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The Villages
Friday, January 27, 2023

Girl Scouts fear huge housing development will threaten their safety at Camp Wildwood

About two dozen Girl Scouts descended on the Wildwood City Commission Monday night to oppose a 374-home development next to Camp Wildwood, a 600-acre wilderness retreat.

Mary Pat King, CEO of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, said the 104-acre Highfield at Twisted Oaks development threatens the safety of girls and the wilderness environment.

Commissioners approved a comprehensive plan amendment and high-density residential zoning for project, but the developer agreed to a restrictive covenant that will limit the number of homes to about 3.5 per acre instead of up to 15 per acre allowed by the zoning.

The dotted lines show the proposd location of the Highfield at Twisted Oaks development near the Girl Scout Camp
The dotted lines show the proposed location of the Highfield at Twisted Oaks development near the Girl Scout camp.

Located north of County Road 462 and west of U.S. 301, Highfield will be across the street from the Twisted Oaks development, expected to have up to 1,210 homes on about 387 acres. Approved last July, Twisted Oaks will be the largest Wildwood residential development except for The Villages of Southern Oaks,

King said the Highfield project will require the Girl Scouts to spend money to ensure the safety of girls at Camp Wildwood and to prevent invasive species from damaging the environment.

“Our No. 1 concern is safety,” she said, adding that the development will increase traffic and could boost the risk of crime and sexual predators.

King said Camp Wildwood provides a “right of passage” and an outdoor classroom for girls who learn to take care of horses and ride them.

Girl Scouts attended Monday nights meeting of the Wildwood Commission
Girl Scouts attended Monday night’s meeting of the Wildwood Commission.

Mayor Ed Wolf said the girls may be safer at the camp than in their own communities.

While he recognized King’s concerns, he said it’s not fair to the property owner to deny the project.

The restrictive covenant was proposed after the Florida Department of Transportation expressed concerns about the maximum number of homes allowed by the zoning during a state review of the project.

Kolter Group Acquisitions, LLC, also the applicant for the One Hundred Oaks project, agreed to a restrictive covenant to limit the number of homes in that development.

Commissioners approved a comprehensive plan amendment and medium density residential zoning for One Hundred Oaks, which calls for 407 dwelling units on about 119 acres west of U.S. 301 about 1 ¼ miles south of the Florida Turnpike.

They also approved a plan amendment and high-density zoning for the Twisted Oaks Multi-Family project, where 240 units on about 19 acres are planned south of CR 462 just west of U.S. 30

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