President of Halfacre Construction planning park on about 43 acres east of Windward development
The president of Halfacre Construction Co. in Sarasota has plans to develop a recreational vehicle (RV) park, “with related amenities,” on Lorraine Road, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.
On April 6, Kelley Klepper, vice president of the Kimley-Horn consulting firm in Sarasota, filed a preliminary application for the project with Sarasota County’s Planning and Development Services Department.
Formally, the applicant is SITC Inc., whose principal is John J. Cox III of Halfacre.
The application says that the site of the proposed Lorraine Road RV Park comprises four parcels encompassing approximately 43.45 acres. The property is about half a mile north of Fruitville Road; its western boundary is Lorraine Road, the document adds. The project would contain 35 “equivalent dwelling units,” the preliminary application notes.
The county’s Unified Development Code (UDC), which contains all of the land-use and zoning regulations, defines equivalent dwelling unit thus: “The utilization of building space in such a manner as to have the potential of using two hundred fifty (250) gallons of potable water per day or generating two hundred (200) gallons of sewage per day.”
An alert sent out by residents of one of the neighboring communities, in advance of the May 2 workshop that county staff required for the application process, pointed out that the site is “directly across” from the Windward homes of Lakewood Ranch. Other affected communities, the Waterside Neighborhood Alliance alert said, are Shoreview and Waterside, along with those on Lorraine and Dog Kennel roads and Sinclair Drive.
The Alliance added in its alert, “We are your neighbors who care about preserving the beauty and character of our neighborhood. Together we are stronger to protect the quality of our lives where we live, work and play.”
Another document that Klepper filed with county staff says the property lies within the boundaries of the Miakka Community Club homeowners association. (See the comment below.)
Direct access to the site would be from Lorraine Road, the preliminary application adds.
The Alliance alert noted that the proposed park site is between University Parkway and Fruitville Road.
SITC is seeking a Special Exception for the creation of the park, Klepper noted in the letter to the county Planning Division staff.
Section 124-153 of the county’s Unified Development Code (UDC) has all of the provisions for manufactured homes, RV parks and campgrounds, Klepper pointed out. That part of the UDC, he continued, “permits Recreational Vehicle Parks in Residential Mobile Home (RMH), Open Use Rural (OUR), and Open Use Estate (OUE) zoning districts via Special Exception with the submittal of a Development Concept Plan (DCP).”
The planned location of the park is zoned OUE-1, which allows one dwelling unit per 5 acres, the preliminary application said.
Further, Klepper noted, that applicable section of the UDC “permits Recreational Vehicle Parks with a minimum park area of 40 acres within the OUE zoning district.”
He enclosed a copy of the Lorraine Road RV Park Development Concept Plan, though he noted that it is non-binding. Nonetheless, he wrote, it “reflects compliance with the standards of the Unified Development Code depicting recreational vehicle sites at least 2,500 square feet in area, on-site parking, landscape buffers, and on-site amenities including a management facility and recreational facilities.”
The site of the development is vacant agricultural land, Klepper says on the preliminary application itself.
A map included with the documents points out that existing wetlands comprise about 10.33 acres of the site, while buffers and open space would cover about 4.5 acres. Therefore, the graphic adds, the net amount of land available for the project would be 26.68 acres.
Further, the graphic shows, “swim areas” would take up approximately 3.98 acres, while a recreation area would comprise about 3.95 acres.
The address of the property is 2000 Lorraine Road, the preliminary application says. SITC bought the parcel at that location in December 2000 for $200,000, Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office records show. In 2022, the market value of the land was $1,380,700, the Property Appraiser’s Office record points out.
That part of the proposed RV Park site encompasses approximately 13.3 acres.
The three other parcels slated for the development are located on Cameo Farm Lane, east of Lorraine Road, as shown on maps available through the Property Appraiser’s Office.
Along with Klepper of Kimley-Horn, attorney William Merrill III of the Icard Merrill firm in Sarasota is a member of the project team, the documents say.
Development Review staff comments
Through a public records request, the News Leader obtained a copy of comments that members of the county’s Development Review Committee (DRC) provided on the preliminary application. The DRC members are representatives of county departments and divisions that deal with land-use projects. They work to ensure that a proposal complies with all applicable county policies and regulations.
The following were among the DRC comments:
- “Explain the history of land use and zoning of the subject and nearby properties. Explain how the proposed use is compatible with existing and planned nearby uses. … Describe proposed areas to be used for events, access, parking and open space.”
- “The formal application will need to include an environmental report prepared by an appropriate professional.” The report should contain the following: “a complete color native habitat map based on Florida Land Use, Cover and Forms Classification System nomenclature (FLUCFCS) and overlaid on a recent aerial photograph”; “Preliminary listed species information”; and “Information on how the proposed petition will be consistent with native habitat protection policies, ENV Policy 1.1.1 and ENV Policy 1.2.1 of the Comprehensive Plan.”
Environmental Policy 1.1.1 says, “Review all development proposals for consistency with the ‘Principles for Evaluating Development Proposals in Native Habitats.’ ” Policy 1.2.1 adds, “Land uses and land and water development shall be consistent with and governed by the Environmental Values and Functions of Sarasota County’s native habitats in accordance with the Management Guidelines set forth in the ‘Principles for Evaluating Development Proposals in Native Habitats.’ ”
During a review of the petition for the Special Exception, the DRC document adds, “Environmental Protection Division staff will inspect the site for the presence of Grand Trees,” as county regulations calls for developers to ensure the protection of such trees.
- “A landscaped buffer area of not less than 25 feet and in accordance with Sections 124-122(g) and 124-122(i) of this UDC is required along all streets and boundaries of the recreational vehicle park or campground, provided that at the time of the granting of a Special Exception, additional buffer areas and types may be required in developed areas and areas of projected future growth.”
- “Roads providing access to development shall meet existing County standards. Please provide existing condition information for Lorraine Road to determine if it meets County standards. Road improvements may be necessary.”
- “A recreational vehicle park and campground shall be so located that no entrance or exit from a park shall discharge traffic into any residential district nor require movement of traffic from the park through a residential district. A recreational vehicle park and campground shall have a minimum of 150 feet of frontage on a public street.”
- “Project will be required to connect to Sarasota County Public Utilities potable water and sanitary sewer systems” and to be “ready for reclaimed water service once [that] is available in the area. … Potable water will need to be extended across Lorraine Road to the project site and along the full frontage of the project property along Lorraine [Road].”
- “While there are no previously recorded archeological sites on any of the parcels and the proposed undertaking is not considered to have an adverse effect on any significant historical or archaeological resources, there is an area considered to have a moderate probability for containing archaeological sites due environmental considerations; elevated upland associated with a wetland sloughway, and a site visit may be conducted in the review process for further assessment.”