The Village Council here voted unanimously Dec. 9 to approve the 806-acre Terra Lago project, a multiphase development that will begin with 224 single-family homes and culminate some 15 years later with 2,488 residences, 100,000 square feet of commercial space and an assisted living facility.
A holdover from the community’s pre-incorporation days resurrected by the Virginia-based Garcia Companies slightly more than a year ago, the Terra Lago property is located north of Warfield Boulevard and east of Southwest Allapattah Road. Originally approved by the Martin County Commission in 2008 for 1,650 residences and a new school, the project fell victim to the subsequent collapse of the housing market, kept alive by a trio of amendments over the years. The latest and fourth amendment approved during the latest meeting returns the 50 acres to the project no longer desired by the Martin County School Board and expedites the development timeline from 2030 to final phase application by 2025. The Indiantown Planning, Zoning & Appeals Board unanimously recommended approval of the amendment and a handful of related development agreements and other applications on Dec. 2.
Village Clerk Susan Owens launched the latest public hearing with the reading of comments by two residents submitted via email. One was from Doug Caldwell, 83, who said he’s met with Garcia Companies’ President Joshua Kellam at least four times and believes Terra Lago will satisfy the community’s desire for new housing and jobs.
“The total picture of the plans is not only housing, but a beautiful development for that piece of property,” Mr. Caldwell wrote. “It is different that you have the president of a company, Mr. Josh Kellam, present their plans, [which] is usually done by a broker or consultant. In my conversations with Mr. Kellam, I believe him to be sincerely concerned about the totality of our community. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our community.”
J.P. Pasquale sent the other email in which he listed several suggestions for future developments. Those included having the developers pay for all related infrastructure; set aside large tracks of land for preservation; and include a public park in each development. Primarily, though, he urged his fellow Indiantown residents to participate in the Terra Lago discussion.
“Please pray and show up, speak or send an email if you are concerned about our blessed Indiantown,” he wrote. “We who already live here in Indiantown can influence what goes on.”
Other Indiantown residents who addressed the Board after the staff presentation that evening insisted that Mr. Kellam had, indeed, listened to the will of the current residents and incorporated some of Mr. Pasquale’s ideas. Marjorie Beary, who previously expressed her support of the Terra Lago project during the Dec. 2 PZ&A Board meeting, insisted during the latest discussion that the developer had satisfied all of her environmental concerns.
“I’ve seen the plans,” she said. “Indeed, at least 20 percent of the property is devoted to wetlands, parks and preserves. I am satisfied that care has been taken to maintain and even enhance provisions for wildlife. Anyone who loves wildlife will enjoy living in the Terra Lago community. Terra Lago will make good use of land which for the last 15 years has been used illegally and destructively for ATVs and target practice.”
Linda Nycum, another speaker who requested the PZ&A Board recommend approval to the Council, also spoke of the environmental benefits of the proposal and believes Terra Lago will encourage new businesses to locate to Indiantown in the future.
“Of the 800-plus acres, only 464 of them are being developed,” she said. “The balance of the last 42 percent of the land will be in lakes, wetlands, open spaces and wooded preserves. The layout of the homes show that everyone will be within walking distance of one of the natural playgrounds in our community.”
Mr. Kellam also provided a brief presentation during the hearing and admitted resident input impelled him to seek a national builder to help keep the housing costs down.
“One of my questions that I have asked everybody since 2020, is what is the biggest need that Indiantown has?” he recalled. “The number one need that I heard from the people of Indiantown is housing. As growth has happened, the ability to go out and procure a new home is not available anymore, [nor] is the ability to out and rent a home in some cases.”
As a result, Mr. Kellam said the Garcia Companies plans to market the Terra Lago single-family homes for $250,000, while its townhomes will fall within the range of $150,000 to $175,000.
“We want folks that are living in the Village of Indiantown to be able to afford these homes,” he continued. “I can stand up here in front of you today and tell you we want the people of Indiantown that have the need to purchase a home to have an opportunity to purchase a home."
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