Richland seeks zoning approval for 155 acres of new homes in Minneola

GrowthSpotter contributor

A California-born real estate company is seeking approval from the City of Minneola to develop hundreds of homes on vacant land it owns.

Richland Communities is requesting the city approve Parkview Oaks, a 460-home Planned Unit Development on nearly 155 acres at the southeast and southwest intersections of Sullivan Road and Scrub Jay Lane.

Of that land, Richland wants Minneola to annex 95 acres into city limits from unincorporated Lake County and rezone them from Planned Urban Development (PUD) to Planned Unit Developments District - Residential (PUD-R). 

The balance of about 58 acres is within city limits already. The developer is asking to rezone that land from Business (B-1) to the same residential designation as the 95 acres.

The community would consist of 372 single-family homes — 260 on 50-foot lots, 92 on 60-foot lots and 20 on 80-foot lots — along with 88 bungalows on 35-foot lots, according to a concept plan. Open space would be maintainced on 58 acres.

Rural land borders the development to the north and west, Family Dynamics Land Company’s 3,971-home Hills of Minneola development  is to the east, and 723-home and 240-unit Founder’s Ridge  development is to the south.

A Richland Communities affiliate bought 92 acres in December 2013 for $2.32 million, and another related entity bought 58 acres for $1.75 million in July 2017.

The city of Minneola has a decade’s worth of residential development in the pipeline, such as the neighboring Founder’s Ridge and Hills of Minneola communities, Mayor Pat Kelley told GrowthSpotter, prompting it to draft a resolution stating a desire to pause any new residential annexations or rezonings until January 2021.

However, any applications that were received by the city prior to May 1, such as Parkview Oaks, will not be affected by the resolution. 

“The Minneola City Council believes that growth should not just pay for itself but benefit the overall well-being of our residents,” Kelley said.

The city is continually receiving inquiries regarding annexations of additional property for residential development as well as potential rezonings from non-residential uses to residential, Kelley said.

Pausing on any new residential annexations or rezonings would allow staff to not get overwhelmed, concentrate on existing projects, promote non-residential growth, and allow infrastructure such as schools, roads and utilities to develop concurrently.

“By doing this the City Council wishes in good faith to put applicants on notice of its current position so as to potentially save them the time, resources and expense of applying,” Kelley said via email.

Meanwhile, Richland Communities has worked hard to meet with local neighbors and satisfy the city’s concerns, according to Curt Wilkinson, the developer's Florida vice president.

“I know there is a concern with the rate of growth in the city. We certainly understand that. Our project proposes to provide infrastructure the city would like to have,” said Wilkinson, referring to improvements to Scrub Jay Lane, barrier walls and an 8-foot wide multi-use path along Sullivan Road, shown on a concept plan.

The project's PUD, annexation and rezoning requests got a first reading by City Council on June 19, and is up for final approval at the July 17 council meeting.

The development team consists of Mount Dora-based Green Consulting Group as planner, Tavares-based Booth Ern Straughan & Hiott as civil engineer and surveyor, Orlando-based Traffic & Mobility Consultants LLC as transportation consultant, Clermont-based Modica & Associates as environmental consultant, and Akerman LLP for legal services. 

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