Polk officials announced today that they would withdraw for now a plan for a new change in the county’s development regulations that would radically change when public hearings would occur on new subdivision plans whose developers sought increased density.
These are called planned developments, formerly known as planned-unit developments.
If you want to know what was proposed, you’ll have to go to the archives.
What was proposed on next Tuesday’s agenda was suddenly scrubbed from the agenda backup after the withdrawal announcement was published.
The reason for the delay is that the Florida Legislature has proposed to exempt Polk from legislation that last year barred local governments from changing their development regulations to prevent local governments from proposing development regulations that would prevent developers from proposing projects that would not continue business as usual before Hurricane Ida caused widespread damage in southwest Florida.
Polk officials are apparently betting that the fix is in and they can proceed with changes that alter development standards and diminish public review.
The question, which will come back whenever this proposal resurfaces. Is what public policy purpose—developer requests for drive-through permitting doesn’t seem to fit here— the change will serve.
The proposal does set some higher standards on the internal details of developments if customers are willing to pay extra for them and if developers are willing to put some kind of minimal buffers if their projects are twice as dense as neighboring subdivisions However, the neighbors will have no say. There will be no public notices, no public hearings, no public anything.
Instead the projects will all be reviewed by the county staff, which typically has found few development proposals they do not enthusiastically support even if a more skeptical view might be more appropriate.
BS Ranch & Farm comes to mind.
The new proposal, which could cement this idea into local development regulations, is likely scheduled for hearings sometime early next year.
Stay tuned and stay alert.