County sets new heights with latest Harmony development

The 50-acre site titled “Galt’s Landing” in Harmony was approved by the Osceola County Commission on Monday. It would give residents an access to a private airstrip.

Osceola County’s first luxury fly-in community near Harmony may soon be ready for take off after getting the green light Monday from commissioners.

The 50-acre site, titled “Galt’s Landing,” would serve as the future gated location of 10 executive homes, right across from the Lake X airstrip on Old Melbourne Highway in eastern rural Osceola County.  

Brian Hickok, a captain for JetBlue, purchased the 50-acre site earlier this year, and is working with Kissimmee-based RJ Whidden and Associates to hammer out planning, zoning and development details for the project.

Site plans detail a private taxiway that would give residents access to the airstrip. The estate homes would sit on 5-acre lots with garages large enough to accommodate small aircraft.

Residents of the exclusive community would have private marinas to dock their boats along the east shore of Harmony’s Cat Lake, and early plans call for two greenhouses, a tennis court, a hydroponic garden, a community chicken coop and a watchtower over looking the lake.

All homes would be individually designed and custom built.

As for the cost of a home in Galt’s Landing?

“It could cost anything you can imagine,” said Bob Whidden, president of RJ Whidden and Associates. “It’s going to have to be a hefty price…the sky’s the limit.”

John Adams, vice president at RJ Whidden and Associates, went before the County Commission to re-introduce a rural residential district request for the community, along with permitted uses and development standards.

This isn’t the first time Galt’s Landing has faced delays getting off the ground.

Negotiations between Hickok and the Kirchman Foundation – a nonprofit that owns Lake X Ranch nature preserve and controls access to the airstrip – broke down a few weeks ago, Adams told the board.

“However, those negotiations are now back on,” he said Monday afternoon. “And we would like to re-introduce the fly-in community opportunity.”

Hickok and the Kirchman Foundation haven’t officially reached an agreement yet, but Adams said he wanted to get county approval in case the deal goes through.

Adams said the concept of an airstrip that also functions as a roadway for motor vehicles is fairly common. He pointed to a grass airstrip along Albritton Road within the county’s urban growth boundary south of St. Cloud.

The taxiway – which would cross Old Melbourne Highway - would be for plane use only and connect the airstrip to the community.

The largest size aircraft the taxiway could accommodate is a business jet supersize, which holds about 19 passengers, Adams said.

Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins Jr. expressed full support for Galt’s Landing, despite some concerns from current Harmony residents.

“I had to explain to them that this runway could be in use today,” Hawkins said. “It’s not that they (the residents) don’t have a say over it, but it’s been there for years.”

The chairman added that it’s the kind of housing the board has been looking for.

“It’s something new,” he said. “I think this is a great opportunity for the county.”

The County Commission unanimously approved the requests.  

The approval included some restrictions, including:

• The size of permitted planes.

• Restricted planes to personal use only (no commercial flights).

• Requires the applicants to finance future improvements to Old Melbourne Highway instead of the county.