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The Villages
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Wildwood leaders get first look at plan for 800 new Villages homes

Wildwood leaders get first look at plan for 800 new Villages homes
An overview of the proposed Villages development north of County Road 466A in Wildwood.

Plans for nearly 800 new Villages homes in Wildwood were unveiled at Wildwood City Hall attracting a standing-room only crowd.

Assistant City Manager Jason McHugh on Wednesday morning presented information from meetings he has had with Villages representatives.

“There is no doubt that The Villages provides a quality development,” McHugh said.

The development would occur on 222 acres of a 300-acre area on what is known as the Beaumont property/the Trailwinds property across from Pinellas Plaza. That property is adjacent to the back end of The Villages north of County Road 466A.

“No development application has been submitted at this time,” McHugh said.

McHugh outlined the following information obtained from his meetings with Villages representatives:

• The property will be developed under Villages design standards and would be age-restricted.

• There will be 785 new homes with 3.5 homes per acre. The development will include a mix of Villa and Designer homes.

• The development will include an internal golf cart path network

• The development will include a golf course, commercial outparcel and recreation center.

• Wildwood would provide water and waste water treatment to the new development.

• The Villages would create a new Community Development District or include the new homes within an existing Villages CDD.

• The Villages wants an exemption from Wildwood’s tree ordinance.

• Wildwood would take over maintenance and responsibility for some of the roads.

Existing Villages homes back up to the land that would be part of the new development.
Existing Villages homes back up to the land that would be part of the new development.

A major carrot for Wildwood is money it would receive through the new Villages development.

The city would collect $1.5 million in water impact fees, $750,000 in waste water impact fees, $200,000 in parks and recreation impact fees,$657,000 ad valorem annual revenue and $545,000 water/sewer annual billing.

“It is in the city’s interest to give this serious consideration,” said Villages Vice President for Development Gary Moyer. “We are eager to get in there and get it developed.”

He predicted the development could be built within a matter of months.

Mayor Ed Wolf said although it would be a great asset, he still has some reservations.

“It would give you enough population to basically run our city commission, since we voted down single-member districts,” Wolf said.

He said he is fearful that Wildwood would lose its identity after The Villages moves in. He said he believes the new residents would have no interest in identifying themselves as Wildwood residents.

“My biggest issue is that it doesn’t meet the current zoning standards,” Wolf said.

He pointed out that the new Sumter County Government Center was built under Villages design standards.

“So the citizens of Wildwood have no sidewalk access to that government building,” Wolf said.

He also expressed some reservations about the possible removal of some oak trees, but received assurance from Moyer that those trees would stay.

Wolf also said that Wildwood is a “golf cart friendly city” and said it would be unfair for golf cart access to the new commercial development to be denied to non-Villages Wildwood residents.

“I think there is a better fit for this property,” the mayor said.

Commissioner Robby Strickland agreed.

“Seven hundred and eighty five houses that don’t meet our standards is not something that I am interested in,” he said.

The mayor said it will be important to look out for the future of the city.

“It boils down to do we want the immediate gratification or do we want to look at the long term and seek a mixed-use development?” the mayor said.

He added that he didn’t think there is much room for further negotiation.

The commissioners took no action in the workshop session.

“Should this development not go through, I hope it doesn’t sour our relationship with The Villages,” the mayor added.

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