Bar-Key Groves and a parcel known as the Anthony Parcel — both on Dewey Robbins Road east of U.S. 27 — would be transformed into large-scale side-by-side housing developments if approved by the Leesburg City Commission.
Rezoning and annexation requests for Bar-Key Groves and a parcel known as the Anthony Project came before the city commission on first reading Aug. 22 and are likely to come back in November for second reading and public hearings before the commission votes.
Both projects abut the commercial and multifamily portion of the Lyden-Nicholson PUD, a 215-acre mixed-use development under contract to Encore Capital Partners, the developers of Margaritaville Orlando. Encore is approved to build 718 housing units, including 288 apartments east of U.S. 27 and south of Dewey Robbins Road.
The Planning & Zoning Staff, in recommending approval of the changes for the Anthony property, stated that the changes will have no direct fiscal impact to the City and future development of the property “will increase this anticipated impact from collection of impact fees, ad valorem taxes and utility charges. Future development of this site will create a substantial positive fiscal impact on the City of Leesburg, in the form of impact and utility fees, plus ad valorem taxes.”
The Anthony property is owned by TLC DR Holdings, LLC. The petitioner is Ben Snyder, with Hanover Land Company. The project comprises 133 acres located east of U.S. Highway 27 and south of Dewey Robbins Road. The developer wants to annex the property into the City of Leesburg so it can connect to city utilities and construct 391 single-family homes with a minimum house size of 1,500 square feet. There is also an ordinance being considered to change the future land-use map to change its designation from Lake County Rural to City of Leesburg Estate Residential.
A third ordinance the city commission is considering would change the zoning on the Anthony property from Lake County A (Agriculture) to City of Leesburg PUD (Planned Unit Development) to allow a single-family residential subdivision there.
A traffic and transportation study is required before final PUD approval. The conceptual plan shows two entrances on Dewey Robbins Road but no road connections to the adjacent properties.
This is Hanover’s second major project in this area of Leesburg. The developer received approval this year to annex Hodges Preserve just north of Dewey Robbins Road for a 449-home community.
Bar-Key Groves, a citrus grove since 1976 owned by the Scales family, is much larger, at 717 acres. The developer, NVR, the parent company of Ryan Homes, is seeking annexation into the City of Leesburg to allow a multi-phased mixed-use community with 1,700 homes, up to 137,000 square feet of commercial and a possible charter school.
A second ordinance would change the Future Land Use Map from Lake County Rural Transition, Lake County Rural and Lake County Regional Office to City of Leesburg Estate Residential.
A third ordinance would rezone Bar-Key Groves from Lake County A (Agricultural) to City of Leesburg PUD (Planned Unit Development) to allow commercial and residential development north of Florida’s Turnpike.
Developers did not speak on behalf of the Anthony Property, but Cyndi Tarapani, of Tarapani Planning Strategies, presented a PowerPoint on the Bar-Key Groves project, saying it will have various villages all with access from a loop road with a separate path for golf carts and other recreational uses. The plan calls for building in three phases, with the western section first, which includes the entrance road and a five-acre amenity center with a clubhouse and pool.
Various unit types will be spread throughout each village, Terapini said. “There will be 11 different elevations in four different products and there will be one- and two-story units in every lot size.” The plan calls for 482 villas, 558 45-foot single-family lots, 660 50-foot lots and 20 acres for a school or other institutional use. She said the school could end up being a public school, a charter school, or a private school. Apartments are expressly prohibited.
In addition to Terapani acting as the urban planner for the project, Tom Daly, with Daly Design Group is the landscape architect and Brett Tobias with Halff Associates is the civil engineer. Traffic Engineer Ayman Saidi with Traffic Mobility Consultants is also working on the project, as is BioTech Consulting Inc., handling environmental issues. Entrance features will be located on both Bridges Road at U.S. 27 and Dewey Robbins Road.
Deborah Shelley, representing Citizens for the Preservation of Rural, said one of her group’s big concerns is that some 5,500 units already have approval in the area. “We are concerned we are addressing development in a piecemeal fashion. Consider an overall plan for the Highway 27 corridor, an overall plan to address traffic, schools, quality of life and infrastructure.”
There are very good amenities in the Bar-Key plan, she said, but people in the rural areas see the density as excessive. “We would like to meet with the development folks and address some concerns.”