SARASOTA -- In an historic vote, Sarasota County commissioners gave their consent today to the massive Villages of Lakewood Ranch South project.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to allow developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch to move forward on the 5,490-acre project, which would bring more than 5,000 homes to the community south of University Parkway.
Commissioners said the development's location made it a natural place to call home for the residents who work at the Corporate Park and the Sarasota International Trade Center, which border the Villages property.
Construction of the first villages is not expected to begin until 2012.
Business communities in Manatee and Sarasota counties lobbied hard for approval of the project, and commission chambers were full of supporters in white shirts.