The next phase of Lakewood Ranch will be a property known as the Taylor Ranch, which is located on the east side of Bourneside Boulevard and south of State Road 64.
Schroeder Manatee Ranch-Taylor Ranch LLC, a subsidiary of SMR, has presented plans to Manatee County that include a maximum 4,500 residential units on 2,307 acres.
On November 18, the Manatee County Commission unanimously approved an exception to the county’s Future Development Area Boundary line, which ends at Bourneside Boulevard, to accommodate the development.
Caleb Grimes, an attorney representing Lakewood Ranch Communities, previously said at an earlier county meeting that Lakewood Ranch has put in infrastructure that would allow future residential development.
“Frankly, it seems a shame to let that go to waste,” said Grimes, who noted the infrastructure is in place to support more development.
Documents provided by SMR state it will be requesting a limitation of development that will result in a density of 1.95 dwelling units per acre. Current county rules allow up to 3 dwelling units per acre.
“This will achieve project goals and provide a transition in development density and intensity from the suburban mixed-use development of Lakewood Ranch to the west, to the rural lands to the east and south,” SMR documents said.
Plans also call for 20 acres for a school and a communications tower on the site. A 10-foot wide multi-use trail is constructed along the west side of Bourneside Boulevard and will become part of Manatee County’s Greenways Master Trail Plan. SMR documents show that a trail head is planned for the area near S.R. 70 and Bourneside Boulevard that might include restrooms.
The plan must go through two steps before it goes to the Manatee County Planning Commission. The first is a large-scale comprehensive plan map amendment that would allow residential development. The next is an application for rezone.
SMR Director of Marketing and Communications Lisa Barnott said SMR would not comment on the project until those two steps are complete.
At the November land use meeting, residents in the area were strongly opposed to the expansion, with many saying they moved east to get away from development. East County resident Elizabeth Arnold brought in a petition that she said had nearly 3,000 signatures from residents against the amendment.
“Exactly how is this compatible with a rural environment?” Arnold said. “It looks like Lakewood Ranch Main Street will be heading for County Road 675 and beyond.”
Myakka City resident Kathleen Strong said she liked Lakewood Ranch but wanted to keep the development from edging eastward.
“We do not just wish to keep the country country. We wish to make the country more country,” Strong said. “I'm a country mouse. I like being 20 miles from the nearest shopping area.”
Dozens of letters expressing similar sentiments were also sent to the county opposing the development.
Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said that the development is considered a quasi-judicial matter at this point and that she could not offer further comment when reached by The Observer on Jan. 10.
Should the development be approved, it would add to the 9,309 residential units that have been added to the area between State Road 64 and State 70, east of Lorraine Road and west of Bourneside Boulevard according to SMR. Despite being outside of the FDAB line, the property falls within the Lakewood Ranch Stewardship District. That means that the infrastructure needs would be provided by the District and not from Manatee County’s capital improvements program.
SMR purchased the land in 2019 for $13.5 million from Old Florida Investments Inc., a Palmetto company headed by R. Jay Taylor.