Orlando-based Structure Development is in planning discussions to build single-family detached homes in one of the more geologically challenged parcels in Poinciana. Located among floodplains and swamp in Polk County, the 336 acres are vested for 849 residential lots but will have to be redesigned.
Platted in the 1960s, the land along the south side of Marigold Avenue, east of Hemlock Avenue and north of Lake Hatchineha, is North Village 6, Neighborhood 3 in the Poinciana Development of Regional Impact (DRI). Poinciana, located in Osceola and Polk counties, is the second largest unincorporated master-planned community in the United States at 47,000 acres.
“It kind of makes sense that it hasn’t been developed yet because it is surrounded by all those wetlands and floodplains.” Polk County Planning Administrator Chanda Bennett told GrowthSpotter. “It’s the harder parts that are left in Poinciana when you look at it from trying to build a wholistic community. They have a lot of work to do.”
Structure Development will have to update the vested plans to comply with current rules, planner John Adams with Rj Whidden and Associates told GrowthSpotter. A call to Structure’s Jay Adams (no relation to John Adams) was not immediately returned.
Planning documents show the land is owned by Orlando-based Poinciana Parkway SPE LLC whose title manager is CPA Samuel Oswald. Tara Tedrow of Lowndes Law Firm is representing the developers, along with planner Rj Whidden. Representatives met with the county’s Development Review Committee Thursday during a pre-application meeting.
The property, whose original developer was Avatar, is vested for 633 single-family homes, 415 multi-family homes and 102,275 square feet of commercial, according to the vesting letter. ”They won’t be able to able to achieve that total density and intensity” because of the wetlands and floodplains,” Bennett said. “They will have to redesign the roads, meet the setbacks for Poinciana” and all the wetland and floodplain rules put in place since the vesting. A major modification to the Planned Development or PD will have to be requested because the PD was set 20 or 30 years ago.
Modification to the PD is a way to approve changes for the entire subdivision instead of one home at a time.
“I think they have a potential to make a nice design,” Bennett said. “It’s a little island. It’s nestled all by itself. … You have areas around it that can’t be built on with any kind of technology we have today. So they will have some nice water features. With retention features. Or dry retention and landscaping.”
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Developers will have to submit a binding site plan with its PD modification application and the Level 3 review. Developers also will need a flood study that will take into account the effect of development including schools, nearby Solivita, Dollar General and other stores. Site plans are reviewed the first Thursday of each month, Bennett said. John Adams said Whidden is about a month to a month and a half from applying.
“Once we submit, it will probably take about a month of review before the staff schedules it for a DRC meeting,” Adams said. “We’re probably 2-3 months away from any staff review.”
After that, the Polk Planning Commission will consider it.
The wetlands and flood plains are “not something that is alarming to us,” Bennett said. RJ Whidden worked on Solivita, which had a similar approach, she said.
“They both are a part of Poinciana that was platted but wasn’t built,” Bennett said. (Solivita) did that in 1998 – a modification and had to do that according to our rules at that time. They had a lot less units than were vested by the Poinciana vesting letter.”
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