By Josh Salman for The Herald Tribune
Published: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 5:17 p.m.
SARASOTA COUNTY – South Sarasota County’s building boom continued Tuesday, with another 1,500 homes approved near Englewood.
The new Villages of Manasota Beach development calls for as many as 1,563 residences on 782 acres, abutting the West Villages in North Port. Sarasota County commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday.
The Villages of Manasota Beach, which the developer says will be similar to the Neal Communities Grand Palm community in Venice, is the latest in an uptick of new homebuilding near the county’s southern nodes.
Buyers, many of them baby boomers, are flocking to areas like Venice, Englewood and North Port to pick a retirement abode after years of inactivity. Builders are preparing with new subdivisions in near record numbers.
“This is basically the hole in the doughnut for this urban area,” said real estate attorney Bill Merrill, who represents the Villages of Manasota Beach developers.
Commissioners rezoned the property Tuesday to allow for up to two units per acre, giving the land increased density. About 260 acres — or one-third of the entire project — will be preserved as open space.
The development will be built in three villages, with almost all of the homes within close walking distance to a so-called neighborhood centers, where recreational and park amenities are planned. A trail will snake through the entire property.
Commissioners only concern was the potential for future traffic problems when this and others nearby are complete. But county planners said they have identified the right of way needed to bolster the road grid near the property.
“We need to keep having this discussion,” Commissioner Charles Hines said. “We need to have these neighborhoods connected or else it will be a transportation disaster.”
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