People have long been attracted to Central Florida for its climate, culture, environment, and economy. Many of these people have moved to Osceola County, making it one of the fastest growing counties in Florida. Several years ago Osceola County wisely recognized that this rapid growth would require careful planning to preserve what people love most about the area. Using the very best planning principles, Osceola County identified where and how growth should occur to benefit the citizens of the county and the region.
As Osceola County looked at growth patterns and economic development opportunities, it identified a 19,000 acre portion of Deseret property, now called the Northeast District, as an appropriate area for future growth. This area is just a few miles from the burgeoning “Medical City,” a major life sciences and biomedical research cluster that emerged in the last five to ten years. Given our cooperative 60-year relationship, Deseret and Osceola County agreed to work together to create a long-range plan for the property. At Deseret we recognize that our future success is linked to that of the County.
- 40-year plan to accommodate a portion of Osceola County’s growth
- Plan founded on capturing economic development, including 40,000 high-quality jobs
- Two-thirds of the land left as open space
- Received 2010 American Planning Association Award of Merit
Deseret and Osceola County worked together to make the Northeast District consistent with the six Smart Growth principles that shaped the myregion.org “How Shall we Grow?” vision. For example, planning of the Northeast District began with the environment. The plans preserve critical habitat, leaving two-thirds of the property as open space and protecting the entire 3,000-acre Econ Swamp. The transportation system is designed to provide a variety of transportation choices, including walkability. The land uses are designed to create distinct and attractive neighborhoods and put houses close to jobs. Neighborhoods will be centered around educational, health care, and cultural amenities. Given its location just ten miles from the Orlando International Airport and five miles from Medical City, the Northeast District will be a key area for economic growth within the County.
As longtime residents and landowners in Osceola County, we are proud of the County’s vision. Dozens of stakeholders were involved in the process, and the Northeast District plans were approved unanimously by the County. Osceola’s planning efforts for the Northeast District earned a 2010 Award of Merit for Best Practices from the Florida chapter of the American Planning Association.
Additional planning and approvals are now in process. In 2014, Deseret entered into an agreement with Suburban Land Reserve, Inc. (SLR), a taxable investment affiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the eventual sale of the Northeast District and other lands in Orange County. SLR has contracted with the Tavistock Development Company to include the Northeast District in Tavistock’s Sunbridge master-planned community. Tavistock is the well-known developer of Lake Nona and Medical City. Working with local governments, they will lead the effort to further plan this key piece of property as part of a generational project that will transition gradually over decades.
These transactions do not affect the balance of the ranching property owned by Deseret nor the lands in Osceola County that are part of the recently approved North Ranch Sector Plan.
For more information, see Osceola County’s Smart Growth website.