Communication Builds Our Community

(26) stories found containing 'urban sprawl'

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  • Carol Gillespie Announces Run For City Commission Seat 4

    News Staff Reports|Updated Jan 19, 2024

    A second candidate has announced her intention to seek a seat on the Lake Wales City Commission in the Tuesday, April 2 election, which will see two candidates elected to new three-year terms. Carol Gillespie, a resident of Lake Ashton, will seek the north-side seat 4 currently held by Danny Krueger. Candidates must live within their district but are chosen in non-partisan, city-wide votes. If elected, she would be the only woman on the five-person commission. Gillespie's...

  • Steeple Chase, Iron Mountain Residential Developments Advance With Approvals

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    Two new large residential developments moved closer to reality this month as the Lake Wales City Commission voted to advance their plans. Steeple Chase, a Planned Development Project (PDP) received a Special Exception Use Permit and a preliminary subdivision Plat. The project encompasses 250 single-family detached lots and 68 townhome units on about 98 acres of former citrus land along the north and east sides of Ridge Manor. Lying adjacent to Scenic Highway on the west, the p...

  • Days Are Numbered for Grove Manor Public Housing Project as Federal Tax Credits Granted

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    Hopes for the compete removal and replacement of the aging Grove Manor public housing complex in Lake Wales took a major step toward reality with the recent awarding of federal income tax credits worth over $21 million that will fund the project. The announcement from City manager James Slaton brought joy to city commissioners and residents attending the weekly city commission meeting. Commissioners had agreed more than a year ago to contribute a million dollars from the...

  • Split Vote by Commission Denies Development a Second Time

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    A previously-denied development proposal was turned down a second time by a 3-2 vote of the Lake Wales City Commission after the engineers and planners failed to meet the city's criteria of a "superior" residential development. Developers of the project, known simply as "Oak Development," applied for status as a Planned Development Project, or PDP, to allow sharply increased density from the underlying R-1 zoning. The PDP approval would allow the developer to define 64 lots...

  • 1000 Friends of Florida Endorses the Lake Wales Envisioned Plan

    Paul Owens, President, 1000 Friends of Florida|Updated Oct 12, 2023

    Editor's Note: This guest Commentary is the second of a series of guest editorials that will address the effort known as Lake Wales Envisioned. Since our founding in 1986, 1000 Friends of Florida has advocated citizen-driven planning to protect our state's environment and quality of life amid its rapid growth. That explains why we enthusiastically endorsed the Lake Wales Envisioned process from its launch last winter. And it's why we're now calling on city leaders to approve...

  • Dover and Kohl Win Prestigious Seaside Prize for Planning Designs

    Special to the News|Updated Aug 13, 2023

    The partners who founded a planning firm that has become closely identified with Lake Wales have been announced as the 2024 recipients of the prestigious Seaside Prize, presented annual by the SEASIDE Institute. The award will recognize Victor Dover and Joe Kohl, who in 1987 founded the Miami-based town planning firm, Dover, Kohl & Partners. The prize, which is awarded annually, celebrates individuals or organizations whose life's work or accomplishments are emblematic of the...

  • Will Lake Wales be Overrun by Growth? Envisioned Effort Offers an Alternative, But it Needs Your Input

    News Editorial Board|Updated Aug 2, 2023

    Change is coming to Lake Wales. Are you worried? If so, your concerns are shared by thousands of your friends and neighbors. Ours is a growing community. This special place has been "discovered" by ever-larger numbers of people who would like to share in the unique qualities the city offers. As the agricultural basis of our economy is changing, so is the land use. Unproductive citrus groves decimated by disease are being offered for sale. Savvy developers are snapping up...

  • Demand Exists Here For Traditional Neighborhood Design in Face of Development Wave: Study

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jun 18, 2023

    A new market analysis by a prestigious firm has identified a large measure of demand for Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) residences in Lake Wales and Polk County. The study indicates that there is a potential market for new housing units within new traditional neighborhoods in Lake Wales which would amount to more than ten percent of all new housing demand in Polk County. Some developers have expressed doubt that they could sell "traditional" neighborhoods here. The...

  • Greenways, Blueways, New Street and Neighborhood Designs Among Ideas Offered by Citizens at Hands-on Workshop

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 26, 2023

    A creative group of Lake Wales area citizens joined with urban design and traffic planners Saturday morning at the James Austin Center to begin the process of designing an alternative future for the City of Lake Wales. Future neighborhood development types, street designs, greenways, preferred placement of residential developments, and even a "blueway" trail connecting to Winter Haven were among suggestions that emerged from teams working around maps and charts. The process,...

  • Charette Work in Progress Review Will be Presented Tonight

    Updated Apr 25, 2023

    A special presentation of the draft work completed by a team of architects, ecologists, urban and traffic planners over the course of the charrette week will be shared with the public at a special gathering at the Lake Wales Arts Center Thursday evening. The event will begin at 6:00 pm at 1099 East SR 60 (Hesperides Road) in Lake Wales. The planning effort is part of the city-funded Lake Wales Envisioned effort, designed to gather public input to determine the shape of...

  • Friday Night Public Reception to Begin Week of "Envisioned" Planning

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 16, 2023

    Doubts about the future of Lake Wales will be met with inspiration Friday night as a special opening reception for "Charette Week" will take place downtown from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The public is invited. The casual "come-and-go event" will be hosted by the planning team of Dover, Kohl & Partners, who will share information about the busy week of hands-on planning that will shape the city's future through a project called "Lake Wales Envisioned." A charette is a small cart once...

  • Monday "Envisioned" Events to Shape Future of Lake Wales

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 21, 2023

    A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the future livability of Lake Wales begins Monday at Bok Tower Gardens as a high-powered team of planners bring their national reputations. talents, and insights to bear on the city. The project, designated "Lake Wales Envisioned," will consider the future of a large area around the city and include topics ranging from parks, recreation, and conservation to future sites for commercial, residential, and industrial uses. Transportation...

  • Lake Wales Envisioned Offers Us Each a Chance to Protect Our Quality of Life

    Lake Wales News Editorial|Updated Feb 23, 2023

    "Growth" is a word that means opportunity for some and strikes fear in the hearts of others. It has been the driver of both the economic health and the environmental destruction that has reshaped Florida for more than a century. Rising prosperity has too often been accompanied by traffic congestion, water shortages, urban sprawl, and overcrowding, crushing the quality of life in some parts of the state. While growth has been largely focused on other places, it's now arrived...

  • "Annexation Agreement" Will Cement City Guidance of Growth Beyond Lake of the Hills

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 1, 2023

    An unusual "annexation agreement" covering 932-acres of citrus groves owned by Sarasota-based Gardinier Florida Citrus and PCGP, LLC will be considered by the City Commission this week, yet another major block of land that is being brought under the control of city planners. The lands in question lie east of Scenic Highway and north of Masterpiece Road at Starr Lake. Most of the property is not being targeted for quick annexation or development, but will eventually be brought...

  • Monday Land Use Meeting CANCELLED

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 27, 2022

    UPDATE: Due to the anticipated arrival of storm-force winds this week, the City of Lake Wales has cancelled the Land Use Study Workshop planned for tonight (Monday). Also cancelled are planned City Commission workshop and the Planning and Zoning meetings this week. will update meeting schedules when they are announced. A major city initiative that may influence future development patterns throughout the Lake Wales area will be the subject of a public...

  • Polk Forever Provides a Way to Help Slow Runaway Development

    News Editorial Board|Updated Jul 29, 2022

    The crush of development pressure that has been applied to Lake Wales by the owners of large tracts surrounding the city has raised alarm in many quarters. Ownership of land conveys many rights. Landowners are aware that resources are limited, and that commitments for water and sewer capacity are best reserved well in advance of their need. The deluge of annexations and platting doesn't mean all those new homes will be built anytime soon, but that's small comfort to area...

  • Lake Wales Proposed Development Total Passes 12,000 Unit Mark

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jun 16, 2022

    The parade of development proposals that have stirred citizen concerns of runaway changes to Lake Wales continued to be evident at the most recent city commission meeting as details emerged for several more projects. A calculation by LakeWalesNews.Net staff has indicated that more than 12,000 new single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, and mobile homes are included in developments already on the drawing table. At least three other projects have been proposed but remain to...

  • City Initiates Land Use Study to Guide Future Development in Lake Wales

    Eric Marshall|Updated Mar 3, 2022

    Keeping ahead of the numerous development proposals is a concern for city leaders and residents alike as some ten thousand new dwelling are at various stages of the lengthy approval process. City planning staff has been increased, but creating an overview is the goal of a new land use study The approved by the City Commission this week The action authorized funding for S&ME, an engineering firm, to evaluate land in the city's designated utility service area surrounding Lake...

  • Actions by City, FDOT Open New Potential Apartment Site on Twin Lakes

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 7, 2022

    A large tract of vacant land fronting upon Twin Lakes is now primed for development, thanks to a street redesign as part of the SR 60 bridge project. Lake Wales City Commissioners are expected to take final action this Tuesday to close the right-of-way of a portion of Gibson Avenue that has long divided two small parcels belonging to Hunt Brothers' citrus operations. The former course of the avenue slashed through the two parcels as a 45-degree angle. That street has already b...

  • City Commissioners Wrestle With Growth Challenges in Workshop

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Dec 20, 2021

    The challenge of managing the wave of new development proposed for Lake Wales was the topic of a two-hour workshop for city commissioners Friday afternoon, with the prospect for much more time to be spent on the topic in coming weeks and months. The nearly ten thousand housing units projected to fill a dozen developments in coming years are likely to attract an associated wave of new commercial development. Hearing presentations from city planners, experts, and citizens, the...

  • EDITORIAL: How Will Lake Wales Stop "Urban Sprawl" and Maintain its Small-Town Feel?

    News Editorial Board, LakeWalesNews.Net|Updated Nov 30, 2021

    Citing private property rights and the current broad wave of development interest around Lake Wales, the City Commission is faced with a tough balancing act: allowing rapid growth while seeking to protect the city's "small town feel." That desire has been voiced by at least three commissioners in recent meetings, none more vocal in their sentiments than Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson, who has delayed discussion in agenda 'workshop' meetings to repeat his opposition to "urban...

  • Deputy Mayor Gibson Issues Call for Preserving Lake Wales "Small Town Feel"

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Nov 10, 2021

    The multiple proposals for future residential development in the Lake Wales area has many concerned for the future of the city and the potential loss of its "small town" feel. After hearing from numerous citizens about their worries for the future, Commissioner and Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson has felt the need to speak about the issue. "Folks have been telling me they are concerned about the town being overwhelmed by the coming urbanization," Gibson said in a written statement....

  • Innovative "Pocket Neighborhood" Planned for Long-Vacant Scenic Highway Property

    Updated Sep 11, 2021

    Twenty-four young oaks planted this week along South Scenic Highway in Lake Wales mark the first step in the development of a new "pocket neighborhood," being created by noted urban planner Victor Dover and his wife, architect Maricé Chael. The innovative infill project will occupy a long-vacant parcel lying between the Grove Motel and the SR 60 overpass. The development will be built over several years in "micro-phases" beginning with "phase zero," Dover told...

  • Plans for City's Largest Development Moving Forward

    Brian Ackley, City of Lake Wales|Updated Sep 3, 2021

    The largest proposed development in Lake Wales history has taken another step forward. City Commissioners have approved a new zoning designation for over 1,800 acres of vacant land south of Thompson Nursery road and west of U.S. Highway 27 at the request of the Winter Haven Corporation, which has owned the property for decades. The property will now be zoned as Planned Development Mixed Use. Previously, there was no zoning classification on the land. The plan calls for 2,800...

  • The Northwest Neighborhood

    Robin Gibson, Contributing Writer|Updated Jun 24, 2020

    This is the seventh installment in the Lake Wales Renaissance series. Lake Wales City Commissioner Robin Gibson serves as Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the city's Community Redevelopment Agency. The Dover-Kohl plan is much more than an update of the well-worn 1973 improvements to Downtown. The plan covers the town's historic core. It is thorough, comprehensive, and doable. The entire plan can be viewed at: Appropriately named "Lake Wales...

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