MURDOCK — A developer on Monday presented plans for up to 1,440 homes on farm fields on Burnt Store Road.

It is down from the original proposal in June for up to 2,955 homes at 13289 and 14100 Burnt Store Road. The Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously to recommend the project to Charlotte County commissioners, who may review the project in October.

Burnt Store Road south

This is the planned layout for the south parcel in a project proposed for Burnt Store Road. There are plans for 1,440 homes. Burnt Store Road is to the left.

Two parcels totaling about 522 acres are owned by Brian Lucas of Bonita Springs. They have been rezoned several times in the past, but the recession in 2008 stalled development.

The current proposal would require the developer to buy development options from elsewhere in the county. Needed are 1,411 density units, which will not be easy to find, the developer’s lawyer, Derek Rooney, told the zoning board. Developers are seeking so-called density units all over Florida, Rooney said.

Density transfer is required when the county wants to encourage development in one area, but not increase the overall density in the county. Areas the county discourages development and encourages density transfer from include the coastal high hazard zone, such as on the other side of Burnt Store Road closer to the Gulf of Mexico.

Although this area appears rural now, the county zoned it Burnt Store Village Residential in the past, anticipating growth along the corridor that connects with Lee County and Cape Coral.

Burnt Store Road north

This is the proposed layout for the north section of the Burnt Store Road project. There are 1,440 homes proposed. Burnt Store Road is to the left.

The plan is for a variety of home types, including single-family, twin villas, townhouses and multi-family, according to the developer’s application. To get the county staff endorsement, the developer is required to preserve most of the wetlands on site, except less than two acres that are already degraded by agriculture. About 23 acres of other wetlands on site must be preserved in perpetuity by the developer.

At full development, the project would add 12,096 car trips per day, a traffic study concluded, adding that this will significantly impact roads in Punta Gorda and south county.

Asked whether the project is ready to go, pending commission approval, Rooney said the development environment now makes it difficult to predict the final plan.

The pandemic has motivated people all over the country to move from smaller to bigger homes in more remote areas, he said. At the same time, construction materials are harder to find, along with the density units for transfer.

Only one resident, Melanie Kinnison, expressed concern about the development.

There were very few households, however, in the notification zone. The location currently has few neighbors. There are currently no water and sewer services, although the development would have to provide this to its residents.

“It’s a very quiet neighborhood,” said Kinnison, who has lived there since 1991. “It’s rural. That’s a lifestyle that we have. I’m concerned that this noise will create a big change in our lifestyle out there.”

Kinnison asked for a solid wall, and to make sure her adjacent road did not become a short cut to Interstate 75. Rooney said it would not.

Consultants for the developer said the project will meet the county’s aims to be a walkable neighborhood and to increase housing options.

There would be sidewalks on the main road as well as smaller roads, consultant Jennifer Sapen told the board.


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