The Villages Developer apparently is spearheading a major work force housing, industrial and commercial development along U.S. 301 south of Coleman.
The Coleman Ridge Master Planned Development Project would include 550 homes, 7 million square feet of industrial space and 100,000 square feet of commercial space on 563 acres.
Sumter County commissioners voted Tuesday night to send a proposed comprehensive plan amendment to the state for review. Major projects often are submitted for state review.
The plan amendment will be followed by a development agreement and a request to rezone the property to mixed use. Much of it now is zoned agricultural.
The industrial space would complement the Governor Rick Scott Industrial Park along Interstate 75, which also is developed by The Villages.
Nearly 1.3 million square feet of commercial space and 729 homes would be allowed on the property, but the Developer has agreed to cap the project at the lower numbers.
The property includes about 22 acres of wetlands and a wildlife population that features gopher tortoises, a bald eagle’s nest and sandhill cranes.
A traffic analysis by Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. estimated all three development uses would generate 34,591 daily trips.
Coleman CPD is listed as the landowner, but that company can be tracked to the Villages Developer.
During a public hearing on the project, Villager Gilbert Windsor told commissioners that he researched that corporation and uncovered other companies that eventually traced to Villages Developer Mark Morse. After Windsor’s comments, attorney Darrin Taylor, representing the project developer, conceded that The Villages is involved.
The Sumter County zoning special master endorsed the plan amendment on June 21.
“The project will provide expanded housing and employment opportunities to the surrounding community,” the special master stated. “As The Villages continues to grow in the Coleman-Wildwood area, there is an increasing demand for work force housing.”
Commissioners also praised the project.
“It’s a good idea,” said Commissioner Craig Estep while Commissioner Doug Gilpin added, “This is the right project in the right area.”
Several new industries have located in the Scott industrial park including The Villages Daily Sun printing plant, MiCo Customs and the DZ Precast Office and Truck Shop. A rail spur is under development to serve the park.