By Duncan

“Forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming,” Gloria Steinem said addressing a fundraiser today in Memphis Tennessee. That’s an interesting take on child birth. If you believe that, then see what you think of this idea.

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Gloria Steinem

Located in south central Florida, Sydney Kitson is in the process of moving lots of dirt on a place called Babcock Ranch. He wants to develop and sell homes on a huge piece of scrub land. Gloria Steinem would be so proud of the marketing team’s efforts to promote this place as being “environmentally conscious and in tune with the ecosystems.”

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Sydney Kitson

The plan seems to be, at this point anyway, home owners living at Babcock Ranch will be the “Stewards of the Environment.” What demographic will buy into that concept? And will you also buy the concept that you and 19,500 others can sustain a community of homes with electricity generated only from solar panels located on the Babcock Ranch property. Make no mistake, Sydney Kitson is all in on this project rain or shine. The raw meat being, environmentally friendly, needs some sizzle on that steak it seems to me. Having a photovoltaic solar power plant and smart grid technology seems to be the major selling point for living in the wildnerness.

Most developments with homes priced in the low to mid $200,000 range to the upper $300,000’s in south Florida normally has a guard at the front. With the front gate comes HOA and CDD fees and real estate taxes, and of course, lots of by-laws and restrictions. Babcock Ranch, on the other hand, will be open to anyone who wants to drive their polluting gasoline powered vehicles on the property anytime day or night. No front gate required.

Let’s look at the Babcock Ranch golf course. Nope, not here. The first question you must ask yourself is this, You’re building a community in south central Florida with a planned 19,500 homes and it won’t have a golf course?

No one really knows what the arrangements back in 2005-2006 that were thrashed out and agreed to in order to purchase this huge cow pie repository from the Babcock Family.

In 2005 I’m sure one of the staff bounced into the office and said, “Hey, I know where we can buy a huge amount of land for a song … ninety one thousand acres for next to nothing.”

I’m guessing the previous owners, the Babcock family, apparently sold the property to Kitson and Partners on one condition. That the land remain pristine and devoid of environmental challenges and hazards.

Maybe the idea of a golf course was discussed, but nixed. Will there be, could there be, run-off of chemicals from a golf course encouraged to be weed free and super green? Well, everybody in the environmental movement knows that is a given. A golf course on the Babcock property spilling chemicals into the pristine water ways on the Babcock Ranch property? I don’t think so. No sir, no nasty polluting golf course on this land, thank you very much.

Can you hear the talk around the conference table? “Okay, no golf course, that’s no big deal. Let’s buy the property, then we can do what we want. Hang the details, buy the land.”

In 2006 the real estate market was booming. It was going gang busters. Remember? You couldn’t miss on almost anything. Anybody and everybody was developing, building homes making gated communities. All you needed was land. Simply come up with a guard shack, plan and start building. Finding cheap dirt and lots of it in south central Florida is paramount to finding a gold mine. I can only imagine the Kitson team un-corking the champagne back then. “Buy the land, we’ll figure it out.” And so they did.

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The devil is in the details. Two thousand and six turned into 2008 and the real estate market when south, big time. Not just in Florida, but everywhere. Kitson and Partners were in a dilemma at this point. With absolutely no one buying anything anywhere in the country it seemed the Babcock Family’s timing (2005-2006) was impeccable. The family closed on the sale before the market crashed. Who was un-corking the champagne now?

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Babcock Ranch is located in south central Florida. Babcock Ranch has no costal water views. The Ranch will have a real challenge selling 19,500 homes. Realtors suggested to me when I moved down here that a real estate purchase should be on the west side of Highway 75. Or better yet, buy on the west side of US 41. Or, as close to the gulf as you can afford.

Babcock is on the east side of both highways out in the boon-docks. It has no golf course, is allowing open access to the general public. And, don’t forget, if you decide to live here, it’s for the walking paths and the solar panels. How will Sydney Kitson market Babcock Ranch and to whom? What will Babcock Ranch ultimately become? I say, let’s talk about that in the next addition of

About the author

Stephen A and Scott Duncan publish "" Scott photographs (Duncan Photography) and is the guy who keeps this site running. Steve (left) is a photographer (Duncan Photography) and writes to ""