As predicted in an earlier post in this space, residents have appealed the recent approval of a dense, city-sized sprawl development deeper into the edge of the Everglades Headwaters to the County Commission, The Ledger reports.
County Commissioners had previously denied another development approval in the area in 2008 that was later acquired by The Nature Conservancy to add to a large amount of public and private conservation land in the Kissimmee River Basin.
The development applicant had applied to the state for a conservation easement under the Florida Forever program, which is still pending.
These applications tend to increase the cost to taxpayers if property owners gain development entitlements and sometimes even if their application is denied as in the case of the Prairie Unit of Lake Wales Ridge State Forest.
During the Planning Commission hearing, which involved a 4-3 vote split, the planning commission majority cited rural sprawl provisions that were added to the county’s development regulations in a settlement with agriculture interests to supposedly to protect farm land by requiring a 50 percent set aside.
The minority questioned whether this property was so flood-prone and so incompatible with the majority of surrounding lands that called the wisdom of its approval into question.
The weakest argument the Planning Commission majority made was to defer to the recommendation of the county’s planning staff.
These were the same people who opined that the troubled BS Ranch project on the outskirts of Lakeland was the best thing since sliced bread.
At next Tuesday’s County Commission, the county’s legal staff is scheduled to gain approval to pursue future action against BS Ranch.