Lake Wales planners approved four single-family community projects that will add 601 homes to the city when completed. City commissioners will consider the Planned Development Projects (PDP) at their June 15 meeting.
Veteran developer Tom Chapman controls the largest of the PDPs with 349 lots on 80 acres of vacant grove land located at the northeast corner of Buck Moore Road and Sunset Drive, just north of Sunset Pointe Subdivision. Quigg Engineering, with offices in Lakeland, is serving as agent for CG Citrus LLC.
The preliminary subdivision plat was approved with “waivers of strict compliance” and elevated design standards by the planning and zoning board in May. The waivers on the R-1A zoning allow for 40-and 50-foot lot sizes — instead of the required 85-foot lots — that are more in line with what developers and home buyers want, and what surrounding cities have been allowing.
“The market pretty much all over central Florida is 40 to 50 foot lots. That’s what the buyers are demanding, and they also are more cost-effective,” Chapman told GrowthSpotter.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, lot sizes have been continuing to shrink across the country, and in Florida and the South, lot sizes are lower than the national median. Haines City, Winter Haven and Polk County have been approving plans with 40-foot lots in the past year.
“They can produce a more affordable home for the buyers. Particularly the younger generation, they just don’t want the aggravation of taking care of a bigger yard. And so do the retirees,” Chapman said.
A former citrus grower, Chapman said he is in talks with national homebuilders to buy 80 Acres but also is willing to develop the land themselves and sell shovel-ready lots to builders. He declined to name the homebuilders because the talks are confidential.
Chapman sees the homes in 80 Acres being one and two stories and priced $250,000 - $260,000 to attract young families, professionals and retirees. There will be a recreation center with a swimming pool on the 3.23-acre centralized neighborhood park. The western mini-park with have children’s playground equipment, and the eastern mini-park will have playground equipment as well as large and small dog parks. The community will be built in 3 phases.
The waivers to zoning also allow front building setback of 20 feet versus 30 feet required; corner lot front/functional side yard building setback of 15 feet versus required 30 feet; side building setback of 5 feet versus 10 feet required; rear setback of 10 feet versus 20 feet required; and maximum lot coverage of 70% coverage versus 40 required. The density of 4.4 units per acre is below the maximum of 5 units per acre.
Site access would be from Buck Moore Road, with a secondary entrance from Sunset Drive.
The other PDPs approved by the Lake Wales Planning and Zoning Board include:
- Buck Moore Heights, a 100-lot single-family subdivision on 23.7 acres west of Buck Moore Road and north of Christ’s Church on the Move. Lot sizes here are expected to be 6,000 to 6,500 square feet and 50 feet wide. Owned by KTSN Horizon. Econ is the engineer. The .46-acre neighborhood park is positioned around the retention on the north end of the site. A .30-acre mini-park is shown to the west, just opposite the neighborhood entrance.
- Belle Lago, an 85-lot single-family subdivision on 47.62 acres of vacant grove land located on the west side of Scenic Highway, with a peninsula extending into Lake Belle. Typical lot sizes range from 6,250 square feet to 8,125 square feet, and 50 to 65 feet wide. The owner is Winter Haven-based Tri Ben Groves, associated with citrus dealers The Bentley Brothers. Lakeland-based Econ is the engineer. The project is designed with an emphasis on green space. More than 16 acres of the site are proposed to remain as recreation and open space, meandering around Lake Belle, exceeding the required 9.52 acres for a PDP. A .60-acre neighborhood park is proposed with a private fishing dock.
- K&M, a 67-lot single-family subdivision on 17.33 acres of vacant grove land located on the west side of US Highway 27 and south of Mountain Lake Cutoff Road. Sebring-based K & M Groves LLC, run by citrus grower Marvin Kahn, is the owner. Econ is the engineer. An access permit for Mountain Lake Cutoff Road must be obtained from Polk County, as it is a County Road. The project is designed with a .30-acre neighborhood park positioned along an unnamed body of water, and includes a 25-foot-wide wetland buffer along the wetland area. A 4,800 square-foot mini-park is shown on the site plan at the northwest corner of the site. Typical lot sizes range from 6,000 square feet, to 7,200 square feet, and 50 to 60 feet wide.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The 80-Acre project is owned by CG Citrus LLC, which is not affiliated with Chapman’s other company, CG Land Development.