Wildwood mayor casts lone vote against ‘lowering the bar’ with workforce housing

Making some concessions to keep prices lower, Wildwood commissioners Monday approved a workforce housing subdivision near County Road 462.

The controversial Triumph South subdivision was approved on a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Ed Wolf casting the lone vote against it.

A single road will connect the 46-acre subdivision to the county road. Starting price for the densely packed single-family detached homes will be about $210,000. Construction is expected to begin by next year and will be completed in at least two phases.

Approval comes after a year of negotiations between the developer, Signature Communities, and city staff to find ways to keep home prices low while attempting to meet city standards. No sidewalks will be built and less expensive roads will be constructed.

Lot width is 50 feet with five-foot setbacks between homes. With three bedrooms and two bathrooms, homes will average 1,600 to 1,800 square feet.

The proposed layout of the community.

Signature Communities has contracted with home builder D.R. Horton to purchase 130 of about 200 subdivision lots. D.R. Horton, a national company based in Arlington, Texas, was the nation’s largest home builder in 2017 based on closings. The company operates in 78 markets in 28 states.

Acknowledging the community’s need for workforce housing, Mayor Ed Wolf said he was concerned problems could arise as families mature.

Two-income families may want to buy boats, but he said there is no place to store them. He also questioned whether school buses would enter the subdivision or pick up children along CR 462.

A rendering of one of the proposed homes.
Mayor Ed Wolf

“We’re in a little dilemma,” he said. “We know we need workforce housing. If we approve this, we are lowering the bar. You don’t ever get it back.”

Commissioner Julian Green said the city needs to make concessions to make sure the homes are affordable.

“We need to consider the workforce needs of our community, as well as our standards,” he said.

Sebastian Mizzi, vice president of Signature Communities, said he will spend $150,000 more to install curbs along the roads, which could help prevent deterioration, even though they were not required in the draft ordinance.

“We’ve been working with staff for more than a year to find a way to satisfy a need within Wildwood,” he said.

Development Services Director Melanie Peavy said residents of PepperTree Apartments or condominiums don’t have boat storage. She said the area’s robust service industry boosts the need for affordable homes.

“For the city to achieve affordable workforce housing, these are some of the concessions the city is going to have to do,” said City Manager Jason McHugh.

Signature Communities first proposed a development more than a decade ago for retired Canadians. The project was modified over several years, leading to the current plan.