West Port layout

This is the new layout for West Port in Murdock Village. Removed is a loop road in the center replaced with a spine road for public access. The remaining roads are for the internal subdivisions. A second entrance is added on U.S. 41 at the top of the map. Commissioners were not unanimous in March on this layout but it was approved. This week, the board approved the zoning changes to go with this map.

West Port developers received approval for the changes they wanted in Murdock Village, including fewer sidewalks, less parking, an extra entrance and no loop road.

Charlotte County commissioners last week unanimously approved the latest request for zoning amendments for the 453-acre site. Commissioner Joe Tiseo abstained from the vote because he owns a business in Murdock Village.

Tuesday’s decision is the zoning version of the commission’s vote in March to change the longstanding developers legal agreement. In that revised agreement, negotiated by county staff, West Port developers agreed to increase the size of water and sewer lines in exchange for reducing the number of internal through roads. Constance voted against altering that agreement, but was outvoted 3-1 with Tiseo abstaining.

West Port’s main developer is Kolter Land Partners with a small section owned by Private Equity Group. A number of home building companies are handling the subdivisions within the region that has remained largely undeveloped since the 1920s. The site is centrally located on U.S. 41 near the intersection with east-west artery, State Road 776.

Commissioner Chris Constance questioned why the developer would request both fewer sidewalks and less parking.

“Aren’t those two things opposed to each other? Either you’re going to keep your sidewalks and decrease your parking spots, or you’re going to decrease your sidewalks and don’t decrease your parking spots,” he said.

The sidewalk reduction request is only for the internal subdivisions and not the main spine road available to the public, Zoning Official Shaun Cullinan explained. Specifically, West Port wants to be required to build sidewalks only on one side of the interior residential areas. The parking reduction is for subdivision amenities such as club houses and pools, Cullinan said. The developers believe that many local residents entitled to use these facilities will be walking or biking to them, Cullinan said.

West Port also reduced the number of subdivision modules it will build. The site can have up to 2,400 homes with some commercial and apartments allowed in the southern section along State Road 776.

Kolter Vice President Dave Truxton told the Sun that construction of model homes is still scheduled to begin at the end of the year so that they will be open for viewing early in 2021. Construction now is for land clearing, road building and utility installation.

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