Lakewood Centre North plans altered for better growth.

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Blog

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc., developer of this master-planned community, is hoping to live up to its philosophy of “Live, Work, Play” for the newest area of development it has planned in northern Lakewood Ranch.

SMR has asked Manatee County to amend a comprehensive plan for the area known as Lakewood Centre North so a better mix of residential, office and commercial space can be achieved to make this northernmost community safe and convenient with fewer traffic hassles.

Lakewood Centre North encompasses 245 acres of property south of State Road 64, east of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and north of 44th Avenue. It’s located north of the Lakewood Centre, a mixed-use, 700-acre area north of State Road 70 that is actively under development and will eventually be home to hundreds of new homes, apartments, offices, medical and commercial centers.

The proposed amendment is intended to better integrate Lakewood Centre North into Manatee County’s master plan of development so the area will be used in the most efficient way possible, consistent with what’s intended for use on county property to the east of it, SMR officials said. Originally, the majority of Lakewood Centre North was zoned for light industrial use, and only eight acres for residential, retail and office use. This change will encourage a better mix of live and work areas so traffic can access local roadways with better ease.

SMR’s vice president of strategic affairs, Todd Pokrywa, says the overall goal is to avoid the need to build more roads to accommodate all the anticipated traffic by having everything from housing to centers of employment and shopping activity in close proximity to each other.

“This change, coupled with rezoning of the property and the adjacent lands, will help encourage the integration of residential and non-residential uses with the goal of reducing suburban sprawl and vehicle miles traveled by residents for a wide range of purposes,” Pokrywa said. “It’s important that the entire Lakewood Ranch community grow and evolve with the best possible mix of uses

and geographically dispersed activity centers.

Other existing Lakewood Ranch “activity” centers include Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park, Lakewood Centre, Lakewood Ranch Main Street, Lorraine Corners, Lakewood Ranch Commerce Park and Lakewood Ranch Business Park.

The avoidance of suburban sprawl, rows upon rows of subdivisions, strip malls and office parks, all leading to countless traffic jams, have given developers like SMR food for thought about reshaping growth with sensible alternatives. Clark Davis, of the Manatee County Public Works Department, says there’s a definite trend toward turning back to the more traditional approach to planning cities where neighborhoods have everything at their doorstep.

“Mixed-use developments are much more trip efficient than something that’s isolated. Cities have always been built on this premise,” Davis said. “It’s a re-emergence of an old thing.”