A requested land-use change would create a jagged 88-acre subdivision for 396 single-family homes that would be half in Davenport and half in Haines City.
Led by Lakeland engineer Dennis Wood Engineering and Winter Haven developer Cassidy Homes, the proposed subdivision would require a land-use change to RL-4 from RL-1, allowing for homes at 4.5 per acre. The land is comprised of six parcels of citrus groves starting at Mystery House Road, east of U.S. 17-92 and west of Power Line Road, heading south to Snell Creek Road and west across Pink Apartment Road, then south again.
“They are kind of doing an octopus there,” Polk County long-range planner Michelle Orton told GrowthSpotter. Orton said she recently spoke with representatives of both Davenport and Haines City about services they would need to provide such a community.
Polk County staff hasn’t issued a recommendation yet, but Orton told GrowthSpotter the request may be premature, and the jagged nature of the plan doesn’t fit long-range planning goals for contiguous and compact growth.
Wood and Cassidy were granted a similar land-use change to build on property south of the Pink Apartment Road land in 2018 and haven’t built yet, Orton said. Given the unknown future effects of the current Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, employment and the construction industry, changing zonings and land use for growth that isn’t going to be built and used right away must be scrutinized, Orton said.
The project requires a Large Scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment to change the Future Land Use Map series, which includes a Demonstration of Need and Impact Assessment Statement (IAS), Orton said.
In March 2019, Cassidy won Haines City approval to establish a community development district for a 367-acre subdivision near U.S. 17-92.
The City of Davenport approved rezoning of 119.5 acres on U.S. 17-92 for a 457-lot subdivision in October 2018. In December 2018, Cassidy, working with Dennis Wood, received approval for Madison Place, a 346-unit townhouse community in Polk County’s U.S. 27 corridor. In September, 2018, the City of Davenport approved a preliminary plat for a 182-lot subdivision east of 27 on land owned by Cassidy.
Cassidy won approval from the City of Davenport earlier this year for Citrus Reserve, a new 34-acre subdivision on Holly Hill Road just west of the new Navigator Academy charter school. Cassidy also has applied to Polk County for a new residential planned development on an assemblage of nearly 260 acres southwest of the U.S. 27 interchange at I-4 and adjacent to the Nature’s Reserve subdivision.
More than half of the acreage of the Pink Apartment Road project was owned by Judy Bell Inc. citrus groves and sold last year.
According to public land records, Judy Bell bought 24.58 acres for $83,000 in 1995 and sold it to Cassidy Holdings for $498,000 in September; 9.99 acres for $41,500 in 1996 and sold it to Almatt LLC in October for $22,000; and 9.65 acres for $83,000 in 1995 and sold it to Berry Real Estate for $800,000 in September.
Former owner Roger Judy declined to comment when reached by phone, except to say he never made much money on the groves.
The other three parcels include 4.95 acres sold to Cassidy for $74,300 in October by Morris Shirley Rosita and Morris Family Trust; 9.9 acres sold to JMBI Real Estate LLC for $145,600 from Robert Kerr Revocable Trust; and 28.9 acres sold to Cassidy by Jan Douglas Nielsen/John Hotchkiss – no information is showing in land and parcel records.
Calls and emails to Dennis Wood and Cassidy Homes weren’t returned. “The site is well suited for the development of the proposed single-family subdivision. The infrastructure is in place to handle the proposed land use change and the land adjacent to the site are compatible, Wood wrote on the pre-application.