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Brevard commission pushes for state OK of Farmton


October 9, 2010

The Brevard County Commission will take another stab at getting state planners to approve changes proposed by the Miami Corp. for land it owns abutting Volusia County.

The Chicago-based family land trust owns 59,000 acres straddling the Brevard-Volusia line and is attempting to secure long-term development rights. The company proposed a 50-year plan that included 25,000 homes and 4 million square feet of nonresidential space on about 19,000 acres in the two counties, while putting the remaining 40,000 acres into conservation.

That proposal was approved in Brevard and Volusia counties earlier this year, but the Florida Department of Community Affairs objected. That triggered state administrative hearings in both counties, which took place in August and September, respectively. The parties are awaiting decisions from judges in each case.

If the Brevard decision is in the company's favor, the updated proposal approved Thursday wouldn't be necessary, said Glenn Storch, attorney for the Miami Corp.

However, if the decision goes in the department's favor, the latest proposal would go forward.

Storch said the company tried to "address all the state's concerns" in the new plan. It reduces the amount of developable land by about 700 acres to about 2,500 acres and adds additional conservation policies.

It does not reduce the number of proposed homes, about 2,300. Brevard officials said the commission approved the newer proposal unanimously Thursday night.

The state planning department will have 60 days to respond. By that time, it will be just a few weeks before a new governor takes office in Tallahassee, which observers say could change the department dramatically, even beyond the appointment of a new department secretary.

A decision in the Volusia case isn't expected until after the beginning of the year.