The Land Development Division works with county engineers, surveyors, attorneys and planners to ensure land is developed in accordance with the Polk County Land Development Code, Comprehensive Plan and Utility Code. The division includes processing, Current Planning Section, Comprehensive Planning Section, county engineer and floodplain management.
Polk’s processing staff accepts and coordinates all development applications for the Development Review Committee, Planning Commission, Land Use Hearing Officers and Board of County Commissioners. They ensure completeness of all applications prior to reviewing staff’s sufficiency review, process payments, coordinate timely comments on applications, and close out completed reviews. The staff also scans records for permanent digital storage, prepare Board agenda items and coordinate time extensions.
Current Planning staff reviews land development requests such as planned developments, conditional uses, Land Development Code district changes, community development districts, validated legal non-conforming uses and the research and implementation of land development trends in relation to the Comprehensive Plan implementation and growth pressures in the county. Other responsibilities include property research to determine legal lots of record, legal historical uses of land and site plan review for new development.
The Comprehensive Planning’s primary responsibility is to meet the requirements of Chapter 163, Part II of the Florida statues, which requires all jurisdictions to adopt a comprehensive plan, describe how the plan shall be adopted and the process for amending the plan.
Other requirements of the law include mapping, intergovernmental coordination and assistance; public participation; school planning and coordination, including concurrency; evaluation and appraisal report and amendments; military base encroachment; sustainability; capital improvement program; capital improvement element; rural land stewardship and urban service area.
The County Engineering Section’s staff provides site design review services for private commercial and residential development projects, as well as activities within county rights-of-way. Staff members coordinate pre-design meetings with property owners, developers, the Florida Department of Transportation, city staff, regional and state agencies. The goal is to ensure safe development practices and implementation of the Land Development Code, other engineering portals and best management practices consistent with Polk County policy.
Flood Plain Management
The Flood Plain staff provide guidance and information regarding flood hazard areas and flood protection, as well as provide reviews and/or status updates on current and future projects. Public education to inform Polk County residents about floodplain management and development in the floodplain, as well as guidance on wetland impacts, is an important function of this section.
State Agencies' Roles in Comprehensive Planning
The Growth Management Act authorizes the Department of Economic Opportunity’s Division of Community Development review comprehensive plans and plan amendments for compliance with the Florida’s Growth Management Act.
Other review agencies, including the regional planning councils, water management districts, the departments of State, Transportation, Environmental Protection and Agriculture, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, also review comprehensive plans and amendments and issue recommended objections to DEO.
For questions regarding the Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Code or any of the proposed Comprehensive Plan or Land Development Code Amendments, please contact the Planner-On-Call.
Land Development Code
The county’s Land Development Code is updated biannually. All updated and current changes may not be reflected.
Refer to the link below to see Code Ordinances, Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. If you need to obtain a copy of the most current Code, call the Land Development Division at (863) 534-6792.
For more information regarding the Code or any of the newly adopted ordinances, contact the Planner-on-call.