The Villages Daily Sun

Submittals detail The Villages growth in Wildwood and Leesburg.

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Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017 9:51 am

Both the city of Wildwood and the city of Leesburg have received additional details on plans for The Villages growth in their respective jurisdictions.

Representatives for the Developer have begun the process of submittals for land use and zoning changes along with Developer’s agreements that constitute the next step in the development process.

For Wildwood, properties totaling 2,014 acres have been added to earlier submissions, bringing the total land being developed by The Villages in the city to approximately 10,000 acres. In addition to the previously announced 14,000 homes, the new properties will be home for up to an additional 6,200 residences. The submittals also call for up to 7 million square feet of nonresidential space.

In Leesburg, the submittals did not add any new property to the already announced approximately 2,000 acres. However, they do provide updated estimates of how that property will be developed with up to 8,000 homes and 400,000 square feet of nonresidential use.

Both submittals describe how the Wildwood and Leesburg neighborhoods will utilize The Villages much-lauded “Balanced Water System.” According to Utility Engineer Trey Arnett, this means that growth will proceed with no adverse impact on the Floridan aquifer or regional water resources.

In fact, according to Arnett, having The Villages water management system in place as opposed to less environmentally sensitive programs may actually help to replenish the aquifer.

“Thanks to The Villages’ extensive use of stormwater, reclaimed wastewater and Lower Floridan groundwater, The Villages system has proven over the years that it protects the Upper Floridan aquifer and the environmental systems that are influenced by it,” Arnett said. “Development and use of The Villages water management system actually saves hundreds of millions of gallons of water every year that otherwise would be unnecessarily pumped from the Upper Floridan aquifer.”

The submitted plans also place a cap on development within the properties, meaning that actual development may be less but will not exceed the prescribed numbers. According to Kelsea Manly, director of operations for The Villages, this allows much-needed flexibility as the next generation of Villages neighborhoods comes into focus over the next 10 to 20 years.

“Those new neighborhoods will be consistent with the rest of our community in terms of the quality and unmatched lifestyle residents have come to expect,” Manly said. “At the same time, we’re constantly listening to our residents and adapting to reflect what their unique dreams are for retirement. These plans give us the flexibility to continue making positive changes as we go along.”