OKEECHOBEE – A 400-acre parcel on Northeast 128th Avenue will change from agricultural to industrial zoning if an amendment to Okeechobee County’s Future Land Use Map is approved by the state.
The property is between Faith Farm and the entrance to the landfill.
At their Nov. 9 meeting, Okeechobee County Commissioners conducted the first public hearing on the proposed change. The second public hearing will be in about three to four months.
The commissioners authorized transmittal of the proposed comprehensive plan amendment to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and other state and regional reviewing agencies.
“Berman Road is a county road that can’t handle the traffic we have now,” said Commissioner Kelly Owens. She said the county needs to find a way to mitigate the problems, and not add to them.
“Keep in mind we have school buses that stop along that road, and children waiting for the school bus,” she said.
She said it is the county’s responsibility to find ways to mitigate the traffic problems.
Commissioner Frank DeCarlo asked how much of the 400-acre property is wetlands. “It sounds like a big piece of land to develop, but if only part of it can be developed, it may not create as much traffic as it sounds,” he said.
About 150 acres of the property is wetlands said Planning Director Bill Royce. He said the Planning Board recommends approval of the change in zoning, if the comprehensive plan amendment is approved.
“There’s a lot of permits, water management, DEP (Department of Environmental Protection), and the site plan that have to be approved,” said Commission Chairman David Hazellief. “There are a lot of checks and balances.”
Commissioners also approved a request for a zoning change from agriculture to heavy industrial.
Royce said the zoning change will not go into effect until the comprehensive plan amendment is approved.