Unique development would feature farm fresh community gardens and equestrian lodging.
By Jacob Engels
Over the past year, we have seen several developments in the East Orlando area face opposition from a small collective of residents who are fearful of more traffic and congestion on local roads. While we have shared their opinions and helped them voice those concerns in the past, we wanted to highlight a community that would like to set roots in East Orlando for what they are doing to bring a truly innovative living space for Central Floridians.
The Grow, a community that is in the process of getting approval from Orange County, would be like no other in Central Florida. It’s sustainably planned, and would provide a much larger tax base for the county.
So, what makes The Grow different than other master-planned communities and why is now the right time for another development in East Orlando? Residents of The Grow will have access to community gardens and a 9 acre main garden which will be maintained by a team of highly skilled and renowned agriculturists. Another signature feature of The Grow will be an old school windmill, coupled with a rustic and authentic wood barn for community and private events.
An old style windmill is a signature of The Grow.
The community will also feature miles of edible walking trails, fishing ponds, lakes and large pastoral spaces. A farm-to-table restaurant will be supported by the vast 9-acre farm. Homes in the grove will be secluded with a 100 foot plus natural barrier from nearby major roadways and carry a 1940’s farmhouse style. According to the website, plots of up to 1 acre are available and the grow will have options for families seeking varying price-points.
One of the many desings offered at The Grow.
The Grow is taking great precautions in their planning to preserve the environment in and surrounding the proposed site. It is designed with 55% total open space, which means almost 7% less space being needed for pavement and inner community roadways. At this point, you are probably wondering whom would be opposed to this project. Interject, Save Orange County, the group that has made a name for themselves opposing development projects in the past – focusing mainly on the increased traffic said plans would bring to local roadways. They currently oppose The Grow, and that opposition is misguided. But why?
When you look at the population growth numbers expected over the next few years, the East Orlando area will see a huge uptick, as people flock to our area to study at the University of Central Florida, or to begin jobs in the defense or simulation industry. East Orlando needs an innovative and environmentally/financially sustainable community like The Grow. The idea of a community gardening space, edible walking trails, and fishing ponds are happening in high-tech hubs like Seattle, Northern California and abroad…why not in Central Florida?
An example of the community garden that will be offered at The Grow.
A spokesman for The Grow told us, “We have tremendous growth heading our way. Unfortunately, most of the communities in the immediate area surrounding UCF and Research Park is at full occupancy. UCF is the second largest university in the nation, and our Research Park is the 4th largest. The opportunity to help sustainably cultivate the coming growth is one we must not pass up.”
Up until recently, quality planning has helped Central Florida outperform the majority of the nation. Recently, groups like Save Orange County have held up the continuation of that smart growth planning. While we believe they are doing what is right for themselves, they are failing to realize in this instance, the disservice they are perpetrating on their neighbors.
Dan Browne of Keller Williams Realty said that he believes it’s a crime for this potentially developed land to be left as a cow pasture.
“This master-planned community will bring in $26 million a year in tax revenue instead of $5,000 for agricultural. Approval will continue to give future job providers a reason to consider Central Florida, because future employees can live close to work in a truly innovative and sustainable way.”
Edible walking trails will be featured throughout The Grow.
The four leaders of Save Orange County, LLC each own a home for a total of four homes on 22 acres and pay a total of $8,000 a year in taxes. In developed areas, 22 acres provide 2.6 houses to an acre for a total of 57 houses and each family pays an average of $3,000 a year in property taxes for $170,000 yearly on the same land. Its hard to Save Orange County with $8,000 when it could have $170,000.
Without private partnership and new development, the roads do not get fixed and things will continue to get worse. With 55,000 new homes projected in the next five years, these people have to live somewhere and this self-serving NIMBY attitude needs to stop. We need to support sustainable ideas like The Grow, and still actively oppose development plans that do not make sense on land-use, environmental and financial level.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org