Date: January 22–27, 2006
Location: Osceola County, FL
Sponsors: Osceola County
Chair: Roger L. Galatas
Subject Area: Growth Management
Summary of Recommendations
Osceola County, Florida was one of the fastest-growing areas in the state and the nation when the panel was asked to create a vision and growth strategy for the municipality. Working with the five already proposed new developments of regional impact (DRI), the panel saw that by 2025 the shores of Lake Tohopekaliga could be the site of a great community offering many self-sustaining amenities.
Little doubt existed that significant residential growth would occur in Osceola, but the panel’s challenge was to ensure that this growth benefited the county environmentally, economically, and as a community. The first recommendation from the panel was to form a community vision, shaped by local government and the people, while keeping regional relationships in mind. The panel guided the vision to include plans for an efficient transportation network, a good educational system suitable for rapid growth, and a high-quality natural environment with plenty of open space. With the creation of new multimodal transportation connections, Osceola could become a new economic center for Central Florida. The panel warned Osceola that planning for rapid growth in advance was essential, so that the community did not have to watch demand overwhelm their infrastructure. The panel suggested that each DRI become villages with individual village centers, all connecting to one large, regional center. Each village would be comprised of a mix of housing types and densities, schools, parks, and institutional uses. With all this development it was vital for the community to recognize and sustain its wealth of environmental resources. The panel proposed the delineation of an urban growth boundary and the use of transfer of development rights to create a legal border between urban and rural land. With a strong vision recommended by the panel, Osceola was in good shape to create a successful, planned, and regional destination.