Sarasota County commissioners today continued a public hearing for the Villages of Lakewood Ranch South, a roughly 5,100-unit development planned for east of Interstate 75 and south of University Parkway.
Officials from Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch had hoped to move forward, as they have been working on the project with the county for more than 10 years. However, Sarasota county's legal staff last week raised concerns about a state statute that may effectively allow SMR to avoid funding required road improvements in the future by choosing to pursue a concept called "proportionate share" funding.
SMR President and CEO Rex Jensen said at the hearing that he did not, at this time, have plans to pursue proportional share funding. He then agreed to enter into a development agreement with the county to ensure his company would fund roads as required.
"It's got to be a team approach," Jensen said.
The agreement, as well as the development approvals being sought by SMR, will go back before commissioners at 1:30 p.m., May 12.
The Villages project is the first development to go forward under Sarasota County's 2050 growth management plan and is considered a test site for the "villages" concept, which prescribes clustered residential development, walkability and plenty of green spaces.
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