The Villages seeks permission to add 10,000 more homes to Villages of Southern Oaks

The number of homes allowed in the Villages of Southern Oaks would be boosted another 20 percent under a proposed amendment to Wildwood’s land use plan.

Wildwood commissioners voted Monday to submit the amendment for state review, which is required for large scale developments. A final vote will be taken after that review.

The latest amendment will allow 60,449 homes in the development, up about 10,000 from the 49,839 homes in a prior amendment. Square footage allowed for non-residential uses would rise about 6.7 percent to about 12.3 million. Square footage for government and office uses would increase about 7.7 percent to about 1.5 million.

If all permitted homes were built, it would effectively double the size of The Villages, which currently has about 65,000 homes. Condominiums and apartments also are allowed in Southern Oaks.

Last year, 5,664 acres were added to the Southern Oaks area and the number of permitted homes was almost doubled. The Southern Oaks area roughly is south of State Road 44 to the intersection of Warm Springs Avenue (County Road 468) and U.S. 301. It also stretches eastward from U.S. 301 to past County Road 470.

The proposed land use amendment also requires that mining on land in the Villages of Southern Oaks will require a special Wildwood permit.

The Villages sought a blanket allowance for mining on its land that is zoned agricultural or for age-restricted development. Last week, Special Magistrate W. Grant Watson refused to endorse the plan.

Commissioners followed Watson’s recommendation and voted to transmit the proposed amendment for state review with the requirement of a conditional use permit for mining. A final vote will be taken on the amendment after the state review, which is required because it involves a large scale development.

The amendment defines uses on Villages of Southern Oaks land. Some of the land is zoned agricultural and won’t be developed for a while.

The Villages Land Co. wants to mine for lime rock on the land, which could be used in road construction.

 At a hearing last week by the Wildwood Planning and Zoning Board, Watson said mining should continue to require a conditional use permit because of its effect on air and water quality.

The special magistrate also said the mining allowance could spur other land owners to begin mining without a conditional use permit.

Darrin Taylor, an attorney who represented The Villages at the hearing, said mining already requires review by state water management and environmental agencies.

The amendment also will allow silviculture, or forestry development, along with race tracks, tourist attractions and golf courses on land designated for recreation.

Commissioners also voted to submit for state review a fifth amendment to the Villages of Southern Oaks development plan that adds eight scattered parcels to the project area. The largest is east of County Road 470, about a mile north of the Coleman Federal Prison. Other parcels are near the intersection of county roads 470 and 501 and north of the Florida Turnpike.

A plan for the Wilderness RV Park south of County Road 466 and west of U.S. 301 also will be submitted for state review. The owner, known as Unity of the Villages, is seeking a zoning change to general commercial from high-density residential for the 16.5-acre park.