Ordinance to allow The Villages to build 14,455 homes south of Coleman prison

Taking the first steps toward another massive Villages expansion, Wildwood commissioners voted Monday to transmit a comprehensive plan amendment for state review that opens up 12,513 acres south of County Road 470 to development.

They also heard the first reading of an ordinance that would rezone that land from agricultural to age-restricted development and are expected to vote in two weeks on that change.

The ordinances pave the way for The Villages to build south of the Coleman federal prison and as far south as the Center Hill city limits. Wildwood has authorized The Villages to build 14,455 homes south of CR 470.

After state review, the amendment will come back to the commission for final approval. Large land-use amendments require state approval.

Some of the property was zoned in 2008 for the 8,000-home Landstone development, which would have been Wildwood’s largest residential development at the time. That project was delayed and finally abandoned after the real estate recession.

The Villages acquired and rezoned the property to agricultural in 2017 through a related entity called the Buffalo Hide & Cattle Co. and designated it for pasture.

Meanwhile, home building continues at a rapid pace north of CR 470 and south of the Florida Turnpike in the Villages of Southern Oaks. Commissioners approved final plats for six new Villages neighborhoods.

They include the Ellie Villas with 50 lots on 6.1 acres; Unit 45 with 113 lots on 269 acres; Austin Villas with 43 lots on 7.3 acres; Julia Villas with 33 lots on 4.8 acres; Unit 44 with 102 lots on 93 acres; and Unit 44A with 57 lots on 21 acres.