Lakewood Ranch continues to expand. 3,000 more homes are likely coming to the area soon

The Manatee County Planning Commission on Thursday recommended the approval of rezoning two large parcels of land that will be used to construct more than 3,000 new homes in Lakewood Ranch.
The Manatee County Planning Commission on Thursday recommended the approval of rezoning two large parcels of land that will be used to construct more than 3,000 new homes in Lakewood Ranch.

More than 3,000 new homes are coming to Lakewood Ranch.

The Manatee County Planning Commission recommended the approval of two rezoning requests of about 1,500 acres of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch land. The developers initially filed their request to Manatee County Government for approval in February.

SMR asked planning commissioners to recommend rezoning the land from general agricultural land to planning development residential. Both property areas are east of Lorraine Road and between State Roads 64 and 70 East. SMR says the rezoning allows for the development of about 3,250 homes.

Lennar Homes and Taylor Morrison are two builders who have agreed to develop the property. Taylor Morrison will be responsible for building 1,750 homes on nearly 1,000 acres just half a mile south of State Road 64 East.

SMR Morrison Map-page-003.jpg
An aerial map depicts the 994 acres of land builder Taylor Morrison will use to construct 1,750 homes. The property is just half a mile south of State Road 64 East and adjacent to Lorraine Road in Lakewood Ranch Provided photo

On 545 acres of separate land about half a mile north of State Road 70 East, Lennar Homes will build 1,500 more. The neighborhood will be called The Woodlands at Lakewood Ranch. Plans for this segment of land also include a cell tower, with more details expected at a later date.

Darenda Marvin, a planning agent representing SMR, said the land will be developed in two phases over 10 years. However, SMR is responsible for the construction of roadways and utilities in the area, which should be completed by December 2019, she said.

The rezoned areas are in close proximity to land north of Premier Sports Campus that Manatee County intends to develop as a community hub that would host East County offices, recreational spaces, a library and more. The 75-acre area, which will be purchased for $4.6 million will be called Premier Park and developed over the next five to eight years, said County Administrator Ed Hunzeker.

The county commission will have the final say on the needed zoning changes.

After slight push-back from multiple board members, the Planning Commission also approved the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority’s request to rezone a 47-acre portion of land from light industrial to heavy manufacturing. The parcel of land is west of U.S. 301 and a quarter of a mile north of Tallevast Road.

SRQ Airport President and CEO Rick Piccolo said his organization would seek someone to lease the land to, but they haven’t seen significant interest yet. Commissioner Tim Rhoades worried that without a guarantee for what would operate in that space, the heavy manufacturing land use designation could allow the airport to bring in a business that disturbs the public.

Piccolo attempted to ease those concerns by explaining that the airport would ideally bring in a specific kind of business.

“Our goal is to have someone come in with aviation development. We’re trying to help the community develop the aviation sector, which pays very high wages,” he said. “We’re not anticipating developing something that causes community consternation.”

Commissioner Paul Rutledge highlighted the airport’s relationship with surrounding organizations and its track record of public sensitivity. Piccolo said SRQ is looking to lease the land itself so that it can control what exists in an area in the direct path of its alternate runway but pointed out that the day may come when the airport is forced to sell the land to a private developer.

“In the end, it could be that we only end up with companies that do light manufacturing, but we want the option as we shop it,” Piccolo said.

A 5-1 vote allowed for the passage of SRQ’s request, with Rhoades casting the dissenting vote.

The commission also recommended the approval of:

  • Plans for a Fort Hamer Senior Living facility that would serve up to 179 residents, as well as provide a walk-in clinic that would be accessible for the general public. The site 660 feet north of the intersection of Mulholland Road and Fort Hamer Road was approved to be rezoned from general agriculture to planned development mixed-use.
  • The construction of warehouse and office space north of 49th Street East and east of US 41. The two buildings will take up approximately 11,036 square feet and sit on 1.8 acres of land.