Southwest Ranches, Florida

Southwest Ranches is a town in Broward County, Florida, United States. It is located on the eastern edge of the Everglades, 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Fort Lauderdale. It became the county's 30th incorporated place in 2000 to avoid annexation into Pembroke Pines and to preserve its semi-rural lifestyle. Because the area has many horse ranches and is located in the southwestern part of Broward County, residents chose "Southwest Ranches" over other potential town names.

Southwest Ranches, Florida
Town of Southwest Ranches
"Preserving Our Rural Lifestyle"[1][2] (official) and "The pavement stops here!"[3]
Location of Southwest Ranches within Broward County
Coordinates: 26°3′31″N 80°20′14″W
Country United States of America
State Florida
County Broward
IncorporatedJune 6, 2000[4]
  MayorDoug McKay[5]
  Vice MayorGary Jablonski[6]
  CommissionersBob Hartmann, Denise "Dee" Schroeder, and Freddy Fisikelli[7]
  Town AdministratorAndrew “Andy” Berns[8]
  Town ClerkRussell Muñiz[9]
  Total13.15 sq mi (34.07 km2)
  Land13.14 sq mi (34.02 km2)
  Water0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
Elevation9 ft (2 m)
  Density601.25/sq mi (232.15/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
33029, 33330-33332[13]
Area code(s)754, 954
FIPS code12-68135

The population at the 2010 census was 7,345. The town includes the 2000 census-designated places of Country Estates, Green Meadow, Rolling Oaks, and Sunshine Ranches (as well as sub-neighborhoods Landmark Ranch Estates and Sterling Ranch Estates), all of which are now Southwest Ranches neighborhoods. To support its rural-equestrian lifestyle, the town has developed many equestrian trails.


In 1996, Pembroke Pines proposed a bill to the Broward County Legislative Delegation to annex all the unincorporated areas between Griffin Road, Sheridan Street, Flamingo Road, and SR 25 into Pembroke Pines. Hundreds of citizens from the unincorporated area of Southwest Ranches packed the delegation hearing in November 1996 at Pembroke Pines City Hall to protest this takeover and to call for the right to form their own city. As a result of this grassroots effort, the State Legislature passed a bill in the 1997 session which called for a vote of Southwest Ranches' citizens in March 2000; they could be annexed into either Pembroke Pines or Davie or become a new city.[14]

Southwest Ranches Homeowners Association was an umbrella group composed of individual homeowners associations in the Southwest Ranches area. Anyone belonging to an individual homeowners association was also automatically a member of the group, with full voting rights. In 1997, its members agreed to actively promote incorporation of a new city for the area and formed a political committee to explore this option. A feasibility committee was appointed to determine if a new city would be viable. They would have to know if revenues would be adequate to cover the costs of running a city. Dr. Milan Dluhy of Florida International University was contacted and asked to complete a formal feasibility study; Dluhy had produced many such studies for groups which subsequently became successful cities. The committee also contacted Moyer and Associates, the company which provides contract services to Weston.[14]

The feasibility committee determined that a contract city would be the best option. Contracting would allow the city access to experienced professionals without having to hire these individuals on a full-time basis. This would save taxpayers money and avoid many costly capital expenses. Moyer and Associates provided the feasibility committee and Dr. Dluhy with financial information on which to base estimates of both income and expenses. The committee also considered the figures provided by the PMG study. PMG is the company which was hired by Broward County to conduct a study comparing the costs of Pembroke Pines and Davie to the costs of being incorporated into a new city.[14]

On July 3, 1999, the Southwest Ranches Homeowners Association sponsored a parade and picnic to declare the area's independence. Speakers at the event included then-Senator Howard Forman, state Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, County Commissioner Lori Parrish, Sheriff Ken Jenne, and Weston Mayor Harry Rosen.[14] The bill passed in 1997 authorized the vote in 2000 to determine if residents wanted to form their own city. If the vote was for a new city, a charter was to be drawn up and an election forming the city held in 2001. Leaders realized, however, that if a charter could be drawn up sooner, it could be approved in 2000 and the city formed a year earlier, which would be financially beneficial to the residents.[14]

A charter committee was formed to draw up a charter. The committee met almost weekly during July and August 1999, and formulated a new charter, using the Weston charter as a template. A contest was held to name the town, with 122 different names submitted. A vote was held on October 12, 1999 to select one of the top five names, which Southwest Ranches won. Southwest Ranches Homeowners Association members voted to move forward and request a local bill to allow incorporation in 2000 instead of 2001, which was approved. On March 14, 2000, residents voted overwhelmingly to form a new town rather than be annexed.[14]

The most contentious issue during charter committee meetings was whether or not to have districts.[14] The majority of members felt that council members should be elected at large, meaning that any qualified candidate could run for a seat, no matter where that individual lived, but some felt that candidates should only be able to run if they lived in one of four districts. When the election to approve the charter was held on June 6, 2000, the issue was put to a vote, and the majority of voters selected districts. Council members were elected on July 25, 2000, and the town was officially established.[14]


The area is primarily residential, with most lots consisting of 1 acre (0.40 ha) or more. There are some small farms and equestrian ranches. The town has laws that keep homes from being built on lots of less than 1 acre (0.40 ha). In order to conserve the town's rural lifestyle, the laws also generally stop streetlights and sidewalks from being constructed.

From the time of its founding until 2012, the town conducted its business from a modular office at the South Broward Drainage District headquarters. In 2012, the town, under the leadership of Vice Mayor Doug McKay, renovated a former church to create Southwest Ranches' first permanent town hall. Police and emergency services are provided by the nearby town of Davie.[15]

To support its rural-equestrian lifestyle, the town has developed miles of multi-use trails. People can be often be seen riding horses or bicycles or walking the trails that spread throughout the town. Since incorporation, the town has also acquired seven open-space parks, only one of which has been developed so far.[16] This park includes a schooling ring, a show ring, and the Equestrian Oasis, an art installation primarily used to provide drinking water for horses.[17]


Southwest Ranches is served by Broward County Public Schools, with all or part of the town included in the attendance zones of Manatee Bay Elementary, Hawkes Bluff Elementary School, Silver Trail Middle School, and West Broward High School.

Private Schools


Historical population
Est. 20187,981[12]8.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
Southwest Ranches Demographics
2010 CensusSouthwest RanchesBroward CountyFlorida
Total population7,3451,748,06618,801,310
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010+8.3%+7.7%+17.6%
Population density562.5/sq mi1,444.9/sq mi350.6/sq mi
White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)85.9%63.1%75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)56.4%43.5%57.9%
Black or African-American5.4%26.7%16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)33.3%25.1%22.5%
Native American or Native Alaskan0.6%0.3%0.4%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian0.0%0.1%0.1%
Two or more races (Multiracial)2.9%2.9%2.5%
Some Other Race2.4%3.7%3.6%

As of 2010, there were 2,389 households out of which 6.2% were vacant. As of 2000, before annexation to Southwest Ranches, the Country Estates neighborhood had speakers of English as a first language accounted for 78.46% of all residents, while Spanish as a mother tongue made up 21.53% of the population.[19]

As of 2000, before being annexed to Southwest Ranches, the Green Meadow neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 82.09% of all residents, while Spanish as a mother tongue made up 17.90% of the population.[20]

As of 2000, before being annexed to Southwest Ranches, the Rolling Oaks neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 70.42% of all residents, while Spanish as a mother tongue made up 29.57%% of the population.[21]

As of 2000, before being annexed to Southwest Ranches, the Sunshine Ranches neighborhood had English as a first language accounted for 76.22% of all residents, while Spanish as a mother tongue accounted for 22.16%, and Italian made up 1.61% of the population.[22]

Government and infrastructure

The Florida Department of Corrections operates the Region IV Correctional Facility Office on the grounds of Broward Correctional Institution in the former Country Estates CDP and in Southwest Ranches.[23][24][25] The Broward prison formerly housed the female death row,[26] which was moved to the Lowell Correctional Institution in February 2003.[24]

Southwest Ranches' charter defines the governing body as a council with one mayor and four council members. Both the mayor and the council members are elected at large from the electorate of the town, but the council members represent districts in which they must reside. The mayoral role is largely ceremonial with no more power than any council member. Other charter positions serving Southwest Ranches include the town administrator, financial administrator, and town clerk.

The town's first council consisted of Mayor Mecca Fink, Vice Mayor Johnny Dollar, Forrest Blanton, Freddy Fisikelli, and Astor Knight.[27]

Notable people

TV Coverage

WSVN's Deco Drive show featured a Southwest Ranches farm on their show in 2019.[39]


  1. "Preserving Our Rural Lifestyle: Welcome to Southwest Ranches, Florida (The upper top portion of the main page, with the town's seal & motto)". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  2. "Southwest Ranches: Preserving Our Rural Lifestyle". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  3. "Broward Bugle: Southwest Ranches Making a Costly Mistake?". Archived from the original on 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  4. "Broward-by-the-Numbers (pages 3-5)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-10. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  5. "Mayor Doug McKay - Southwest Ranches, Florida".
  6. "Vice Mayor Gary Jablonski - Southwest Ranches, Florida".
  7. "Council - Southwest Ranches, Florida".
  8. "Town Administrator - Southwest Ranches, Florida".
  9. "Town Clerk - Southwest Ranches, Florida".
  10. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 7, 2017.
  11. "Southwest Ranches, United States Page". Falling Rain Genomics. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  12. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  13. "Southwest Ranches, Broward County, Florida Zip Code Map Boundary Version 3.0". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  14. "About Our Town". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  15. "Weston, Southwest Ranches and unincorporated West Broward". Archived from the original on 2005-12-29. Retrieved 2006-01-13.
  16. SWR Parks and recreation Archived 2009-08-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  17. "Southwest Ranches Real Estate & Information". Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  18. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. "MLA Data Center results for Country Estates, FL". Modern Language Association. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
  20. "MLA Data Center Results for Green Meadow, FL". Modern Language Association. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
  21. "MLA Data Center Results for Rolling Oaks, FL". Modern Language Association. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
  22. "MLA Data Center Results of Sunshine Ranches, FL". Modern Language Association. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
  23. "Region IV - Correctional Facility Office." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on January 8, 2010.
  24. "Broward Correctional Institution." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  25. "Country Estates CDP, Florida." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on January 8, 2010.
  26. "Death Row Fact Sheet." Florida Department of Corrections. February 3, 2001. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  27. "Former Town Council Members". Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  28. "Southwest Ranches Website". Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  29. "The Rock buys home" (PDF). 2012.
  30. "Article" (PDF). 2013.
  31. "New home buy" (PDF). 2010.
  32. Sentinel, Sun (2 May 2013). "Udonis Haslem Robbed: Burglars Break Into Miami Heat Star's Southwest Ranches Home (VIDEO)" via Huff Post.
  33. "Dwayne Johnson Buys Rockin' South Florida House". 15 March 2012.
  34. "The Rock Moves Into Southwest Ranches, Orders Big Addition".
  35. Leitereg, Neal J. "NFL's Karlos Dansby lists Florida mansion he bought from Reggie Wayne".
  36. "Raw Leiba". IMDb.
  37. Louie, Uncle (2016-05-19). "Southwest Ranches. Have You Been?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  38. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. "Chris gets busy with bees in Southwest Ranches". April 11, 2019.
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