OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The sounds of tractors scooping up dirt take over in the northeast corner of Osceola County, an area designated for a huge development just between Lake Nona and the Space Coast.
Being one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation, years ago Osceola County passed a 2040 plan to develop a portion of the county in the Deseret Ranch area.
This area is twice the size of Orlando, with the goal to bring in high-tech, high-paying jobs between Lake Nona and the Space Coast.
The developers tasked with building 29,320 homes want to change part of that plan and Osceola County staffers aren’t on board.
The plan also includes 8.5 million square feet of industrial space and will bring in 44,130 jobs, according to Osceola County officials.
The development of the Northeast District (NED), which spans from Narcoosee Road to Nova Road, has already started with Tavistock building a 55+ community called Sunbridge by Del Webb. Tavistock is now requesting an amendment to the master plan of the NED to build more 55+ communities and decrease the amount of industrial space needed, citing COVID-19 has lessened the need for industrial space.
A staff report shows this will be presented at a Board of County Commissioners meeting.
“At present, there is no evidence to support the assertion that the long-term industrial and office market has “changed significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The applicant’s submittal suggests there have been recent reductions in the commercial office uses due to more home-based office operation, an increase in video conferencing, and limited business travel, but there is no data indicating a long-term reduction in the need for industrial and office space post-pandemic.
County staffers also aren’t on board with Tavistock wanting to build more 55+ residential communities. As requested, Tavistock wants to build more 55+ communities which the county said would make up 28.1% of all residential areas in that staff report.
“The request to gate and age restrict 28.1% of the units projected in the Applicant’s proposed development program is in conflict with the desired mix of residential housing types distributed on a well-connected street system, and neighborhoods where a range of housing types are accommodated supporting a broad range of family sizes and incomes.”
News 6 asked for county commissioners to weigh in on Tavistock’s request but denied comment before the meeting.
News 6 also emailed Tavistock, with no immediate response Monday afternoon.