West Port bulldozer

Bulldozers were recently rolling through a large section of Murdock Village, where Greg Jones of Stark Sullen Grading was working on the 450-acre site on O’Donnell Boulevard. The site is now called West Port. 

PORT CHARLOTTE — Now that a chunk of the former Murdock Village has left county ownership, the new owners want to form a quasi-governmental system for the 435-acre site.

Charlotte County Commissioners will be asked to schedule a public hearing on the formation of The West Port Community Development District. The board meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 9 a.m. today at 18500 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte.

A proposed date for the public hearing is Oct. 22, 2 p.m., at 18500 Murdock Circle.

The proposal estimates construction costs of $37 million for the infrastructure to support 1,688 residences. The number of residences is down from the 2,400 maximum authorized by the county’s special zoning for the district.

Construction costs would include roads, storm water management, utilities, landscaping, an amenities. The proposal states that the county would eventually take over ownership and maintenance of the utilities of water and sewer.

Community Development Districts are authorized by Florida legislation to be non-profit and to arrange for financing of public infrastructure. It begins with a board of supervisors made up of the landowners.

For West Port, five men are named including four with the address of primary owner The Kolter Group. Don Schrotenboer is the fifth member. He is president of Private Equity Group, which recently sold most of the property to Kolter. PEG retained a small section of the property.

CDD’s are designed to transition into elected resident ownership after six years, if the property fills in with residences.

These districts can borrow at low rates to develop roads and other facilities. They can then charge residents special assessments to cover the cost. The legislation was established to relieve some of the burden on local governments.

The West Port proposal is written by a Tallahassee law firm and a management firm in Boca Raton. The proposal states that the district will not add to the fiscal burden of the state or the county. Potential buyers of property are notified up front of the potential assessments associated with living in the district.

Developing the district, the proposal states: “will promote local economic activity, create local value, lead to local private sector investment and is likely to result in local private sector employment and/or local job creation.”

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