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Proposed Amendments to Planned Development Code

Revisions to Polk County’s Land Development Code regarding Planned Developments will be considered by the County Commission in 2023. Some of these proposed changes include:

  • Locating Planned Developments where infrastructure already exists or is programmed for construction
  • Standardizing plans for sidewalks inside of the development
  • Addressing widths of streets with regard to on-street parking, and
  • Increasing setbacks on the front, rear and sides of buildings.

A full draft of the proposed amendments will be available to the public on February 24, 2023. Public meetings to gather public input will be held throughout the county in March and April 2023. Public Hearings before the Board will begin in April 2023.

Simplifying Planned Development Evaluations

Polk County will use three criteria for evaluating future planned developments. This will include:

  • The location or proximity to public investment (infrastructure)
  • Internal design (what’s included in the proposed community)
  • External design (compatibility with surroundings)

Proximity to Public Investment

Polk County is proposing that every Planned Development application be evaluated in an objective manner to determine if the location of the project is where there is an adequate amount of infrastructure to support the density requested. Scoring will no longer include a bonus point system to indicate eligibility, not entitlement.  The other two elements, Internal Design and External Design, will factor into the project approval.

Why is this evaluation needed?

Limited Resources - This is a large county and infrastructure resources are limited.  Not all properties will be located where there is adequate infrastructure to serve them at this time. 

Right Plan, Right Place - Planned Development should go where infrastructure has been planned. Greater densities are encouraged where there is more public and private investment.

Approval has meaning - It serves no purpose to approve projects that cannot be developed due to lack of infrastructure. Before going to hearing, the applicant should know whether the plan is feasible.

Why infrastructure is being considered?

Transportation resources, utilities, public safety, schools, public recreation facilities, major employers, commerce, environmental infrastructure, and interconnectivity will be considered.

Transportation Resources

  • Arterial and Collector Roads
  • Sidewalk Connections
  • Transit Stops


  • Water Lines
  • Wastewater Lines
  • Lift Stations
  • Reclaimed Water Lines

Public Safety

  • Fire Stations
  • Emergency Medical Care


  • Elementary
  • Middle
  • High
  • College

Public Recreation Facilities

  • Regional Park
  • Community Park
  • District Park
  • City Park

Major Employers

  • 100 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Employment
  • 200 FTE
  • 500 FTE


  • Commercial Districts
  • Developed Commercial Districts
  • General Mercantile
  • Grocery

Environmental Infrastructure

  • Open Drainage Basin
  • Positive Outfall
  • No wetland disturbance


  • Number of access points
  • Vehicle Connection to Neighboring Development
  • Pedestrian Connections


    How is it being calculated?

    Calculations will be based on a standard distance scale awarding more points for infrastructure that is closer and less points for infrastructure farther away.

    Is there a way to get more density than the location score allows?

    There will be opportunities for greater density eligibility for providing better internal design and amenities within the development.

    How is it assured that the score is fair?

    Staff plans on beta testing the scoring model against past projects dating back to 2015. Successful development projects should reflect their proximity score or better. This data will be provided to the public when the draft text goes to hearings.