The developer behind one of Osceola County’s largest retirement communities wants to build a non-age restricted community within the master development, but the plans hit a snag Wednesday during a preliminary staff review.
Located on Hickory Tree Road, south of St. Cloud, Twin Lakes is approved for over 2,000 homesites. Jones Homes USA had already received approval from the county to convert 349 of its entitled homesites to primary residential use. The Preliminary Subdivision Plan also reduced the total density in Phases 7 and 8 by switching the duplex units to a detached product.
Scott Stearns, director of land for Jones Homes USA, said the company now wants to expand the primary residential neighborhood to include Phase 6, which would bring the total number of non-age restricted lots to over 500. The new section, which would be called The Reserve at Twin Lakes, would not be gated and residents would not have access to the clubhouse within the gated community.
He and Sarah Maier of Dewberry had a pre-application meeting Wednesday with Osceola County staff to discuss the project and whether to apply for a Planned Development rezoning.
“It would be cohesive with the rest of Twin Lakes, but again have its own amenities and be its own sort of neighborhood within the overall community," Maier said.
The developer wants to offer homes on 40-foot, 50-foot and 60-foot lots to attract buyers at different price points. Stearns said the lineup is identical what Jones is currently building at Harmony West.
“The concept here is to kind of mirror what we’re experiencing and how we’re selling there, which is really well received in the marketplace,” Stearns said.
But county planners said the concept plan failed to meet Osceola’s subdivision standards for Low Density Residential zoning because the builder was only offering one product type: front-entry homes. The code also requires rear entry for any detached home on a lot that’s less than 45 feet wide.
Stearns said the floorplans for the 40-foot lots would be identical to the attached villa units in the age-restricted community, except that they would be built on fee simple lots with a 5-foot side yard setback. It allows him to offer a more affordable product that doesn’t require HOA maintenance for roofs and yardwork.
“In Harmony West, we’re offering the 40-foot front-loaded product, and it’s allowing us to provide a better market segmentation,” Stearns said. “In other words, we have different offerings for folks who are at different income levels. If I go to a rear-loaded product, that drives up my infrastructure costs, which in turn requires the house price to be higher."
Harmony is part of a Planned Development, so it’s exempt from some of the newer subdivision requirements that went into effect in 2018. But Planning Manager Corrine Carpenter told Stearns and Maier that staff would not support a PD zoning for Twin Lakes.
“We can’t use the PD process to circumvent the minimum requirements of the code,” she said.
Jones Homes has already submitted a Site Development Plan for Phase 8 and had hoped to start construction on that section within a few months. It would include the model center and amenities for the the Reserve at Twin Lakes, as well as an extension of Nolte Road linking it to Alligator Lake Road. The plan calls for 127 homesites, all on 50-foot-wide lots. It’s currently in staff review.
Development Review Director Jose Gomez suggested they schedule a follow-up meeting. 'I’m not sure we’re going to be able to resolve it in a 20-minute pre-app meeting," he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to correct the total number of approved homesites in Twin Lakes.