August 11, 2016

Babcock reveals Lee County development plan

By: Vicki Parsons - IT


August 9, 2016

Babcock developer Syd Kitson met with Alva residents Monday evening to discuss his development plans for a roughly 6.5-mile area fronting State Road 31 in Lee County.

Highlights of the plan, which extends his new town south from Charlotte County, center on 40 much-debated amateur sports baseball fields that Lee County would build, with commercial amenities developed by Kitson to create a “stay and play” destination:

  •  On 552 acres fronting SR-31, a main street anchored by hotels, restaurants, a movie theater, bowling alley and miniature golf surrounding 40 ball fields and two stadiums.
  •  Set back 1,200 feet from State Road 78 – with ingress and egress from SR-31 — 1,630 residences; some at high densities in or near the commercial hub; others in medium- and low-density clusters.
  •  Roughly quadruple the density on agriculture land; from one residence per 10 acres to one residence per 2.6 acres.
  •  Preserve some 3.4 miles or over half the land area as green space under conservation easement.
  •  On 50 acres at SR-31 and Old Rodeo Drive, opposite Lee Civic Center, restaurants, a boutique hotel, kayak launch and public boat ramp.

aerial overlay

Babcock developer Syd Kitson unveiled plans for his developmeent in Lee County to residents of Alva Thursday evening. Kitson expects to submit a development application in September. (Photo: Courtesy Kitson & Partners)

North Olga resident Bill Redfern said the plan addresses some of his community’s concerns.

“I like the setbacks on 78 and limiting the access to it,” Redfern said. “I think within his development he’s  endeavoring to be environmentally friendly. My concern is the secondary impact on the hinterlands here.”

Kitson’s plan holds his commercial buidlings on SR-31 to within a quarter mile of the SR-78 intersection. That and his green buffer will keep the road leading to Alva pristine.

An access road for emergency use only will discourage traffic on the two-lane country road.

On his SR-31 frontage, Kitson is increasing the setback 10 times over what’s required, he said.