The Villages Grown project, which will provide locally grown vegetables to restaurants, food stores and retail customers, received final approval Monday night from the Wildwood City Commission.
A site plan includes a single-story, 30,000-square-foot plant on 6.26 acres to process vegetables grown on an adjacent 85 acres. The project, which could begin as early as this fall, is expected to employ about 20 people.
Site preparations already are under way on the property near the southwest corner of State Road 44 and Morse Boulevard.
Vegetables will be grown in greenhouses and using hydroponic methods, which allow a higher yield per acre than traditional farming methods.
Commissioners approved the site plan as well as rezoning the property to agricultural from age-restricted development. The zoning change was reviewed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity because it is part of the Villages of Southern Oaks, a development of regional impact.
The Villages Grown project was announced last month by Villages developer Mark Morse at the annual “Evening with the Developer” event.
Commissioners also approved a site plan for Villages Public Safety Department Station No. 46 just down Morse Boulevard from The Villages Grown site. The 10,282-square-foot station will have parking and other improvements on 3.5 acres.
Across the street from Villages Grown, commissioners also endorsed the master plan for the Villages of Southern Oaks phase 6A on 514 acres near the southeast corner of SR 55 and Morse Boulevard.
The neighborhood will include housing, ponds, open space, a small commercial area and a multi-modal trail with a connection across SR 44 near the Rohan Recreation Center.
Annexation of a seven-acre parcel a half mile south of SR 44 and a mile east of U.S. 301 also was approved by the commission. The property will be added to the Villages of Southern Oaks.