Food trucks may become permanent fixtures in Villages of Southern Oaks

It appears as if food trucks will become a regular staple in The Villages.

Wildwood commissioners and The Villages Land Company on Monday night appeared ready to enter into two agreements that clarify conditions, guidelines and expectations for the development of the Villages of Southern Oaks in the mega-retirement community. The issue will be voted on when the commission meets again on Sept. 23, though all five commissioners seemed ready to support it on Monday.

Ednas’ Provisions and Vittles is set up at the Cattail Recreation Center.

The agreements, approved earlier in the day by Special Magistrate Grant Watson acting as the Planning & Zoning Board, divide Southern Oaks into two areas containing 40,300 residential units, 4.3 million square feet of commercial/office space and 142,000 square feet of office/government space.

Among the most interesting of the many items included in the agreement is the provision that food trucks will be allowed within commercial, amenity and recreational uses as a permanent use.

That would seem to follow a plan that was announced in June when The Villages Developer dispatched food trucks – Ednas’ Provisions & Vittles and Rita’s Cocina Mexicana – to fill the restaurant void in the newest section of The Villages. The request clearly raises questions about whether food trucks will be favored over restaurants in the Southern Oaks area as construction continues in the coming months and years.

Rita’s Cocina Mexicana was one of the food trucks dispatched to the southern end of The Villages this summer to help fill the restaurant void.

The Villages also brought in a squadron of food trucks for the Fourth of July celebration that was held in Brownwood earlier this year. And they’ve been known to appear at various other events, including the annual Mardi Gras celebration in Spanish Springs Town Square.

Other notable facets of the Southern Oaks agreements include:

  • Area A can contain 25,845 residential units, 2.5 million square feet of commercial/office development and 32,000 square feet of office/government space. Area B can have 14,455 dwelling units, 1.8 million square feet of commercial space and 110,000 square feet of office/government space and additional recreation areas.
  • The development, which is generally adjacent to State Road 48, County Road 468, State Road 44, U.S. 301, County Road 501 and County Road 470 – and on both sides of the Florida Turnpike – is zoned Age Restricted Development (ARD), with a maximum of 30 units per acre and no minimum density.
  • In addition to residential, permitted uses include hospice, hotels, hospitals, recreation, golf courses, government, institutional, civic, medical campuses, multi-use trails, light industrial, mining, urban agriculture, recreational vehicle development, silviculture, farming, animal husbandry and assisted living, independent living, skilled nursing and memory care facilities.
  • Single family residential will have a minimum lot depth of 50 feet and minimum width of 30 feet. Building separation shall be permitted at a minimum of 10 feet between structures.
  • A minimum parking area for one vehicle will be provided per residential unit.
  • Commercial buildings can be a maximum of 35 feet high, except for fully sprinkled buildings that can be 50 feet high. Buildings exceeding 50 feet in height only can be constructed if the fire department has equipment designed for structures that high.
  • Southern Oaks will be a minimum of 25 percent open space that will include, at a minimum, passive and active recreational uses, buffers, stormwater ponds, recreation centers, wetlands and other conservation areas, golf courses, parks, trails and other easements/tracts.
  • Towers and wireless communication services, which include cell and other wireless structures, are permitted within the property and are exempt from requiring a Special Exception Use and other requirements in the city’s land development regulations. They must have a setback of one half the height of the tower, except those towers designed to collapse upon themselves. Water towers also will have a setback of one half the height of the tower, except those designed to collapse upon themselves.
  • An analysis by Kimley-Horn & Associates shows that no new off-site transportation improvements are needed. However, if the Developer proposes additional development entitlements on the properties, he will be required to provide a new traffic analysis or demonstrate to the city’s satisfaction that such a study isn’t needed.
  • The Developer will provide multi-use paths, lanes, bridges and tunnels to provide interconnectivity for golf carts and other modes of transportation to help reduce reliance on automobiles.
  • Tree preservation and mitigation plans aren’t required uses but must be consistent with historical development within The Villages.
  • The city will review the property at least once every 12 months to determine compliance with the terms of the agreement and take necessary action if need be.
  • Southern Oaks is exempt from the city’s sign ordinance and must be consistent with signage criteria within the existing Villages development. It also is exempt from the city’s noise ordinance provided notice is given in instances that may violate the policy.
Wildwood commissioners on Monday approved designating ARD zoning on multiple parcels totaling 2,127 acres within the Villages of Southern Oaks.

Commissioners on Monday also heard the first reading of an ordinance designating ARD zoning on multiple parcels totaling 2,127 acres within the Villages of Southern Oaks. Those parcels lie near the Florida Turnpike, County Road 468, Morse Boulevard, State Road 44 and County Road 470. The zoning change was blessed earlier Monday during the Planning & Zoning Board meeting.