Winter Haven to consider proposed 1,747-home, mixed-use community near U.S. 27

Winter Haven officials are scheduled to vote this month on a proposed mixed-use development that could add more than 1,700 new homes near the intersection of U.S. 27 and Thompson Nursery Road.

The city's Planning Commission has already recommended approval of the future land use and rezoning for Preserve at Lake Ashton, a PD on two parcels covering a combined 370 acres.

"This is an area that's always been considered for a number of years to be a growth area," Senior Planner Eric Labbe told GrowthSpotter. "Lake Ashland was the first, and that's nearly built out. I think they might have one phase left." 

Ashland Land Development LLC bought the land in December from Fifth Third Bank for $2.75 million. The company principals are Lake Wales physician Hasan Mousli and Tampa developer Ghassan Kaloti. 

The PD would allow for a maximum of 1,747 residential units. Labbe said the plan doesn't specify the ratio of single family to multifamily units, but it includes a condition that each type of housing must be constructed in designated areas, and that multifamily units are restricted to four stories or less. Single-family home lots must be at least 50 feet wide.

The master plan allows up to 10 units per upland acre. "But in all reality, it's not going to be that many units," Labbe said.

The PD calls for 49.4 acres of multifamily development on three sites, including one closest to U.S. 27 that neighbors a commercial site and a 1.4-acre urban farm.

"We're not sure how they're going to do it," Labbe said. "It might be a commercial garden where they grow fruits and vegetable to sell, or it could be a community garden or co-op," Labbe said. 

The developer already has approval for a four-story, 500-bed assisted living facility on the western boundary of the parcel.

The master plan creates three commercial pods all fronting on Thompson Nursery Road totaling 16.3 acres. The owners have requested entitlement for up to 177,507 square feet of commercial space.

Labbe said the commercial pods are restricted to less intensive neighborhood commercial uses, as opposed to the highway commercial uses permitted on U.S. 27. The plan is create a "vibrant mix of uses and unit types and compatible densities and intensities as have already been developed in the area," according to the project description. 

The commercial pods were designed to capture internal trips and limit impact on the roadway.

The community would be built in three phases -- the third may require capacity improvements to Thompson Nursery Road. 

Carter Engineering is the consulting engineer. 

Labbe said the owners must file separately in Polk County for a narrow strip of land that includes a power line easement and access for several property owners who declined to be annexed into the city. 

"They're going to maintain access for those people," he said. "We can't create an unincorporated enclave."

The developer will be required to donate right-of-way for a future widening of Thompson Nursery Road and reserve land for a future transit stop.

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

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