Winter Haven Planning Board Approves Child Care Facility and Church Expansion

In a recent meeting, the Winter Haven Planning Board approved key developments for the community, including a new child care facility and an expansion to a local church’s Fellowship Hall and sanctuary. These approvals came alongside significant rezoning decisions.

A request for special use approval marked the commencement of new developments as the board considered the establishment of a child care facility in a mixed-use zoning district. The staff’s presentation detailed the property and the proposed facility, providing zoning maps, aerial views, and a conceptual plan from the applicant. Emphasizing the importance of early childhood education infrastructure, the board approved the request, contingent on the submission and approval of a detailed site plan and the completion of required improvements prior to the facility’s operation.

Following the child care facility discussion, the board addressed another special use approval for the construction of a new Fellowship Hall and the expansion of an existing sanctuary within a single-family residential large lot zoning district. The staff’s presentation highlighted the property’s specifics, the proposed expansion, and the anticipated implications for parking and traffic. Despite concerns raised by a community member about the project’s scale and its potential strain on local infrastructure, the board moved forward to approve the request. The approval came with the stipulation that a site plan must be submitted and approved, along with the necessary improvements, before the buildings become operational.

These developments were not the only subjects of reconfiguration. The Planning Board also tackled rezoning issues, specifically transitioning parcels from single-family residential small lot R2 zoning District to single-family residential large lot R1 zoning District. The Woodpoint case involved approximately 41.9 acres and aimed to align the zoning of the remaining vacant lots with the larger R1 zoning District. The Cypresswood Palmaia case targeted 24.4 acres, seeking to rezone 41 parcels with the intent to accommodate the larger homes typical of the R1 zoning District. Both rezoning requests were bolstered by letters of support from the respective homeowners associations, and a clarification was made regarding the actual number of residential lots in the Cypresswood Palmaia subdivision, with the board approving the rezoning.

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In addition to these major decisions, the board discussed updates to fence requirements and the possibility of allowing pharmacies as a special use in the MX zoning District. The meeting also touched on a small future land use and zoning assignment for a parcel off Old Bartow Lake Wales Road and welcomed a new liaison commissioner. Notably, the board engaged in dialogue regarding the 10-year plan, especially concerning the area around the Winter Haven Regional Airport, acknowledging the issues arising from jurisdictional boundaries.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Nathaniel J. Birdsong, Jr.
Planning Board Officials:
David Lane, Mario Manago, Elizabeth Davis, Wendy Whitehead-Venters, Jennifer Fasking, Colin Wells, Ed Smith, Tina Summerlin, Craig Fuller, Jennifer Farrell (Ex-Officio, Polk County Public Schools), Sean Byers (Planning Manager), Heather Reuter (Senior Planner), Chris Young (Senior Planner), Jordan Warren (Planning Assistant)

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