Osceola DRC approves Tavistock's Sunbridge Phase 1 concept plan

Osceola County's Development Review Committee approved a revised Concept Plan by Tavistock Development Company on Wednesday morning for a 2,700-acre first phase of Sunbridge.

The new plan incorporates some changes from the developer's original plan that were requested by county staff. Tavistock entitlements consultant Richard Levey said the developer and county reached several compromises after months of negotiations, and now Tavistock can proceed on schedule to begin construction in 2018.

"We were, since December, working out the fine details of the concept plan," Levey told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday. "So it's been an evolution and a process, and I think the approved plan today looks very similar and is consistent and in line with the county's adopted policies and objectives."

The entire Sunbridge project spans Orange and Osceola counties, and covers more than 24,000 acres of Mormon Church-owned ranch land. Tavistock won approval last December for a Comprehensive Plan amendment on the 4,787 acres in Orange. 

The first phase of development for 19,000-plus acres in Osceola would be entitled for around 4,834 residential units, 380,000 square feet of commercial space and 2 million square feet of office uses. It includes two school sites, 450 hotel rooms and a major employment center.

Another key element of the plan is a 42-acre lake and marina that would be built on a flooded portion of the existing canal. The Sunbridge concept plan calls for executive, lakefront housing that would provide boating access via the canal system to Lake Myrtle.

County planners had asked Tavistock to add a bridge crossing over the canal -- something that was included in the Northeast District (NED) element. That bridge is not included in the approved plan.

"It was something the county had raised during the process and felt like it was something to be looked at," Levey said. "We drilled down on that issue and got them some traffic data and ultimately I think we showed them that our roadway network could work without that." 

The revised plan also illustrates that the two sides were able to compromise on the developer's original request for a commercial corridor along Cyrils Drive, the community's major east-west roadway. County staff had pushed back on the initial request to develop "Community Centers" along the north and south sides of Cyrils. 

In the new map, the community center use -- which is more intense than "neighborhood commercial" -- is centralized in one location, at the southwest quadrant of Cyrils and Sunbridge Parkway. 

"The program didn't change -- it was the way it was pictorially displayed," Levey said. "We kind of went back and forth with the county on that. It was really more about where the commercial uses were going to be concentrated, and we were fine with that." 

He said the final version maintains the same level of entitlements for community center commercial, which also allows for office and multifamily. 

With the DRC approval in hand, Levey said Tavistock will begin the next phase of permitting by seeking environmental permits from the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

"We have a lot of master infrastructure that we're in the process of putting those permit applications together. So those will come first," Levey said. "And then you'll see the approvals for the first neighborhood."

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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