For the second consecutive year, Lake Flores has been recognized by the Florida Planning and Zoning Association (FPZA) for being an exceptional community. The proposed Manatee County community was named as the 2016 Outstanding Development at an awards luncheon in Jacksonville on June 3rd. In presenting the award, FPZA committee members praised Lake Flores’ public outreach efforts and its strong design emphasis on walkability. Last year, Lake Flores was honored by the same group as the 2015 Outstanding Planning Project.
“On behalf of the entire Lake Flores team, I’m honored to receive this award and especially pleased to be recognized for a second year,” said Whiting Preston, whose family owns the land and who has headed efforts to develop the Lake Flores vision. “Our team has been working very hard to move forward with our plans, and we appreciate the time and expertise of countless individuals who have contributed to our progress.”
Based on some of the comments made here on BradentonsFuture.com and on our Facebook page, we believe there are some misconceptions about the nature of the Lake Flores location, the property itself, and how best to develop it. Hopefully, this post and some aerial images will help to clear up some of these misconceptions.
As the Site photo shows, the property is a farm, with little undeveloped green space. In fact, this land has been an active farm for over fifty years and the land has been impacted 100% by this farming operation. It is surrounded by a matrix of roads consisting of Cortez Road, 75th Street, 86th Street, El Conquistador Parkway, and 53rd Avenue West. There is a fire station and water treatment plant adjacent to and bordering the Lake Flores property as well as the practice fields and developed land of IMG. This photo also shows the property does not border Sarasota Bay. Continue reading
Lake Flores is a master-planned mixed-use community on 1300 acres. It is an infill property surrounded by development that has been in place for decades, and for fifty plus years this property has been a farm. Over this time, traffic has increased as a result of many factors, such as:
- Population growth throughout Manatee County
- Delays in needed improvement to existing infrastructure
- Increased tourism
- Lack of safe alternative modes of transportation to popular destinations
Just as we have not contributed to the existing traffic, our new community will not do anything to alleviate this traffic on existing roads surrounding the property. Rather, Lake Flores is being designed to mitigate the internal traffic it generates by means of an alternative roadway network and the promotion of alternative means of transportation other than automobiles.
As part of the development process, on May 29th, 2014, the Lake Flores development team submitted a General Development Plan (GDP) to Manatee County’s Planning & Zoning Department. The submission was for zoning purposes to ensure our property was in accordance with Manatee County’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan for a mixed use community.
A GDP is not a detailed site plan. Rather it establishes a VISION for the future based on core principles such as balanced growth and sustainability, community preservation and enhancement, environmental stewardship, and quality public services. It is intended to ANTICIPATE a development program and the necessary infrastructure systems (road network, drainage, parks and open space, utilities) that will support the conceptual development.
Our GDP bridges the gap between comprehensive planning and a detailed site development plan. This is the first official step to convert Manatee Fruit Company farmland into a community asset that everyone will be proud of. We look forward to working with the County’s staff, and eventually the Commissioners, throughout this process.
The heartbeat of a community often lies in the special places where people live, work, and play. Great new schools, parks, homes, and retail centers engage a community while attracting new residents and visitors. Regrettably, most of the recent developments of this kind have taken place outside our community.
As stewards of significant agricultural acreage in this area, we want to ensure that the development of our land will bring about a positive change for the benefit of Southwest Bradenton. With Florida roots dating back more than 100 years, the Preston family believes that now is the time to breathe fresh air into this land, bringing to life a new and vibrant section of town that everyone can be proud of and enjoy for many years to come. Continue reading
South of Cortez Road and West of IMG Academy sits approximately 1,600 acres of farmland. You’ve probably seen it as you travel down 53rd Avenue towards 75th Street. That’s the farmland we’re talking about converting into something special for all residents to enjoy.
Why does it make so much sense to convert farmland into a community asset?
While our family thought about the future use of our land with its farming limitations, it wasn’t until two separate research studies – one by Manatee County and a second from the Urban Land Institute – that we developed our vision as each concluded that our empty farmland could be better served as a community asset and economic generator if its recommendations were implemented. Continue reading