Pulte Homes’ request for a new land designation to allow it to build 365-single-family homes in an industrial area of Haines City is under scrutiny and appears bound for denial with planner and Economic Development Board opposition.
The Haines City Planning Commission followed a staff recommendation for denial on Monday, rejecting Pulte’s proposed Large-Scale Land Use Amendment for Lake Marion Assemblage, city planner April Brown told GrowthSpotter. City commissioners will consider the proposal Aug. 4.
The land-use change would reclassify 113 acres of vacant land along Bannon Island Road and State Road 544 to Employment/Office (E/O) and Low Density Residential (LDR) from County Agriculture/Rural Residential (A/RR). A/RR would allow for employment/office but not the residential. The country’s third-largest home builder wants to construct houses with 52-, 60- and 70-foot lots, along with a 38,000-square-foot office/employment center.
Cyndi Jantomaso, President of the Haines City Economic Development Board of Directors, sent a letter June 23 iterating its objection as it did last September when Pulte asked for the 113 acres to be rezoned to Low Density Residential. At that time, Pulte pulled that proposal and submitted the Large-Scale Land-Use Amendment for consideration.
In her 10-point letter, Jantomaso pointed out the reasons the industrial park was created and said the industrial park “creates the right environment for site selectors to seek a business-friendly location.”
Jantomaso wrote in the letter she shared with GrowthSpotter: “Having this centralized area devoted to industrial activity is a valuable and unique asset for the city that most cities are not as fortunate to have. Protecting it should be a high priority for the city.”
Pulte contends that a single-family home community on the eastern portion of the site is the right usage for the land and will serve as a transition between industrial and existing and future residential nearby. A site plan by design and engineering consultant Kimley Horn includes 4.63 acres of recreation tracts for a pool/cabana, playground, trails, playfields, and pavilions. The proposed entrance to the project is located off SR 544 E., also known as Marion Road. The office/employment center would be on the southwestern portion of the site, adjacent to the existing Carvana inspection center, and includes a proposed extension of Power Line Road. Employment/office centers allowed uses include anything that will support industrial, such as a medical clinic, dry cleaner, bank or retail.
“The resubmittal plan which adds a 200-foot-wide strip of Office/Professional accomplishes nothing to offset the large expanse of single-family residential development at this location,” Jantomaso wrote. “Plus, without a developer for the Office/Professional, it will be a long time coming. The Haines City EDC Board of Directors do not believe this is an ideal location for an Office/Professional development.”
Jantomaso said the extension of Power Line Road is “uncertain and is not currently funded in the Polk TPO (Transportation Improvement Program).” With that fact and other construction needs in Polk County, she said, “the Power Line Road extension should not be viewed as establishing an appropriate boundary for the industrial development nor does it create an adequate buffer between incompatible uses of large industrial and low-density residential land uses.”
Jantomaso also cited increased traffic on SR 544 and conflicts with freight traffic serving existing and future industries in the Haines City Industrial Park. “Traffic safety should be a major concern as this rezoning is considered,” she wrote. Additionally, the low density single-family residential subdivision “is NOT consistent with the Haines City Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations including the Haines City Comprehensive Plan, Haines City Land Development Regulations and The City View Plan.
“The City of Haines City needs to protect this investment and not approve adjacent incompatible land uses that will adversely impact existing businesses, their future expansion opportunities, and new industry development,” Jantomaso wrote.