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June 20,2016 - The New Today: Babcock Ranch Lights Up Southwest Florida Horizon
SWFL Sustainability

By Gary Mooney

June 16, 2016

The new city of Babcock Ranch, under early development just east of I-75 and on the border of Charlotte and Lee Counties, will eventually have 19,500 homes, with all power from its adjacent 443-acre solar field. When all 330,000 panels are up, they might just generate enough high voltage energy to match John Hillman!

John is the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Kitson & Partners, the firm behind the ambitious Babcock Ranch alternative energy community, the most sustainable in the United States. It is a 91,000-acre public/private concept, with Kitson & Partners donating 73,000 to the State as a nature preserve, leaving 18,000 for development: 13,000 in Charlotte and 5,000 in Lee.

Babcock Ranch has Community Gardens, Native Landscaping, and Farming to grow Healthy Food

“Even out of that, another 9,000 acres is for parks and natural areas,” comments John. “There will be community gardens, native landscaping, and farming to grow healthy food – if you want to watch the farmer raise your produce, go down the street and see him!”

The residential development will not encroach upon the land’s unique natural characteristics, emphasizes John.

“Every parcel we develop is already scarred from previous use, like farming or mining, allowing us to preserve the magnificent native areas. Even though the Town of Babcock Ranch will be 9,000 acres, that build-out will take roughly three decades, meaning even the vast majority of that land will be natural for years.”

Babcock Ranch homes will be Old Florida, with 8-foot-wide front porches, and neighborhoods interconnected by trails to not only discourage driving but encourage taking the long way home.

Work to date includes roadways, paving, and sidewalks. Construction on 16 model homes, with the development’s four builders each contributing four, begins in August. “Our essential component is to keep people connected to each other and the land,” John says. “Babcock Ranch homes will be Old Florida, with 8-foot-wide front porches, and neighborhoods interconnected by trails to not only discourage driving but encourage taking the long way home. Conversely, our technical innovations will be the finest and fastest on the planet; we will be a Future-Proof Community!” Models open in January 2017, with the first residents in February or March 2017.

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