Communication Builds Our Community

City Commission Rejects Development on 2-2 Vote

Proposal Near Dinner Lake, Brookshire Failed to Meet Aspirations

A proposal to construct 64 single-family homes on 19.1 acres of land on the north side of Lake Wales was denied in a 2-2 vote in the Lake Wales City Commission.

The development proposal for the tract fronting North Scenic Highway had been recommended for denial by the city's Planning and Zoning board, as well as by planning staff at the newly-renamed Growth Management Division. The site lies just south of the vast Tampa Electric solar energy project.

The plan for the property, across Scenic Highway from Brookshire and adjacent to Dinner Lake, included several elements considered undesirable by city planning staff, who referred the design to the city's consultant planning firm, Plusurbia.

The proposed site design included facing houses inward and presenting backyards at both Scenic Highway and CF Kinney Road frontages. That arrangement is contrary to the eight "aspirations" adopted by the city commission in January.

Attorney Shelton T. Rice, representing the anonymous property owners, led a lengthy presentation on the site plan to attempt to overcome objections, but was unable to convince two of the four commissioners present.

The requested "Special Exception Use Permit" requires a finding that the proposed subdivision is "superior to that of a subdivision standard to the R-1A zoning district," according to city planners, who concluded that the plan "ultimately does not meet the PDP Design Regulations."

After Commissioner Danny Krueger moved to approve the project, seconded by Keith Thompson, Mayor Jack Hilligoss and Commissioner Daniel Williams both voted against it, in support of the recommendation of denial from both city staff and the P&Z board. Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson was absent.

The city adopted the eight aspirations as an interim guidance tool for city staff during the development of the Lake Wales Envisioned plan, which will guide future development to require higher-quality development. The effort was sparked by the rapid spread of suburban sprawl which has blanketed much of central Florida.

The Envisioned plan will be presented to the city commission at an October 17 meeting at which the public will have an opportunity to speak on the plan. Those wishing to address the commission are required to register prior to the beginning of the meeting by completing a speaker's form.


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