Annexation Plan for Gardinier Florida Citrus

Tacy Callies Land

More than 900 acres of citrus groves, owned by Sarasota-based Gardinier Florida Citrus, was recently approved in a master annexation plan by the Lake Wales City Commission.

Shelton Rice, a lawyer with Peterson & Myers, represents Gardinier and outlines what the Gardinier Master Annexation agreement means for the future of the 932 acres of citrus.

“It lays out when portions of the property covered under agreement will be annexed into the city. It really obligates the landowner to provide a petition for voluntary annexation to the city for certain portions, no later than ‘X’ date. That agreement allows petitions to be provided to the city as far out as 20 years from now for certain portions of the property,” Rice said. “From Gardinier’s perspective, this is simply attempting to accomplish long-range planning. They want to make sure that they’re maximizing the use of their property and their assets and their business. This is an opportunity for them to lay out what the entitlements may look like down the road.”

At least one of the three tracts was brought up for annexation within 10 days of commission approval of the agreement. That parcel lies adjacent to Scenic Highway and the Bundy tract, which has already been annexed for a proposed housing development.

The much larger central and eastern tracts may be brought in at a later date at the desire of the owners but must be annexed within 20 years under the terms of the agreement.

Annexation occurs when a municipality brings property into the municipal boundary. The property transitions from an unincorporated area in the county into a municipality.

The Gardinier family has owned the Lake Wales tract since September 2009, growing a variety of citrus under its wholly owned subsidiary based in Sarasota. The Gardinier Florida Citrus website states the company produces “200,000 boxes of fruit or 1.2 million gallons of orange juice” annually.


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Clint Thompson

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