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Lake County Developments

Richland Communities activates first phase of Minneola’s Sugarloaf Mountain

It’s been seven years since Richland Communities acquired 1,420 acres in Minneola known as the Sugarloaf Mountain, and now the developer is prepping for Phase One with plans for just over 800 new homes.

The Tampa-based developer has filed Preliminary Subdivision Plans for two new residential neighborhoods south of Mountain View Road, on both sides of the new Del Webb community in the Hills of Minneola.

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Richland acquired the Sugarloaf Mountain project in 2015 and rescinded the DRI. The developer then won approval for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that divides the community into three phases, with construction starting from the south and working its way north. The development program allows 2,434 homes and 120,000 square feet of commercial uses. It also requires the owner to reserve at least 15 acres for a future school site and provide land for a future fire station, or build a fire station in exchange for impact fee credits.

Vice President Matt Young told GrowthSpotter that Richland would complete the Hancock Road extension from the entrance of the Del Webb community and continue it north, across Sugarloaf Mountain Road, through the PUD to C. R. 455. Hancock will be constructed as a two-lane road with enough right-of-way to widen it later to four lanes.

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“The way agreement is structured with Lake County is that there’ll be a roundabout at Sugarloaf Mountain Road. And then there’ll be another roundabout at County Road 455,” Young said.

Pulte’s Del Webb project starts at Hancock and County Road 561-A. It’s approved for 846 homes divided among six phases. Sections 1 and 2, comprising 200 lots, are being developed simultaneously. There will be no internal road connections between the Sugarloaf subdivisions and the Del Webb community, which is gated.

Young said Sugarloaf’s first phase includes the two southernmost pods of the community. Pod D comprises 169 acres, of which 78.6 will be retained as conservation lands. “That will be a nice natural amenity for the future residents there,” Young said. “We are working closely with the city of Minneola to provide pervious trails and walking paths where appropriate in the area, but overall it will be a nice amenity for the community at large.”

RVi Planning and Landscape Architecture was responsible for the initial master plan, as well as the plant selections and landscape architecture.

The proposed Lookout Ridge subdivision plan creates 344 homesites for detached single-family homes. The product line will consist of front-loaded homes on a mix of lot sizes, 45-, 55- and 65-foot lots. All homes must contain at least 1,200 square feet of living space.

Pod D was initially approved for 300 lots, but Richland is requesting to shift some of the entitlements from other pods. Thirteen of the 44 lots would be moved from Pod C.

Richland also will build an entrance road for Lookout Ridge across the northern boundary of Del Webb that will connect to the Sugarloaf Mountain Road/Hancock traffic circle.

Immediately east of Del Webb, Pod C has 236 acres. It was initially approved for 500 lots, but Richland’s PSP calls for 487 front-loaded, detached home lots. This community would be named Sugarloaf Ridge, and it would have the same mix of lot sizes and minimum home size.

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Appian Engineering created both PSPs, which set aside ample space for amenities. Young said the final amenity package will be determined by the end-user. He declined to say if any homebuilders are attached to the projects.

“Both of these are designed and laid out in a way where they will have the ability to function as standalone communities,” Young said. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t at a later date be incorporated into the larger master plan. The documents we have in place certainly allow for that to take place. And right now the intent is really just to provide the most flexibility for an end-user down the line to pivot one way or the other.”

The Sugarloaf PUD allows for 985 homes in Phase 2, which is planned on Pod B. The last phase is entitled for 755 homes, which includes 125 multifamily units in Pod A — the only multifamily units in the community. The commercial center, school and fire station are also slated for development in phase 3.

Young said there’s no timetable yet for construction of either subdivision. The developer is responding to comments from the city planning staff, and neither has been scheduled yet for Planning & Zoning Commission.

“It’s important to note, too, that these are just preliminary subdivision plans,” Young said. “Final engineering will need to follow this. And that’s going to be obviously subject to many different factors that will ultimately be the decision of the end-user.”

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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