Massive development proposal near Shingle Creek draws environmental concerns

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A proposal to develop 262 acres on the edge of the Shingle Creek floodplain is drawing concerns from nearby property owners and environmental activists worried about potential flooding.


National development group Kimley-Horn’s latest plan for Orange County, named Tuscana PD, calls for 1.2 million square feet of commercial space, 5,300 multifamily units and 2,790 hotel rooms on a road that would snake into undeveloped forest and wetlands.

The project would be a major economic driver in a relatively undeveloped part of the metro area, and its location down the street from SeaWorld would open up the potential for workers to live close to their place of employment.

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The sheer number of units would also go a long way toward easing the region’s housing crisis, where multifamily units like apartments and condos are in high demand but in short supply.

However, activists are raising concerns that the destruction of undeveloped land near the headwaters of Shingle Creek would lead to additional flooding downstream. When Hurricane Ian struck last year, water from Orange County washed into Osceola County, flooding many of the communities along the river.

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“It’s just so critical to our survival to protect our wetlands,” one woman said during a community meeting Monday night. “We’re completely planning on… wreaking havoc on our waterways for profit.”

Developers attempted to address those concerns by speaking about soil testing, flood plain mapping and referencing the law that requires developments to release no more than the same amount of runoff as the undeveloped land.

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Tuscana PD’s plans call for numerous retention ponds around nearly all of its buildings.

Orange County Commissioner Nicole Wilson was present at the discussion and said at such an early stage, she was gathering feedback to address with developers once the proposal reached her desk.

“Any development plan in this Shingle Creek area, knowing that that is the headwaters of our Everglades, it’s going to take a little more scrutiny,” she explained. “We’re going to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect our residents here.”

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