Lake County’s Whitemarsh subdivision, which stalled for more than a decade after construction of the first phase, is now approved for an expansion of nearly 300 homes following the votes this week by Leesburg’s City Commission to annex 158 acres into the city.
City Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the annexation. They voted unanimously to assign a future land use of Leesburg Estate and to adopt a Planned Unit Development for Phases 2 and 3 that allows for construction of 234 detached single family homes and 63 townhomes.
The first phase of the community on U.S. 27 at Florida’s Turnpike was built by Highland Homes in unincorporated Lake County. Two additional phases stretching west to the Turnpike and bordering the Plantation community were a part of the initial approvals. Had those sections been developed in the county, the zoning would have allowed for 276 homes.
Annexing into the city gives the developer the ability to build slightly more homes (297), but within the framework of a PUD with strict architectural standards.
“This is not a high-density project — it’s only at 1.9 homes per acre,” planner Greg Beliveau told commissioners. “We’re not talking about Miami here. We’re talking about a development that’s low in impact and low in density. It’s a development that’s still in character with the area.”
Former Winter Park Mayor David Strong (2006-2009) paid $1.37 million, beginning in 2007, for the four parcels intended for the neighborhood expansion. His LakeCo Partners LTD also owns 71.5 acres nearby on Dewey Robbins Road, which is not a part of the Whitemarsh project.
The neighborhood will have a mix of 50-, 60- and 70-foot lots with minimum home sizes escalating as the lots increase. Beliveau of LPG Urban & Regional Planners said the plan was tweaked so that only the largest lots would back up to existing homes in the Plantation community and Phase 1 of Whitemarsh.
The PUD ordinance restricts building height to two stories and requires builders to employ at three separate architectural features on home exteriors. Those could include dormers, covered porches, stone accents, bay windows, board and batten siding, etc.
Also this week Leesburg commissioners introduced ordinances to amend the Fox Pointe PUD, swapping out townhomes for additional single family home sites, for a total of 46 homes. Many of those homes would back onto Palatlakaha River and would have private docks providing boating access to Lake Harris.
Nearby, Hanover Capital Partners won city approval last year for a 532-home subdivision on S.R. 48 in Leesburg. The homebuilder expects to break ground this year with the grand opening slated for late 2021 or early 2022.