Phase one for a project in St. Cloud will soon begin after the Osceola County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Hawk Platt LLC to start on 280 units on Kissimmee Park Road and Lake Tohopeliga.
The plan is to build 2,818 units on 750.76 acres south of Kissimmee Park Road, West of Lake Tohopeliga.
The project is in a mixed-use zoning district located approximately 1.5 miles southwest of the Kissimmee Park Road overpass on Florida’s Turnpike.
On Monday, before the board’s approval, several members from the Osceola Action Committee spoke during public comments about the effects the project would impose on the community, starting with adding more congestion.
“The amount that they’re adding, and the stress of the infrastructure is so intense right now, that whatever they are adding in two to three years is going to add even more to what they’re adding,” said Nelly Hernandez, Osceola Action Committee.
Hernandez said existing traffic problems are still trying to catch up with current development plans, and county officials should slow down before approving more problems with no solutions.
A representative for Hawk Platt LLC said roadway improvements will be made to the surrounding area before homes are built by 2025.
They said developers have been working with the county and transportation officials on road improvements to meet the county’s standards.
“These houses will be online in 2025. Planning takes two years. So, then we’re in 2026, and then it takes 7 to 8 [years] to come online. So, we’re looking at 2035 to 2040 before these roads come online to elevate traffic.
The county has been conducting a regional transportation study within East Lake Toho, South Lake Toho, Mixed-Use District 5, and Mixed-Use District 6 to evaluate and determine the County’s and developer’s responsibilities for all transportation infrastructure improvement needs based on roadway capacity.
Residents feel this quick push for overdevelopment and little to no infrastructure to carry it could hinder public safety when it matters most.
“We’re talking about 20 to 23 minute response times. Again, if somebody has a heart attack, if somebody’s drowning, if they can’t get in and out of there in 20 to 25 minutes again, people can die,” said Jeremy Fetzer, Government Affairs Consultant for Osceola Action Committee.
Channel 9 spoke to a woman who moved into a home feet away from the new development in August. She said they moved to the area to get away from city life, and soon, they will have to deal with construction crews and battling traffic near their driveway to get to work.
Residents in St. Clouds told Channel 9 they are not opposed to building the future of Osceola. They want county officials to let road capacity catch up to current traffic problems before adding more to the existing problem.
So far, there has yet to be a set time frame for when Hawk Platt LLC, will start phase one along Kissimmee Park Road.