by James Coulter
Nearly 300 new single-family homes could be built near Old Scenic Highway in Lake Wales now that a proposed residential planned development project (PDP) has received preliminary approval from the Lake Wales City Commission.
At their meeting on Wed. Jul. 5, Lake Wales City Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the first reading of an ordinance approving a special use permit for a residential PDP.
The proposed residential PDP would be located on approximately 29.94 acres of land south and west of Old Scenic Highway and east of Scenic Highway North.
As the ordinance summary states: “The project is adjacent to the Duke Energy Facility, directly south of Mountain Lake Estates, and located behind Towerview Motel and Al’s Place.”
At 29.94 acres, the proposed site is expected to contain 300 dwelling units; however, at a calculated 12 units per gross acre, it can contain a maximum density of 359 dwelling units.
The units for the proposed site will be townhouse-style homes. Each unit will be platted, and 68 percent of them will be alley-loaded.
Since being initially proposed to the City Commission on Oct. 25, 2022, The Ridge Luxury Townhomes PDP, formerly known as Bok Estates, has undergone eight revisions with City Staff. The original plan was recommended by the Planning and Zoning Board.
As the summary states: “During this time, the Lake Wales Envisioned efforts were ongoing and City Commission was contemplating the City’s development policy. With additional citizens coming out to speak on the current development trends and decisions made by Commission, the item was continued to the January meeting so that City Commission could make their determination regarding development in the City of Lake Wales.”
City Commissioner Robin Gibson mentioned that the owners were willing to do even more with the site, but the fire marshal “put the brakes on that” for safety reasons.
If approved, the preliminary plat and PDP could help generate more than $380,000 in ad valorem taxes, with $60 million in taxable value at an estimated average of $200,000 in taxable value per unit.
A motion and a second were made to approve the first reading of the ordinance, and the motion passed with a 3-0 vote. The second reading will be held at a future city commission meeting.