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East County Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 10 years ago

Ranch incorporation committee endorses expanded city limits

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — The group leading efforts to determine whether Lakewood Ranch should incorporate is recommending the community incorporate in its entirety.

Members of the Lakewood Ranch Civic Action Forum’s Incorporation Study Committee met with Lakewood Ranch community development district supervisors and representatives of the homeowners’ associations in a public forum Jan. 28. At the meeting, the committee announced it had asked the economic group Fishkind & Associates to complete its feasibility study for incorporation using an expanded scenario for Lakewood Ranch.

The expanded scenario would make the future city’s borders include all of existing Lakewood Ranch, including the Corporate Park and Town Center area, as well as undeveloped areas in the Lakewood Ranch Stewardship District.

The committee had been considering another boundary option, which was called the “compact scenario” and consisted primarily of the lands already inside the five Lakewood Ranch CDDs as well as the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park and the Town Center Parkway area.

Committee members said the new scenario provides the opportunity for growth over time and reduced costs through the economies-of-scale concept.

The 40 representatives who attended the meeting seemed less concerned about the proposed city’s boundaries after learning only registered voters could cast votes regarding incorporation. Still, they had plenty of questions about funding incorporation and also its effects on residents.

Several individuals questioned projected revenues and expenditures as well as how calculations for those projections were done. Others encouraged the committee to have Fishkind run his calculations on past years to get a better feeling for how accurate his projections will be.

“What’s the experience of other communities that did this?” CDD 2 Supervisor Pete Bokach asked. “Was (the reality of what happened) close to projections (seen in the feasibility study)?”

Representatives of CDD 1, in particular, questioned potential costs for residents because many roads in that district are beginning to need repairs, which will be fixed by Manatee County.

A public forum for residents will be held at 7 p.m., Feb. 24, at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall. Residents are being encouraged to visit the Civic Action Forum’s Web site on Digital Village,, so they can become educated about the process and ready for discussion.

Details of the initial feasibility study are being withheld to avoid confusion, but once the final study is complete — hopefully by April — it will be published on Digital Village, Davey said.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

June 2007 — The Civic Action Forum Board met and voted to research incorporation.

September 2007 — Preliminary discussions were held with business leaders to secure support and potential financing.

April 2008 — The forum board created the Lakewood Ranch Incorporation Study Committee.

October 2008 — The organization hired Fishkind & Associates to perform an analysis of incorporation. The committee also began developing a city charter.

May 2009 — The study committee publicly updated the community on the key elements of its proposed charter.

June 2009 — Fishkind completed the initial analysis. The study committee began reviewing the documents.

January 2010 — The study committee announced it believed incorporation to be feasible.

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