Resort development gets OK for site near Sportsman Village

MOORE HAVEN — A rezoning petition from Brent Starts, owner of two vacant parcels of land that wrap around the Sportsman Village condominiums, has won final approval from the Glades County Board.

It changes the zoning to planned development from residential single-family and will allow the development of slightly over 9 acres into a resort-type development with residential rentals and a handful of commercial uses, in two phases.

Community Development Director Susan BuChans presented her report about the proposed ordinance to the county commissioners on July 9, stating that she and other county staff had worked for months with Tomy Perry and other staff members of Johnson-Prewitt & Associates, Mr. Starts’s planning and engineering firm for the project, on the plans. Its scope was changed significantly from when it was first presented, when it included 26 duplexes; those were removed. Now it calls for no more than 100 RV/park model lots.

“It’s a good project,” said Commissioner John Ahern after Ms. BuChans described the work that had gone into producing a development plan acceptable to all parties, including all the neighbors.

County Attorney Richard Pringle told the board that two of the engineers were present, Chris McAvoy and Sommer Foster of Johnson-Prewitt, as well as attorney Katy Burkey for the Sportsman condo group. Part of the petition provides for the transfer of three outparcels to the Sportsman Village Condominium Association (SVCA), which will retain the zoning and make them developable for commercial uses.

After Ms. BuChans finished her presentation, Ms. Foster rose to speak. “We do think this is a great project for Glades County. It’s been a long journey, so we’re hoping to bring it to a close,” she told the commissioners.

Six other conditions imposed by the county require: a shared use agreement with the SVCA covering its retention pond an setting up the land swap; an on-site septic system not exceeding 10,000 gallons per day capacity; the Florida Department of Health’s and South Florida Water Management District’s approval of the septic and surface water management systems; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ release of a perpetual spoil easement on the western roughly 3.2 acres of the property before development can get underway there; provision of a paved public street through a dedicated common element of the land guaranteeing residents’ access; and the installation of buffering for the two phases before construction begins on each.

Phase 2 depends on corps
Commissioner Donna Storter Long wanted to know what would happen if the corps refused to release the easement, and Ms. BuChans explained that would cut down road accesses from two to one and limit the number of lots they would be able to have.

At buildout, the new development will consist of no more than 100 RV lots with 5-foot side yard setback between sites. The petition was approved by the Planning and Zoning Board about nine months after it was filed, back in May. Development under the new zoning category allows up to 4.5 residential units per acre.

“We’re not going to exceed 100 lots,” Ms. Sommer assured Commissioner Storter.

The property is located east of the C-43 Canal, just north-northeast of the U.S. 27 overpass on the Caloosahatchee River and the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad, and north of Daniels Road.

It is surrounded by open-use agriculture, commercial general, light industrial and open-use floodplain zoning districts. Those lands are being used for the SVCA’s mobile home condos, public land, pastureland, mobile homes, utilities and the City of Moore Haven across the C-43.

The site has about 900 feet of frontage on Alvin Ward Road, which is SFWMD Access Road S-77; and the developer has applied to obtain access rights. There would be two access points. The lots will be developed in two phases to allow time for the owner to get the USACE to vacate its spoil easement; if the corps does not, that land will not be built upon.

Several uses were removed from the neighborhood commercial designation so as to disallow any bars/lounges or bottle clubs; convenience stores without fuel; child care facilities; and small item repair shops. The schedule of allowable uses for the outparcels gained two categories — outdoor recreation such as horseshoes or shuffleboard, and roadway.

“We are in agreement with the conditions,” Ms. Burkey said, speaking for the condo association.

There was no public input on the project plans, and the commissioners approved it unanimously.

Chris Felker can be reached at cfelker@newszap.com.

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