Special magistrate approves rental of two floors over villagers’ objections

Lindsay CT Holt

Special Magistrate Lindsay CT Holt on Tuesday recommended approval of a comprehensive plan change and rezoning for a Wildwood single-family rental development project adjacent to the Villages, even though a dozen residents of the Village of Tamarind Grove came in. express their objections.

The Munz Subdivision would be east of Powell Road opposite St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church. Final approval is required by the city commission, which could review it later this month.

The subdivision would consist of 69 two-story single-family homes that would be rented at $ 2,000 per month and more with one-year leases.

This map shows the location of the Munz property which backs up the village of Tamarind Grove and the village of Buttonwood
This map shows the location of the Munz property which backs onto the village of Tamarind Grove and the village of Buttonwood.

Representing the developer, Jason Robertson of Urban Habitat of Gainesville, said plans for the project had been changed in an effort to work with residents.

He said density had been reduced by more than 150 homes, buffer zones had been reduced from 15 feet to 25 feet, and streetlights would be designed so that light would not wander into neighboring yards. Some oaks will be preserved. Access to the neighborhood will be via 81st Street.

Robertson said the tenants will be upscale – possibly managers and executives. The houses will not be short term rentals.

“We have tried to address the concerns of the neighborhood,” he said.

But residents, most of whom live on Bachman Road, said they still weren’t comfortable with the project.

“My main concern is that they are rental and two-story,” said Barbara Burgio of the Village of Tamarind Grove.

Jim Addington said rental housing does not promote the same quality as owner-occupied homes.

“I’m thankful it’s not three stories,” he said.

Bruce Williams said residents like that the land is currently zoned for agriculture.

“We love our pastures and are afraid to go from agricultural density to medium density,” he said.

Erin Munz spoke to Wildwood Special Magistrate on Tuesday
Erin Munz spoke to the Wildwood Special Magistrate on Tuesday.

Erin Munz said the project was born out of concern for her mother, who is struggling to make the 27 steps from her house to her car.

Growing up on the property, Munz said she also regretted the loss of pasture when The Villages built houses.

“Sumter County is changing for the good,” she said. “This is not the rural county that we were.”

In making her positive recommendation, Holt said she appreciates the developer knowing about the community.

City development manager Melanie Peavy said Wildwood needs rental housing because most workers cannot afford to live in Sumter County.

“The town of Wildwood lacks affordable housing,” she said. “We need apartments. We need rental.

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