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Polk Planning Commission approves 611-lot subdivision

The new 611-home subdivision would rise on Massee Road, just west of AdventHealth Heart of Florida hospital in Haines City.
The new 611-home subdivision would rise on Massee Road, just west of AdventHealth Heart of Florida hospital in Haines City. (Polk County)

Cassidy Holdings’ latest Polk County planned residential community is moving forward with unanimous approval from the Planning Commission and a requirement for a major traffic study.

The 611-unit single-family development near AdventHealth Heart of Florida Hospital would qualify for Planned Development conditional use that allows for smaller lot sizes and higher density. That’s because it’s in a transit-supported area of the county.

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The proposed site plan from Dennis Wood Engineering meets the county’s criteria for the PD. The developer pledged to build internal sidewalks in the community, prohibit short-term rentals, use xeriscaping for at least 25% of the landscaping and preserve at least 30% of the 177-acre assemblage as open space. Included in that is a parcel set aside as a future recreation amenity to be constructed and maintained by the homeowner’s association.

The 611-home subdivision site plan calls for a mix of 40-foot and 50-foot lots with sidewalks and a neighborhood amenity center.
The 611-home subdivision site plan calls for a mix of 40-foot and 50-foot lots with sidewalks and a neighborhood amenity center. (Dennis Wood Engineering)

The community will be constructed in a single phase, according to the plan. The development plan calls for 397 40-foot lots, which are internal to the community, and 214 50-foot lots located mostly around the perimeter. The side setbacks would be five feet; rear setbacks of 10 feet for primary dwellings, according to site plans. About 62 acres, or 35%, of the site will be open space.

Known as the Hospital Group Property, the PD encompasses 18 parcels, most of which are owned by affiliates of Winter Haven-based Cassidy. The land mostly is undeveloped and used for cattle grazing. It is bordered by Sand Hill Road to the north and Massee Road to the south, with access to U.S. Highway 27, I-4 and Ernie Caldwell Boulevard.

It was approved in 2006 for a PD that would have included 458 short-term rental vacation homes, but that project was never started.

Located just across Massee Road from D.R. Horton’s Charles Cove subdivision, the property abuts Haines City, which will provide some of the utilities along with Polk County. The D.R. Horton project was also once approved for short-term rentals, but the homebuilder opted to reposition it as primary residential.

The Winter Haven developer already owns most of the 27 parcels just west of AdventHealth Heart of Florida hospital.

There will be two points of direct access on FDC Road and one onto Massee Road, and Cassidy will be required to extend FDC Grove Road south to Massee Road, Polk County planner Joshua McLemore told the Planning Commission on Thursday. Civil engineer Dennis Wood, representing the owners, said the traffic study will determine other road improvements.

The community was designed with a northern road connection into another Cassidy project known as the Kalogridis PD. The developer applied for a PD in April for the “Kalogridis” property that would have entitled it for over 400 homes, but the firm withdrew the application in July. The road connection between the Hospital Group project and Kalogridis was eliminated, according to Erik Peterson, Polk County’s Land Development director.

“Residences put a lot more traffic on roads than commercial,” he said. “In Haines City or outside of Haines City, (developers) will likely be on the hook for some of the improvements for FDC Grove Road for the amount of traffic that will be dumped onto the road.”

FDC Grove Road currently ends at Park Place. The quarter-mile extension will connect the roads and also connect to the south side of the hospital, Peterson said, so “It will have more of a regional impact.”

The company is a prolific developer in the region. Among Cassidy’s 2020 projects is Bella Vita - another project with smaller lot sizes that will be annexed into Davenport. The two-phase 567 single-family-home subdivision located east of U.S. Highway 17-92 along North Boulevard is made up of nine parcels, some of which are already in the incorporated part of Davenport.

Cassidy also partnered with Highland Homes this year to seek an amendment to the 2025 Future Land Use Map for 112 acres in the City of Winter Heaven. The developer is seeking a change from Industrial to Residential-Low Density, and to assign Multi-family Residential- Low Density (R-3) zoning district on a portion of two parcels. The site can be accessed from 12th Street or 4th Street. It abuts the Florida’s Gateway industrial park and the 77.5-acre site the city agreed to sell last year to Florida Caribbean Distillers for a future canning plant.

Highland Cassidy has owned the land since 2006 and wants to build a single-family home subdivision with a maximum of 1,081 units but likely less than 560 with 5 dwelling units per acre, according to the application.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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