Dubbed Central Florida’s “last frontier” by the Orlando Sentinel, the Deseret Ranch and surrounding areas could look much different in a generation if land use and zoning plans recently submitted to Gov. Rick Scott get beyond the drawing board.
The land use plans include a complex outline for a metropolis that will cover much of the Deseret Ranch in northern Osceola County. It is considered to be the biggest development plan ever considered in the Sunshine State. There are also separate plans for additional toll roads, and while the two plans are not officially related, they are “…inseparable visions for dramatically remaking tens of thousands of acres across the rural southeast corner of Central Florida through the rest of the century.”
From the Orlando Sentinel:
Osceola planners and Deseret have worked as partners in crafting the development blueprint. The document must be approved by county commissioners, who are to consider the matter as soon as February, before it goes to state agencies for review.
Many officials see the need for a wide-ranging look into the future that could lead to linking Orlando International Airport and Medical City with undeveloped space in Osceola and Brevard’s burgeoning space industry.
The proposed “Pineda Connector,” which would run from near the airport, across the St. Johns River and other protected wetlands and join up with the Pineda Causeway near Patrick AFB is drawing criticism from different sides.
Among those critical of the Pineda connector is another titan of real estate and agriculture, Oveido-based A. Duda & Sons, developer of the Viera community in central Brevard.
Letters from Duda to Osceola County commissioners contend the Pineda connector would encroach on Viera neighborhoods designed for walking and bicycling.
Also, environmental organizations met with Osceola County commissioners and Deseret officials to try and ensure proper protections are in place for water and wildlife.
“The proposal is classic urban sprawl,” said Charles Lee, Audubon Florida’s director of advocacy. “It has neighborhoods scattered all over the place.”
Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins though feels the proposals take proper precautions:
…by largely clinging to existing roads or, in his estimation, skirting the most sensitive wetlands and waterways