Save our Lands and Water

woman walking on pathway near river

Hello to all the Floridians, especially those who live in Polk County. Do you believe that you, your children, grandchildren, family, loved ones and neighbors have a right to clean drinkable water? If you believe, like we do, that clean water is a right, we ask for your help to protect the most precious source of life, water! This is a We the PeopleBy the People movement.

There is a development plan (case #’s LDPD2020-36, 35, 34) being presented on April, 7, 2021, to the Polk County Planning Commission. If you will email, write letters and/or call the Polk County Land Development Division to oppose this development plan and to ask for a pause to moving forward and that a review of the plan that has been presented be denied until further review. Your voice matters and the calls, emails, letters all get counted and presented.

Great way to help, without the drive or time-off. How much time will it take to make a call or send an email? We are simply asking for a postponement and redesign of the plan, for protection and compatibility concerns. Make the call today.

Please contact: John Bohde, Director, 863-534-6792, toll free 800-780-5346, email JohnBohde@polk-county.net, 330 West Church Street, Bartow, FL 33830. Office hours Monday-Friday, 8am – 5pm.

Background

This development plan will endanger our area’s water source. This plan is asking to develop 667 acres of land that is a part of the historic Lake Wales Ridge, which is actually an ancient island and known as the first beachfront property. It is habitat to 50+ threatened and endangered species of wildlife, and 80+ threatened and endangered species of native plant life.

This is the beginning of the circle of life and provides the human mammals with their daily needs. This particular parcel of land is mostly flood plains to the north and acts as our flood protection and helps to filter and recharge our groundwater source. The northern side also contains conservation land, strategic habitat conservation lands, habitat of state concerns, and is home to many of Florida’s wildlife. This area is what filters and supplies our daily water needs.

The western and southern areas of this parcel is surrounded by historic Horse Creek, preservation lands, habitat of state concern.

If we don’t protect these lands and waters for our children and grandchildren then who will? We are not asking for money or much of your time. We are simply asking that you review our list of concerns, think about them, and write to John Bohde.

Do you have some of the same concerns as we do?

Many of you may already be aware of the Lake “O” blue/green algae issues, the need to restore our historic Everglades and you may even be aware of the hundreds of millions of tax dollars that have already been spent to find solutions to our toxic water puzzle. Every county across our beautiful state is looking for an alternative water source while it’s clear, there is only one water source: Mother Earth!

This particular development plan is what they call a “phase project.” This means that they will start with Phase 1 and continue accordingly. By time the developer is finished, they will fill in our floodplains and wetlands. This will cause more flooding and remove the filter and recharge areas for our drinking water and, not just our drinking water. This will impact your drinking water too!

These parcels of land have great value to our water but they also have two sinkholes existing and this development activity could cause the existing sinkhole to expand or cause more sinkholes to open. This plan, as it stands now, is not compatible with the homes or the area when we purchased 30+ years ago. I welcome new neighbors but it must be compatible with where we live. How will they address our concerns and protect our homes, lives and investments?

The list below is just a few of our concerns. If you have other concerns, please share those with us and all of your county officials. Our concerns do matter.

List of Concerns

1. More sinkhole activity. How would you like to be swallowed by a sinkhole while you are asleep or come home and you learn your home is gone?

2. Blocking/Filling our Flood Protection. Is your flood protection important?

3. Causing localized flooding in other areas.

4. Our private wells may dry up and/or cave in.

5. Are they applying the Well Head Protections that are required?

6. Vibrations from heavy equipment cracking our foundations and walls.

7. Vibrating our manufactured homes right off their foundations.

8. There will be 28 miles of asphalt roadways, 602 asphalt-shingle roofs and 1,206 asphalt parking spaces. This equates to 4.84+/- million square feet or 111 acres of asphalt material covering just 235 acres of these pristine lands. This amount would cover our entire community. All of these petroleum-based contaminants will impact our drinking water and yours too.

9. They will remove and strip away all of the trees and vegetation. When this happens all of the rats, mice, poisonous snakes, etc., will move towards our homes or under our homes.

10. This development plan allows them to build 10 feet from our property. What happens to the setbacks we currently have for our homes, 40’ back setback, 25’ side setback and 50’ front setback?

11. The plan also does not offer any buffering, so these two-story homes will be able see right into our backyards and windows.

12. Our homes are built on ½ acre lots. Their plans are to build 602 “units” on 5,000, 6,000 and 6,600 square foot lots. If you take the 6,000 square-foot lot and divide it into 43,560 sq. ft. (acre), you can build 7.26 units/homes per acre. This is not compatible/compared to our lots/homes.

13. CR 547 is already below the level of services and considered a deficit roadway. What will all of the construction and 1206 more vehicles create? More congestion and time stuck in traffic to include more possibility of car accidents. This area is home to many families with school age children catching school buses. With all of the additional traffic expected, the increase in accidents is very real.

14. Horse Creek Bridge is another major concern. This bridge was built in 1960. It has some major cracks, settlement concerns, bare rebar showing, chunks of concrete falling off, etc. When it collapses who might be on the bridge?

I would also like to say that there are two other development plans being approved that same day, LDPD 2020-35 and LDPD 2020-34. They are both on adjacent and adjoining lands. If you would like to learn more, please reach back. We appreciate your interest and would love to share any information we may have and are very open to hearing and learning from you.

For more information on this subject, visit our Facebook page.

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