a church or office just based on the location and economics of developing a non-residential use without presence fronting US 27.”
In its Demonstration of Need statement, Cassidy Homes wrote: The dominance of the surrounding area has residential development and a land use designation of Polk County RMX and ECX. The property is compatible with the property directly to the west, which is a recently approved townhome project with underlying land use of the RMX. The small-scale land use amendment from ECX to RHX, allowing multifamily apartments will continue the pattern of growth in the area. The proposed land use amendment to RHX will have minimal influence on the area. The surrounding RMX and ECX land uses are for residential and commercial development. The proposed land use amendment will continue this pattern.”
The planning schedule includes a Planning Commission hearing in April and Board of County Commissioners transmittal/adoption hearings in May and July.