Communication Builds Our Community

City Approves Large Mobile Home Development on 4-1 Vote

Valencia Hills will include 654 Mobile Homes Among 797 Total Units

In a 4-1 vote, the Lake Wales city commission this week on first reading a land use and zoning change that will allow development of a 654-lot mobile home park and 143 conventional homes on 208 acres of land east of Scenic Highway on the north side of Lake Wales.

The mobile home park feature is the first such development approved within the city limits in several years.

Billed as a "resort" mobile home park, the "55 and over" community will feature enhanced amenities, according to Shelton T. Rice, an attorney representing the Gardinier family, owners of the property, which is currently in citrus.

Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson opposed the approval, suggesting that the city await the results of the land use study currently under way before determining if the proposal is in the best interests of the community.

In opposing the plan, Gibson cited the need to "save the hills, lakes, and farmlands people have come here for."

The project will also include a 2.2-acre parcel planned for 23,000 square feet of commercial space fronting along Scenic Highway. Rice described the potential uses for the site as "a café, a convenience store," or perhaps a bank. The site will be accessible to residents of the community through a network of trails.

The 98 single-family residential lots intended for conventional site-built homes will have a minimum of 9,375 square feet, and another 45 single-family "estate" residential lots will check in at 100' wide and a minimum of 12,500 square feet, according to Rice.

The mobile home park will be located internally within the development, which will feature the conventional home sites along the southern frontage along Masterpiece Road. The project is also bordered by Scenic Highway and Lake Mable Loop Road.

The project it the first to be brought forward under a large "pre-annexation agreement" the city entered last year with the Gardinier family. A total of 932 acres will eventually be brought into the city under the agreement.

The manufactured home resort community will have an amenity center and a 1.2 acre RV/Boat storage area. The project will reserve an acre of land for the city for the potential future location of a water tank.

Neither the 12,500 square-foot nor the 9,375 square-foot lots meet the minimum lot size, street frontage, lot width at building line, or maximum lot coverage required under city development standards, according to city staff.

The development will feature divided entrances at Scenic Highway and on Masterpiece Road, with a secondary entrance off Tower Road. The mobile home community will have frontage along Lake Mable Loop Road. A variety of walls and vegetative buffers will surround most of the site.

Lake Wales continues to see numerous development proposals that are expected to change the complexion of the city, a fact that has sparked concern by many current residents fearful that the area will lose its "small town character."


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