Public Media for Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Massive Deseret Development Heads Back To State After Osceola County Approval

Photo courtesy Deseret Ranches
Photo courtesy Deseret Ranches

Plans for Florida's largest land development ever head back to the state after the Osceola County Commission approved changes Monday night.

The plan is generating mixed reaction among environmentalists and members of the public after initial backlash.

The plan calls for a land development that would span nearly twice the size of Orlando on ranch land owned by Florida's largest landowner, the Mormon Church.

Commissioners heard from environmentalists and members of the public.

Karina Veaudry represented the Florida Native Plant Society. She wanted more land conserved and worried about a reservoir she said could damage wetlands.

"I hope that each one of you will consider all of the scientists and all of the environmental organizations that are pleading with you to include these conservation acres into the sector plan itself."

Other environmentalists supported the plan. They said their concerns had been addressed.

The state completed a review of the Deseret Ranches plan in July, ordering minor changes. It is possible the state could finalize the plan by the end of the year.

Erik Jacobsen is the ranch's general manager.

"While it's our intention to continue ranching this property for decades to come, we think this plan does a couple of things. First it provides a very important framework for the future to help guide development to prevent any piecemeal development in the future."

He says the plan also leaves room for changes in the future.

 

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, among many other publications. She began her career at The Associated Press in Nashville, Tenn. Amy grew up in Florida and lives in Orlando with her 7-year-old daughter.