Announcing NEWFIELD…the first town at Pineland Prairie
March 3, 2020 – This week we filed our Master Site Plan application for the beginning phase of the first phase at Pineland Prairie, which we are calling Newfield.
Newfield will embody all the characteristics of “Traditional Neighborhood Design” (TND) that won the praise of local citizens and the approval of Martin County’s planning staff and elected officials in 2018.
Newfield will be a compact town with varied residential blocks—having homes of various sizes, styles and prices—mixed in a natural way with civic spaces (parks, community gardens, schools) and small-scale retail and office space. The built environment will be surrounded by large expanses of open land for conservation, hiking, biking and equestrian trails, playing fields, pasture and farming.
The several parts of Pineland Prairie
Pineland Prairie is a large expanse of land—3,400 acres, more than five square miles stretching from the Florida Turnpike almost to I-95 in the west—and gradually it will evolve into several distinct components, each with its own purpose and identity:
1) Newfield, the residential/retail/civic community, will take shape on the today’s level, cleared farmland (former citrus groves and now vegetable fields), at the midpoint of Citrus Boulevard;
2) The Kiplinger Conservancy will be natural land crisscrossed with trails, starting with more than 500 acres of the most-pristine, never-farmed pine/palmetto/palm lands in the northwest corner; and
3) Martin Enterprise Park, will be a 150-acre corporate and light-industrial district lying along the Turnpike and Boat Ramp Avenue—our county’s largest and best-located site to attract quality employers and skilled, high-wage jobs to our region.
As promised in our zoning process, more than 70% of the total acreage will be left open—a mix of wooded trails, pasture, wetlands, lakes, active farmland and playing fields. The developed footprint of the new community will use only 30% of the acreage.
Getting to this point
We’ve been very busy over the past 18 months getting ready for the Newfield Master Site Plan application, following approval of our rezoning with a new “mixed-use” category in the county’s Comprehensive Growth Management Plan.
We couldn’t finalize the dimensions of Newfield until two governmental bodies—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District—completed their mapping of our wetlands, which, of course, will be protected forever. This process took almost 18 months, and it largely confirmed our own wetlands mappings over the years.
We have spent almost a year working on “developer agreements” with all the key agencies of county government—such as transportation, parks, schools, and public safety—to determine how to implement new facilities that will be needed at Newfield..
With almost all that work completed, our Master Site Plan for the first phase of Newfield has been submitted to the county planning staff for review and forwarding to the Board of County Commissioners, which will rule on it this spring.
Phase One of Newfield
The footprint of Phase One will be 139 acres, all of it to be developed on the agricultural land north of Citrus Boulevard. The residential component of Phase One, to be built out over several years, will consist of a maximum of 1,214 residential units of all types including detached and attached single family units, small-scale multi-family and mixed-use structures, for sale as well as rentals.-. The detached homes will include every style from small cottages to spacious verandaed houses, with a wide range of prices.
A distinctive trait of Newfield will be homes with porches fronting on sidewalks and streets, with garages and driveways on alleys behind the block. All of this will create the feel of a friendly, walkable community.
The housing mix in Newfield
By the completion of all phases of Newfield—possibly 10 to 20 years from now — the mix of housing will end up being about two-thirds single-family detached and attached homes and one-third multi-family units, mirroring the mix of housing types in today’s Martin County.
Because Phase One will establish the vibrant core of Newfield — with retail and civic spaces, plus community gardens—the beginning housing mix will be heavier on multi-family units than in the overall completed town. Conversely, the mix in later phases will tilt more towards single-family detached homes, some of them on spacious lots bordering the Kiplinger Conservancy lands.
Starting the real work…
The next steps, if approval goes as planned, will be the site preparation of Newfield, beginning later this year with public water and sewer lines extended out Citrus Boulevard and the grading of streets and squares within the new community.
Simultaneously, we’ll be improving the existing network of trails within the Kiplinger Conservancy, creating soft trailheads for parking and equestrian access, and improving the fencing for cattle now grazing there.
And we’ll also begin marketing our employment sites at Martin Enterprise Park, to help create the job opportunities our young citizens need to live comfortably in our county.
Our plan now calls for the beginning of homebuilding in 2021, a process that will be joined by retail, civic buildings, parks and playing fields over the following few years.
Town building in a sensible, organic way takes a long time, but the resulting community will reflect careful planning and execution.
Newfield will someday be a vital part of our region, contributing to the economy and providing homes and recreation, while protecting the natural environment too.