City Approves Townhouses Near Lake Parker; Meeting Roundup

A 32-unit townhouse community will be built between Lake Parker and the Lakeland Hills Boulevard medical corridor as a result of City Commission action on Monday. The commission also approved a major update to the city’s comprehensive plan, tax incentives for two planned Garden District apartment complexes, and developing a plan to extend sewers to six pockets where septic tanks are now used.

All of the votes were unanimous in a largely noncontroversial meeting. Here are summaries of commission action and links to learn more:

LAKESHORE LANDINGS will be the name of a townhouse community built on 4.1 acres south of Druid Street and west of the Lakeland Harbor 55+ condominiums on West Lake Parker Drive.

City planners said the development will serve as a transition between the multi-family community on the lake and the single-family residences that make up the rest of the neighborhood.

Neighbors objected to the project when it first came to the commission in March, and commissioners asked the developers to scale back the project.

Engineers at Kimley-Horn’s Lakeland office reduced the footprint of the project, trimmed the units from 40 to 32, changed the orientation of the homes so they faced outward toward the street, altered plans for a stormwater pond and the developer agreed to widen Druid Street near the project.

Neighbors attending Monday’s meeting objected to pending increases in traffic and density, but commissioners said they were satisfied with the changes and approved a change in zoning from single-family residential to planned unit development.

Learn more: City ordinance | Ledger coverage

Lakeshore Landings rendering

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN: A several-hundred-pages document intended to guide Lakeland’s development through 2030 was praised and approved by city commissioners.

The comprehensive plan, updated every 10 years, incorporated findings from separate 2019 citizen surveys conducted by the city of Lakeland and the Lakeland Vision non-profit organization, according to city Planning Manager Teresa Maio.

The original Lakeland comp plan dates to 1991 and has been updated twice, she said. It encompasses land use, transportation, infrastructure, environment, recreation, neighborhoods, capital projects and fiscal management.

Learn more: Ordinance and the plan

GARDEN DISTRICT APARTMENTS: Developer Jason Lewis was granted tax-increment financing for apartment complexes he is developing at 721-725 E. Orange St. and 915-923 E. Lemon St.

Tax increment financing helps subsidize projects that improve redevelopment districts through future property tax revenues.

The Orange Street project, across the street from Barnett Family Park, includes 32 apartments in five three-story builidings. TIF payments for the $5 million project are projected to total $109,374. The City Commission and Community Redevelopment Authority Advisory Board agreed to frontload the payments over three years instead of the standard five because of costs associated with demolishing one house on the property and moving another.

The Lemon Street project includes 22 apartments in five two-story buildings just west of Bartow Road. TIF payments for the $2.8 million projects are projected to total $58,737 over five years.x

Learn more: Orange Street apartments | Lemon Street apartments

SEPTIC TO SEWER: Engineering firm Metzger + Willard Inc. of Tampa will be paid up to $97,800 to help the city Waters Utilities Department with design to extend sewer service into six neighborhoods of northwest Lakeland where septic tanks are currently used.

They include Crescent Heights next to Bonnet Springs Park, Hillside Manor at the north end of Webster Avenue and areas near Alameda Drive, Kendrick Lane, Mayflower Drive and West Robson Road.

In response to a question from Commissioner Bill Read, Planning Manager Maio said she believes these are the only neighborhoods that lack sewer service.

Learn more: Agreement and maps of neighborhoods involved

City Commission Meeting – July 19, 2021 from City of Lakeland on Vimeo.