Planning Panel Rejects Road Privatization Idea

The Polk County Planning Commission voted 5-1 Wednesday to recommend denial of a proposal to change the development code to allow the County Commission to quit accepting roads in new subdivisions for maintenance.

The idea was proposed last year by County Commissioner George Lindsey, a Lakeland developer, as a way to reduce the county’s future financial burden for road maintenance costs.

But planning commissioners questioned the wisdom of telling future homeowners they’re on their own when it comes to maintaining the road and drainage systems on the streets where they live.

One issue that the proposed changes didn’t address is what kind of notice people buying homes would get.

The other issue raised was the uncertainty on how much of a financial burden maintaining local roads was on the county budget. No information was available during Wednesday’s hearing other than generic costs of road maintenance in general.

This appears to be a unique approach among county governments among other urban counties in central Florida, according to a staff analysis. In fact, one adjacent county—Osceola—discourages private road subdivisions.

The case will now go to the County Commission to determine whether it will overrule the Planning Commission or reconsider the policy.