Polk County's Development Review Committee has rejected a plan by Seefried Industrial Properties to add 1.5 million square feet of distribution warehouse space on a U.S. 27 site that's currently slated to be a regional shopping center.
The county has a Special Area Plan (SAP) in Four Corners that specifically prohibits warehouse distribution east of U.S. 27. In a preliminary report issued Thursday, county planners maintained that light industrial uses there are incompatible with the adjacent residential neighborhoods and violate the county's vision and policies for the area.
The case goes to the county's Planning Commission on Oct. 4 and to the Board of County Commissioners on Dec. 19.
Property owner Albertson International is seeking to change the Four Corners DRI that was approved in 2005. The owner also applied for a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA) and revision to the county's Land Development Code for the 113-acre site at the southeast corner of U.S. 27 and Ronald Reagan Parkway (C.R. 54).
The company and its owners are heirs of grocery store magnate Joe Albertson. The buyer/developer, Atlanta-based Seefried, is the same company that's building a 2.3-million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Lake Nona.
The U.S. 27 corridor has emerged as one of the busiest distribution hubs in Florida, with more than 5.2 million square feet of warehouse space clustered on the west side of the corridor. That includes the Walmart twin distributions centers that opened in 2016 and the highly successful Park 27 business park -- across the street from the Albertson site -- which is adding another 600,000 square feet of flex industrial space now.
But none of those facilities have loading bays or overnight truck parking that faces residential property, according to the staff report. Distribution operations typically run 24 hours a day, whereas the approved shopping center would create less noise at night.
Changing the future land use for the proposed business park would remove protections for homeowners established by the county's noise ordinance. That's because the business park would be exempt from noise regulations as long as it conforms to the future land use for the area.