Pulte Homes is making a second attempt to persuade Haines City to allow it to build single-family homes in an area designated for industrial use.
The country’s third-largest home builder wants to construct 365 single-family homes and a 38,000-square-foot office/employment center on vacant land along Bannon Island Road and State Road 544.
Haines City planning staff is recommending the Planning Commission deny the request, as it did last September when Pulte asked for the 113 acres to be rezoned to Low Density Residential.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously to send a recommendation of denial to the City Commission. Pulte pulled that proposal and submitted a Large-Scale Land Use Amendment for consideration that would reclassify land to Employment/Office (E/O) and Low Density Residential (LDR) from County Agriculture/Rural Residential (A/RR). Haines City Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the request at its July 11 meeting.
“It’s just that it was earmarked for industrial and employment office – the whole area,” city planner April Brown told GrowthSpotter. “We’re just going to have to see what the Planning Commission and the City Commission say” about the updated proposal.
The new request includes an employment/office center as allowed in the industrial designation that 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, planner Cynthia Young told GrowthSpotter.
The residential property, known as Lake Marion Assemblage, would be built in 2 phases with 58 lots 60-feet-by-115-feet, 20 lots at 70 feet x 115 feet, and 287 lots at 52 feet x 115 feet, according to a site plan by design and engineering consultant Kimley Horn. The plan 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.
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.
“Polk County classifies their zoning by future land use only,” project manager Sean Bailey wrote. “The development and areas adjacent to the site currently has a future land use zoning of A/RR (agricultural/residential rural), which allows residential development at 1 dwelling unit per 5 acres up to 2.0 dwelling units per acre.”
“The population in Central Florida is growing as such the need for housing and employment centers is increasing,” Bailey continued. “The location of the project makes it convenient as it is located approximately 3.5 miles from US 27 and will be located adjacent to the Powerline Road Extension. The current use as an orange grove is not the highest and best use of the property.”
Pulte has been active in Haines City and along the U.S. 27 corridor in recent years. The homebuilder rezoned 125 acres across from Heart of Florida Hospital to allow a 537-home subdivision. The property is next door to Forest Lake, 574-home subdivision, where the homebuilder is currently pre-selling under its Centex brand from the nearby Citrus Isle community in Davenport. In addition to Forest Lake, the homebuilder is currently building Windsor Island Resort on Sandmine Road.