Sarasota County to consider Winchester Ranch plan | Venice Gondolier Sun

WELLEN PARK – A plan calling for 9,000 new homes along River Road goes to the Sarasota County Commission Wednesday.

County Commissioners will be considering a critical area plan for Winchester Ranch, a planned development on 3,660 acres adjacent to River Road from the boundaries of the various subdivisions along State Road 776 east to and around Myakka Pines Golf Course.

Formerly known as part of the Taylor Ranch, it is now entirely within the West Villages Improvement District and becomes part of Waves Park when it comes to realization. The property is classified as a “critical problem area” under the district’s comprehensive plan.

During the public hearing before the county planning commission on Feb. 18, Marty Black, the general manager of West Villages – renamed Waves Park – tried to reassure potential opposition, saying people shouldn’t expect a thousand houses to come in at once.

However, the adoption of the Critical Areas Plan is the first step in the development of this area.

River Road is of concern to residents about its potential development.

Plans submitted to the county include two parallel streets – Preto Boulevard and West Villages Parkway – running through the development to internalize traffic, according to Black.

The West Villages Parkway, which crosses US 41 in Wellen Park, part of the North Harbor, is expanding to reach the intersection of River Road and US 41, giving Englewood residents the opportunity to make the dangerous turn on the River Road to avoid the flooding that often occurs on the two-lane road.

The public hearing on the Critical Areas Plan is the final item on the Commissioners’ morning agenda, which is expected to take place after 10 a.m. at the Sarasota meeting.

Due to pandemic restrictions, the county has a website where residents interested in providing written testimony or comments prior to the public hearing or testifying remotely during the hearing.

Links to this can be found at under the heading Sarasota County Commission dated 04/21/2021.

These links will stay open until 12:00 noon, Tuesday, April 20, so people can post comments or log in to testify.

The county planners have already determined that the plan is in line with the county’s comprehensive plan and recommended approval.

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