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Traditional Neighborhood Design to Elevate New Lake Wales Development

First Development to Meet "Aspirations" for Future Development Here

The first new development to adopt the "Traditional Neighborhood Design" principles adopted by the Lake Wales City Commission has been approved. The concept lies at the heart of the Lake Wales Envisioned plan currently under development by planning consultants.

The adopted plan for the 18.66-acre site includes the mixed residential types, rear parking, sidewalks leading to nearby commercial services, a "green street," and other features advocated in the city's adopted set of "aspirations" for future development.

City Interim Planning Director Autumn Cochella heralded Miguel Kaled as the first developer to genuinely ask about city preferences to have and go the extra mile to meet them.

"He's a pleasure to work with," Cochella said. "He has the experience to build a little higher-end traditional neighborhood and he sees that he's going to make more money because he sees it all the way through."

"He was the first developer to say 'you want alleys? I can do alleys,' and add amenities and a central green," Cochella added. She contrasted the design with the typical subdivision plats submitted by developers who simply get the site approved and then flip it to national builders.

The approved mixed-use residential development will include 28 large-lot single-family homesites as well as townhome development fronting a "green street," clustered around an amenity center near South 11th Street and Passion Play Road.

A 13.66-acre commercial site at the intersection of Hunt Brothers Road and South 11th Street was significantly reduced in the process, at the request of the developers.

The commercial site was approved last year, but the approved plan will convert about half of that site to residential use. City Interim Planning Director Autumn Cochella described the original size of that commercial enclave as "excessive."

Reached by Lake Wales News, Kaled agreed that his plan will compete well with the typical subdivision style.

"We went a little further" with the 88-unit Lake Wales plans, he said, calling it a "boutique development" as opposed to an adjoining subdivision which was denied by the commission after asking for 900 hundred homes.

Kaled laid out 75-foot wide lots and believes the walkable neighborhood he will create will be far more desirable. "Smaller and nicer," he said. Kaled is involved in multiple projects in cities around central Florida, including Apopka, Sanford, Kissimmee, and Orlando. He compared the project in scope to one he is developing in Kissimmee now, but said that these will be "much better."

The 60 townhomes will be built facing a common green, with parking behind the homes so "people and cars will not mingle," Kaled said. The design also avoids bounding walls to better connect the neighborhood with surrounding areas.

Avoiding the walled neighborhoods popular in the 1980s is a precept of TND, and avoids outcomes like Burns Avenue in Lake Wales, which is fronted by more than a mile of walls concealing the backyards of houses. On five lots of the Kaled development which unavoidably face inward he plans to construct "Jannus" houses which will have two front façades on opposite sides.

Kaled prefers his designs to those featuring prominent garages facing the streets. "If someone came from another planet, they would think two cars live there, along with a caretaker," he said.

The proposal also calls for a wide landscaped buffer, rather than walls, along South 11th Street, among progressive features of the plan. "We will work with solar powered light poles," Kaled said, calling them "simple to install and maintain."

 

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