Published: September 19, 2023
Bartow, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2023) — By a vote of 3-1, the Polk County Board of County Commissioners approved plans today for the construction of 1,876 single family homes, as well as commercial property, in Poinciana. Residents had requested a De Novo hearing after the county’s Planning Commission previously approved plans for the Creek Ranch development, off of Lake Hatchineha Road, by a vote of 4-3.
At today’s Board meeting, the residents who requested the De Novo hearing expressed concern for the area’s wildlife corridor, as well as stormwater and traffic issues. They also said that the development would not be compatible with the surrounding area, and they discussed potential school overcrowding.
Polk County’s public school concurrence plan indicates that the schools will be able to handle the expected growth.
The developer, Center State Development, said that more than 50% of Creek Ranch will be preserved as wetlands and open space, and that the development will include a 1.25-mile wildlife corridor, which will be protected by a permanent easement. The plans also call for retention ponds and a portion of Marigold Avenue to be widened to four lanes.
Commissioner Martha Santiago emphasized that construction will not begin until every aspect of the plans are in place, including utilities and road improvements. “You cannot ignore the development that is taking place in Poinciana,” Santiago said. “All throughout Poinciana, we have development. So, I can’t say that this is not compatible.”
“This development, the way it’s laid out, how it’s designed, this is what Polk County has been trying to get to for years,” said Commissioner Rick Wilson. “This is one of the most compatible things I’ve ever seen.”
“The wildlife corridor is an important asset to our state,” Commissioner Bill Braswell said. “Just the fact that you’re locking it in, preserving it … I think it’s a good idea. We will know forever that this wildlife corridor exists.”
Commissioner George Lindsey recused himself due to a business relationship.
Commissioner Neil Combee cast the lone dissenting vote. He said, “I don’t think this is compatible. The road system out there is terribly inadequate. It’s a nightmare waiting to happen.”