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A New Plan for Wakulla Gardens?. “Historic” Subdivisions? More Common Names... Platted Lands Pre-Platted Subdivisions Over Platted Subdivisions Excessive.

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Presentation on theme: "A New Plan for Wakulla Gardens?. “Historic” Subdivisions? More Common Names... Platted Lands Pre-Platted Subdivisions Over Platted Subdivisions Excessive."— Presentation transcript:

1 A New Plan for Wakulla Gardens?

2 “Historic” Subdivisions? More Common Names... Platted Lands Pre-Platted Subdivisions Over Platted Subdivisions Excessive Platted Subdivisions Antiquated Subdivisions Obsolete Subdivisions

3 By Whatever Name Raw land was converted into marketable lots without considering important aspects of land development Some are subdivisions in name only – “paper subdivisions” Others have become modern-day boom- towns that face expensive retrofits to provide even the most basic infrastructure

4 Modern Subdivision vs. Pre-Platted Land Pre-Platted LandModern Subdivisions Marketing and sales expenditures use a high % of sales revenue. Majority of sales revenue is used to pay property taxes, local exactions, impact fees, & environmental permits. May have core area with sufficient infrastructure but rest of development gets little or no infrastructure. Sufficient infrastructure is provided per requirements of proposed development. Development size is large and access to commercial/institutional uses is poor. Development size is relatively less and access to commercial centers is provided. Usually located outside urban areas. Lacks access to existing infrastructure. Depend on the proximity of existing infrastructure in order to connect to it. Led to fragmented ownership pattern. Gradual development of community, keeping pace with availability of infrastructure. Leads to ordered ownership pattern.

5 We’re Not Alone! US Estimate = 22,000 pre-platted subdivisions with > 8.9 million lots on 8.1 acres of land FL Estimate = 150 lg pre-platted subdivisions, mainly in central and southern region

6 “Land Scam” Consequences The rush to sell as many lots as possible created a complex & enduring set of problems... Subdivision designs that do not meet current standards Lot layouts with few amenities Inadequate public facilities Severe environmental degradation

7 Positive vs. Negative Impacts Positive Features Stimulate building industry Put to use land that may be marginally productive Provide recreational opportunities

8 Positive vs. Negative Impacts Negative Features Overtax local public services Environmental damage to ecologically fragile land Reduction of land resources

9 Florida’s Pre-Platted Subdivisions Lee County (337,000 platted lots) Cape Coral 270,000 lots on 66,800 acres (120 sq miles) Lehigh Acres 135,000 platted lots on 61,440 acres (96 sq mi)

10 Florida’s Pre-Platted Subdivisions Charlotte County 263,597 lots on 75,642 acres Port Charlotte 118,500 lots Murdock Village (1200 acres of centrally located land within Port Charlotte)

11 DCA Study

12 Murdock Village MurdockVillage/

13 Recommendations for Murdock Village ( Focused on 125 acres) Urban Land Institute 2002

14 Planning and Design Prepare a conceptual master plan Delineate “bubbles” of general uses Develop a detailed master plan Indicate and describe proposed land uses, parcel configurations, fundamental circulation elements, infrastructure needs, and the location of amenities Make infrastructure improvements that will pave the way for new development.

15 Development Strategy Phase I: Predevelopment (6-9 months; $225,000 - $300,000) Phase II: Land Assembly (2-3 yrs; $2.4-3.5 million) Phase III: Site Development (3-5 yrs; $6.9 million) Implementation (5-7 yrs; $9-11 million)

16 Expected Return on County Investment Investment will be recouped If don’t redevelop... If residential lots fully develop as platted... Will have 750,000 people living in 215 sq miles Cost of providing infrastructure will run into the billions of dollars

17 Development Strategy Phase I: Predevelopment Enact a temporary development moratorium (or interim development guidelines) Dedicate, hire, or contract adequate staff Gather and analyze all pertinent data Adopt all necessary enabling legislation (e.g., CRA) Investigate and adopt additional development incentives (e.g., Impact Fee Adjustments, TDR)

18 Development Strategy Phase II: Land Assembly Land donations Land exchanges Acquire tax-delinquent properties Purchase properties Use eminent domain (as a last resort) Eliminate deed restrictions

19 Development Strategy Phase III: Site Development Enact master plan (3-6 months) Determine county’s role – County acts as Master Developer – County sells site to Master Developer (who may help with land assembly & who can sell some parcels to other builders or developers) – County co-ventures with Developer

20 Development Strategy Phase III: Site Development (cont’d) Develop necessary site infrastructure (3-5 yrs; $6.9 million)

21 Implementation County will need $9-11 million over 5-7 years How county will pay for development? Consider: Renewing the one-cent sales tax and using a portion of the funds for site development Using funds already dedicated for infrastructure improvements Using monies already dedicated through the Charlotte County Transportation Trust Fund Establishing a tax increment financing (TIF) district on the site Exploring other sources of funding (e.g., grants)

22 Return on County Investment Temporary decrease in tax revenue (while acquire and hold land) Increase in future tax base and profits from land sales will pay off infrastructure Investment will be recouped

23 Lehigh Acres

24 Strategies for Pre-Platted Lands Land Banking Acquiring & trading lots (to achieve partial assemblies) Redevelopment/Land Readjustment Government and owners pool land and re-plat Incentive Zoning (e.g., density bonuses when residential lots are assembled and converted to commercial use)

25 Strategies for Pre-Platted Lands Community Redevelopment TIF Financial Incentives Tax rebates Real estate tax portability Public-Private Partnerships for Land Pooling Land Use Strategies (e.g., change land use from residential to commercial)

26 PLANNING TECHNIQUES FOR PLATTED LANDS PROBLEMS Lot consolidation/lot merger Plat vacation Subdivision redesign Downzoning/transfer of development rights (TDRs) Public acquisition (through purchases and donations).

27 Lot Consolidation (Lot Merger) Aggregate lots by prohibiting use of a single lot. If lots are smaller than today's standards, can require that pre-existing lots be consolidated to meet current minimum lot sizes to qualify for a building permit (Elliott 1997). Limitations include situations where landowners are unable to acquire an additional lot to meet the minimum lot size (such as a lot surrounded on three sides by existing houses). This fact alone does not necessarily mean that the regulation would deprive a landowner of all beneficial use of his/her property, however. The lot may have substantial value as additional yard for adjacent property owners, or some common amenity use such as a pocket park, pool, or tennis court (Siemon and Larson 1986). Requiring consolidation of lots has been used in U.S. where lots were platted in extremely sensitive environments. The City of Sanibel (Florida) requires lot consolidation in subdivisions platted in wetlands. To avoid constitutional challenges, Sanibel has an active acquisition program for such lots, plus a variance procedure when a lot owner cannot acquire adjoining lots (Rogers 1997).

28 Lot Consolidation (Lot Merger) Lot consolidation not widely used though it can be formulated to withstand legal challenges. A variance procedure can be provided, but acquisition funds are more difficult to arrange, especially when lots have no particular environmental value. Technique may be best used on very limited basis where the land's environmental values are high. Consolidation has also been suggested in the following situations: (1) where lots are extremely small (those less than 5,000 square feet, for example); (2) when lots are not in compliance with applicable laws and ordinances; (3) where lots do not meet environmental standards; and (4) where lots are inconsistent with the community's general land use plan (Shultz and Groy 1988, 633-638). Other limitations to the use of lot consolidation: Reduces the density of development but does little or nothing to correct poor lot design. Legal problems may arise in association with vested rights that may have been established by the platting process; lot owners may object to merger on grounds that it would represent a "taking" of their land (Shultz and Groy 1988, 636-637).

29 Plat Vacation Another option is plat "vacation," which voids the original subdivision plat. Several states have statutes that permit local governments to vacate all or part of the plat of a subdivision (usually upon request of the landowner). Plat-vacation statutes generally require that local governments consider whether any person will suffer material injury as a result of the vacation (Shultz and Groy 1988, 648-655). For vacant lots that have never been used, a fixed-time "window of opportunity" could be provided. If no development has occurred in this specified period of time, previous approvals and obligations could be removed. Not likely to be used in fast-growing communities.(Freilich and Shultz 1995; Parker 1994). Plat vacation is particularly useful for subdivisions that remain in single ownership (perhaps the original developer, or a foreclosing lending agency). Its feasibility for subdivisions that have progressed to the multiple-ownership stage is questionable. Government usually may not eliminate property lines and assemble individually owned parcels without consent of parcel owners. Difficult to vacate a plat when lots are in individual ownership, unless lot owners agree to the vacation and reassembly.

30 Subdivision Redesign Under the right conditions, an excellent solution to platted land problems is subdivision redesign. Ideally, vacant platted lots would be reassembled into a single parcel that could be redesigned to meet current standards and market demands (Schwab 1997, 1997a). This approach is especially practical for subdivisions whose lots have never been sold off into separate ownership. A good example was a 1984 simulated redesign of the Ocala Springs subdivision in Marion County, Florida (Schnidman 1987). While practical for single-ownership subdivisions, the difficulty of negotiating with widely scattered property owners in multiple-owner subdivisions keep this option from being feasible for most local governments (except where the power of eminent domain is available for reassembly, for instance by a CRA). Such problems have been significant at Rio Rancho, New Mexico, where redesign options have been aggressively explored for a 1,000-acre parcel.

31 Downzoning/Transfer of Development Rights Downzoning differs from lot merger in that it does not reduce the number of lots; it has the same effect, though, by creating substandard lots that can not be developed individually. As with lot consolidation, downzoning only affects the density of development and does not directly affect the location or layout of the subdivision. Local government may combine downzoning with a program of transferable development rights (TDRs). The "downzoned" property owner may transfer development rights to property in another area within the local jurisdiction or may sell the lot to a neighbor. TDRs can alleviate the economic hardship to the owner of the substandard lot, and permit local government to redirect the location of development within its jurisdiction (Shultz and Groy 1988, 643-644). For example, TDRs were used at Oxnard Shores in California where the City of Oxnard made significant concessions for the development of inland areas in exchange for the abandonment of coastal shore lots. Enacting the TDR program protected coastal beach access and inhibited beach erosion (Glickfeld 1984). TDRs are rarely effective, though, unless there are physical or regulatory constraints on future development that can be alleviated by purchasing TDRs.

32 Incorporation Municipal incorporation sometimes suggested as a solution to pre- platted community problems. Cape Coral, for example, incorporated in 1970. The population of Cape Coral now exceeds 90,000, and it has had to develop complex solutions to scattered development and infrastructure shortcomings. There is often little support by residents of pre-platted subdivisions for municipal incorporation, due to expected higher levels of taxation. This fear is often legitimate, since residents are often older and of modest means, and the communities often do not have commercial or industrial tax bases, or affluent neighborhoods, that would generate strong property tax revenues.

33 Public Acquisition of Lots Where assembly of all platted lots for a complete redesign is not feasible, partial reassembly can be accomplished through the purchase of individual lots, beginning with tax delinquent lots. Local government can gradually reassemble contiguous lots into large parcels that can be used to meet various needs including land for schools, fire stations, or parks (if necessary by trading lots in other areas to build up contiguous tracts). Lot owners also can be given an opportunity to trade their lot for one located closer to basic services. Public acquisition programs can be implemented without infringing upon individual property rights. Limitations include finding the funding to purchase the lots and the administrative efforts in acquiring and assembling lots (Daltry 1994). Some lots might be donated, with their owners receiving a federal income tax deduction. Donations are more likely when property taxes are high and the re-sale value of lots is low. Often, though, owners have paid far more than the lots are worth today, making donations (or even fair-market sales) unlikely. Some landowners are convinced that they would be relinquishing valuable land rather than escaping from a flawed subdivision where development is unlikely (Schnidman and Baker 1985). It is possible to expedite the process, however (Schnidman 1987).

34 Wakulla County

35 Wakulla County’s Pre-Platted Subdivisions Pre-Platted Subdivisions in Wakulla County Total # of Platted Lots # Homes or Bldg Permits Issued (4/08) % of Lots with Homes or Bldg Permits Wakulla Gardens3,73895526% Magnolia Gardens95415616% Greiner’s Addition71620228% Lake Ellen Estates2947224% TOTAL5,7021,38524%

36 Wakulla Gardens

37 Wakulla Gardens (2007) Wakulla Gardens Total # of Lots # of Lots with Houses # of Vacant Lots Lots with Houses (%) Vacant Lots (%) Unit 11518295122319%81% Unit 241816025838%62% Unit 380021858227%73% Unit 4122457737%63% Unit 546015330733%67% TOTAL3318871244726% 74%

38 Wakulla Gardens (Updated 2009) Wakulla Gardens Total # of Lots # of Lots with Houses # of Vacant Lots Lots with Houses (%) Vacant Lots (%) Unit 11657302121318%73% Unit 249516425433%51% Unit 393022058124%62% Unit 4141457732%55% Unit 559517029729%50% TOTAL3818901235224% 62%

39 What is best for Wakulla Gardens and Wakulla County?

40 Option 1 Full build out (as platted) of large, high- density, 100% residential subdivision

41 Option 2 Redesign Wakulla Gardens to create a new town with a town center, parks, and other public amenities (e.g., fire station, branch library) as well as residential areas and open space.

42 Option 3 Redesign Wakulla Gardens to create a less populated subdivision, with clustered residences and large areas of open space

43 Best Option?

44 Recommended Actions Immediate Enact temporary moratorium on new building Only Wakulla Gardens? All 4 preplatted subdivisions? Explore alternatives to full build out – Invite experts/ potential consultants to visit, make presentations

45 Recommended Actions Summer Review DCA Study recommendations (in ~2 months) Contract with ULI or Consultant Prepare mailing (with TRIM notices?) to all property owners in all 4 overplatted subdivisions Identify and pursue grant and legislative funding for land acquisition (for parks, for stormwater mgmt, to trade for environmentally sensitive land) Acquire properties through tax deed sales. Encourage others to let county to acquire these properties.

46 Mailing to Property Owners Willing to donate lot to county? Provide info on benefits & how to do. Willing to sell lot to county within next 1-2 years? Asking price? Invite to bid in annual auction. Willing to give county right of first refusal (so county has first option to buy). Include form to sign If own contiguous lots, willing to combine lots into one? Offer incentive. Provide info on how to do. Plan to build on lot? When? Willing to trade for another lot (less vulnerable to flooding, with assured access to paved road & sewer)?

47 Little Time to Decide

48 New Plan for Wakulla Gardens? Not with Current Sewer Plan Current sewer plan commits county to the full build out of Wakulla Gardens (as platted)

49 Current Sewer Plan Constraints Timing of SRF Loan Application Application for $20 million loan ($16 million to sewer Wakulla Gardens) is due May 15. If miss application deadline, will reportedly have to “start over” and less money may be available. Limits time available to explore alternatives and develop new plan for Wakulla Gardens. Questions If apply for SRF loan in May, is county obligated to current plan (to fully sewer Wakulla Gardens? Can we revise sewer plan and use loan for new plan? (For example, sewer Panacea and Magnolia Gardens instead – or sewer Wakulla Gardens more efficiently after a 1-2 year delay)? How and when can a revised plan be submitted? By August (at time loan awarded)? Later? If we borrow full amount, then spend less on an alternate sewer plan, can part of loan be returned without penalty ?

50 Current Sewer Plan Constraints Loan Repayment for AWT Running sewer to all lots in Wakulla Gardens provides the guaranteed revenue for loan to upgrade to AWT. Questions Other possible sources of guaranteed revenue? Would expanding sewer to Panacea, Magnolia Gardens, and Greiner’s Addition -- and increasing connections in Shell Point/Oyster Bay – generate sufficient revenue?

51 Wastewater Treatment for Wakulla Gardens If we decide to develop a new plan for Wakulla Gardens, it’s too early now to select the most effective and efficient way to treat wastewater there.

52 Wastewater Treatment for Wakulla Gardens Individual septic tanks – or other individual onsite treatment systems (such as PBTS) -- probably should not be among the options.

53 Centralized Sewer Centralized sewer is expensive and is not always the best solution.

54 Other Possibilities To consider (at future date) Constructed wastewater wetlands Cluster systems Sewer (only in concentrated areas) All can treat to AWT standards

55 Constructed Wastewater Wetland


57 Constructed Wastewater Wetlands Effective, environmentally friendly means of treating waste (liquid and solid) Effective (up to 98%) at reducing BOD/COD, nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended solids Most effective in tropical and subtropical climates (like Florida) Require little maintenance, and remain effective after more than 10 years Provide a habitat for wildlife and act as a tourist attraction for the community

58 Constructed Wetland in Nevada

59 Wastewater Wetland in Arizona


61 Wastewater Cluster System

62 Cluster System

63 Cluster System Tanks

64 Cluster System Drainfields

65 Wakulla Gardens The Time to Act is NOW

66 Original Ad – Still Being Used

67 Current Online Description Wakulla Gardens One of the oldest and largest subdivisions in the county with over 3000 lots that were platted in the early 60’s. The lots were raffled off at state fairs around the country for about $25.00 each. That being said most lots were owned by people all over the country that could claim they owned property in Florida. There are 5 sections in Wakulla Gardens with mobile homes and homes only sections. The roads are unpaved, most have city water, and septic tanks. There are plans to have the roads all paved and sewer ran into the area soon. The lots vary in size from 50 x 100 to 100x 100. This one of the most affordable subdivisions in the area and most homes have been built in the last few years. Prices average from as low as 99K to 140K. Average square footage is between 1100 and 1300. Located in W-2 of the MLS map. South Hwy. 319, Left at Lowerbridge, to corner of Spring Creek Hwy. 25 minutes to downtown Tallahassee.

68 Ad for 50 ft x 100 ft Lot Property Type: Lots and Land Price: $5,000 Lot Size: 50x100 Subdivision: Wakulla Gardens Address: Lot 49 Chippewa Road Area: Crawfordville, FL County: Wakulla Description: S 319, L on Lowerbridge, L Springcreek, R Feather. LOWEST PRICED LOT IN HOMES ONLY SECTION ON THE MARKET. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IMPACT FEE BEING WAIVED AND BUILD YOUR HOME OR THIS LOT WOULD MAKE A GREAT INVESTMENT. LOTS SOLD IN THIS AREA FOR ABOUT 15K TWO YEARS AGO.

69 Ad for 50 ft X 100 ft Buildable Lot Price = $5,750

70 Summary

71 Obsolete Subdivisions Are ill-conceived Have caused many land use problems for local governments Have no quick fixes or absolute solutions

72 Obsolete Subdivisions Without corrective action, the problems will not go away –will worsen as growth pressure increases Resolving these problems will require strong leadership

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