PALM CITY, Fla. — A major proposed development in Palm City passed a hurdle Tuesday, with Martin County Commissioners voting to initially approve the development agreement for the Pineland Prairie project, recently renamed Newfield.
The project, led by famed financial publisher Knight Kiplinger, would turn 3400 acres of his family’s Palm City property into retail, neighborhood, and community space, with the potential to be dubbed Palm City’s ‘downtown’.
“He had a vision sort of his legacy, if you will, to create a master community that he had always dreamed of, “ said Martin County Commissioner Ed Ciampi, who supports the development.
The development would consist of 4,200 homes of mixed types and prices without a gate. Kiplinger wants non-residents to be able to enjoy the open spaces that will be included.
Seventy percent of the property would consist of parks, walking and horse trails, canal, and water access, sports fields, and preserve areas.
“It’s going to be over 1700 acres left pristine,” said Ciampi.
A 500-acre Kiplinger Conservancy would be about the size of the county’s largest park, Halpatiokee. It would include the county’s first gopher tortoise relocation area, according to Kiplinger.
There are also plans for a barn, farmer’s market, a 6,000 sq.-ft. library, a new fire station, and new schools.
Tuesday, Kiplinger assured commissioners that the new community will share the costs of road improvements, public safety, the library, parks, and other public services that will be created.
Some of those improvements include expanding 84th Street from Busch Street to Citrus Boulevard through the Kiplinger property, improving Citrus Boulevard at the Newfield Town Center as it grows, and creating a flow-through marsh that will divert water from the C-23 canal, filter it, and return it to the C-23 downstream.
Ciampi said the last major project in Palm City was the Martin Downs development nearly 40-years ago. “A lot of folks that think of Palm City couldn’t imagine it without a Martin Downs and I think generations to come will look at Pineland Prairie or Newfield and think the same way,” Ciampi said.
There are some opponents to the project, worries it will set the stage for other future large developments, add traffic, or change the feel of Palm City.
“I think his plan is stretched out over nearly 20 years so it’s not going to be such a shock,” Ciampi said.
The project comes back to the county commission on Dec. 15 for a public hearing.
Kiplinger expects to start building next year.