Neil Combee Proposes Peace River Land Swap to Swiftmud Board

Neil Combee advanced a proposal this week to swap ranch land along the Peace River near Homeland for part of a dormant high-end a development in Bartow.
Combee, a former Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board member, appeared before his former colleagues at Tuesday’s meeting Clearwater to make the pitch.
Executive Director Brian Armstrong said he and his staff would take a look at the idea.
The properties Combee proposed to swap for the ranchland is part of the former Old Florida Plantation development or regional impact. Swiftmud officials have planned for years to declare some of the land surplus and sell it since having to buy the developer’s entire property for $30.5 million in 2003 as part of the agency’s plan to turn Lake Hancock into a reservoir to restore minimum flow to the Upper Peace River.
The property Combee proposes to exchange is the Peace River Ranch, which he said covers 2,550 acres . The property is located east of the river south of Homeland-Garfield Road.
“This needs to be looked at to help Polk County and Lakeland, ” Combee said, referring to efforts by the Polk Regional Water Cooperative to find a suitable location along the Peace River to build a reservoir to store high flows from the river as part of the cooperative’s long-term alternative water supply plan.
Armstrong said while the property may have value, any land deal would have to go through the normal acquisition process before the board could consider it..