Haines City is having growing pains as an expanded residential development plan raises concerns from neighboring landowners about traffic, privacy and stress on local utilities.
Cassidy Holdings combined 3 projects and added more land to a proposed residential planned unit development (RPUD) called Crosswinds that covers 603 acres in Haines City and would eventually add 444 townhomes and 2,646 single-family homes to what is now vacant agricultural land.
Located east of Powerline Road, north of Johnson Avenue East, and south of Snell Creek Road, Crosswinds is designed to be developed over three phases, with the first two in Haines City and the third in unincorporated Polk County. The project would abut the recently approved Cypress Park Estates community, which has builder commitments from D.R. Horton, Lennar, Dream Finders and Park Square Homes.
The city’s planning commission voted 2-2 July 12 on a zoning change after hearing from residents and project engineer Dennis Wood during a public hearing. A Large Scale Land Use Amendment to City Low Density Residential (LDR) from County Agriculture/Rural Residential (A/RR) for 61 acres was approved by a 3-1 vote, but the zoning change for the full 603 acres to City RPUD from county designation Agriculture/Rural Residential, City Agriculture and R-1-AA failed.
The rezoning now can only be approved by the city commission with a supermajority, which requires support from four of the five members. The case is scheduled to go city commission on Aug. 5.
During the planning commission meeting, several residents spoke against the zoning change, citing increased traffic on the rural roads, strain on city services, fear of increased taxes and a desire to keep the small town small.
Jeff Toole, who lives on Baker Dairy Road, told planning commissioners he is concerned about the roads and the infrastructure needed to support such a large housing development.
“I’m not opposed to growth, but this infrastructure has to catch up to what’s going on,” Toole said, asking the city to cap the density at one unit per acre.
Crosswinds, when built out, would add an estimated 9,000 residents to Haines City. The first phase proposed density is 4.89 lots per acre; the second phase proposed density is 5.49 lots per acre. Single-family home lots would be 40 feet and 50 feet wide. With a max of two stories, the minimum living area would be 1,400 square feet with 400 square feet garages on 90% of the dwelling units and minimum living area of 1,250 square feet with 400 square feet garages on the other 10%.
“Powerline Road and Baker Dairy are the two major roadways of concern because everything is going to dump out onto those two roads,” Deputy Planning Director Ted Adkins told GrowthSpotter. A major traffic study will be required before a site plan is approved. That plan will point out needed road improvements and whether turn lanes and stop lights will be required. A flood study also is required.
Crosswinds plans show 56.81 acres of open space with recreation features including a clubhouse, pool and cabana; tot lots; dog parks; playfields; neighborhood parks; and walking trails.
Haines City Development Services Director Richard Greenwood told commissioners this month that during the past nine months, 1,189 new home construction permits were approved. In all of 2020, 1,160 new home construction permits were approved. Greenwood projected 1,500 new home construction permits would be approved by the end of 2021.
“We are growing fast but things are selling so I don’t know that we’re growing too fast,” Adkins said. “Everyone wants the traffic done and the roads done first, but we know that doesn’t necessarily happen that way.”