Betsy Calvert, Sun Port Charlotte — January 13, 2020
PORT CHARLOTTE — Planning board members thanked water park developers for picking Charlotte County before the board voted unanimously in favor of the initial site plan Monday.
The Charlotte County Planning and Zoning Advisory Board also unanimously recommended the plans of the other large redevelopment site in Murdock Village, West Port. West Port has submitted plans for 431 homes in its next two residential subdivisions.
Both projects must now go for final approval before county commissioners.
The water park project is part of a 157-acre plan called Arredondo Pointe that would include Port Charlotte’s first downtown, hotels, multi-level golf, conference centers, an outdoor amphitheater, walking trails and bikeways.
“It looks like a very positive thing for Charlotte County,” said board member Paul Bigness. “Thank you folks for considering Charlotte County.”
An allowed building height of 150 feet was cause for concern by Planning Board Chairman Michael Graveson.
“Keeping in character with Charlotte County, that exceeds a lot of buildings here,” he said.
He noted that even Sunseeker resort going up in Charlotte Harbor is only 90 feet.
After the meeting, a lawyer representing Lost Lagoon Development LLLP, Caleb Grimes, said no decision has been made on how high hotels will be, but the landscape buffering will reduce the impact of a tall building.
Also, he said, the goal of creating a downtown feel rather than a suburban feel.
“You do that be bringing things together with a little bit of height,” Grimes said.
West Port is farther along than Arredondo Pointe.
West Port developer Kolter Land Partners and Private Equity Group already own and has been clearing parts of their 423 acres, having bought them from the county this summer for $11.6 million. Lost Lagoon expects to close on its site in April, paying the county $6.7 million. All of that money will go back to developers when they complete infrastructure improvements including roadwork, sewer and septic lines, lighting and other amenities.
One large section of Murdock Village remains without a plan. That section is in between the Arredondo site and West Port, all on land between U.S. 41 and State Road 776 near where they intersect. Charlotte County Economic Development Department Director Dave Gammon has said the county will market that property as the two adjacent projects proceed.
Lost Lagoon expects to start construction on a hotel and some retail space this year. The water park would come next and the downtown third.
Lost Lagoon will be a good neighbor, President Lynn Mims said, adding that she intends to buy a second home in Charlotte County.