Last Updated May 2021
The developer bought these 1013 acres for the “fire sale” price of $4,200 per acre. This very low price was not for lack of trying for a higher price by the previous owners. What they had discovered over time was that the land was unsuitable for the type of high density product that developers want these days in order to maximize profits.
As far back as 2006, Ryland Homes dropped their option to buy this land following due diligence that revealed access issues and the fact that the acreage itself cannot provide enough fill dirt to build; fill would have to be brought in at much expense.
From the community’s point of view, millions of square yards of dirt will forever alter our storm water runoff capabilities.
In 2011 “Wesley Oaks” dropped its MPUD application after receiving comments from the senior County Planner and the County Biologist listing numerous obstacles to development. We can only assume that the Wesley Oaks’ due diligence revealed what Ryland Homes had discovered earlier.
Why is this land so unsuited for urban density development?
This acreage is over 50% wetlands and of those 523 acres it is estimated that at least 388 acres are pristine (known as Category I wetlands) and over 95 acres are Category II. That means that 92% of the wetlands on this property are very high quality and function at very high level.
Wetlands serve the purpose of being the “kidneys” for the environment. They help with storm water attenuation and water quality maintenance.
This is important because this land is located in the Cypress Creek watershed; it receives all the storm water from Quail Hollow and Angus Valley. Cypress Creek is an Outstanding Florida Water and receives extra protections. This project will be required to do extra to protect the creek.
But we feel this will not be enough. The development intends to cross the wetlands at least seven times. The physical encroachment caused by clearing, digging, filling and dirt delivery and compacting will impact wetlands that are not to be touched at least according to the County’s Comprehensive Plan.
Intense, dense developments contribute significantly to continuous nonpoint source pollution. That is pollution from yard waste, street run off, chemicals, trash and dumping rather than a single source like a factory. 1467 homes on 40 x 100 foot lots (there are townhomes of 16 x 80), paved streets, 13,309 daily vehicle trips and general drainage will continuously impact the wetlands, degrading them over time.
The best way to protect the creek and maintain the quality of the wetlands on this property and ensure that storm water continues unabated on this property is to put the property into conservation.
The developer can still realize a modest profit from selling this land into conservation.
Does any of this make you want to comment to the appropriate people? Contact us and someone from the Quail Hollow Alliance will call you to help you do that.