New 700-home subdivision in Pace could get first green light this week

The first housing phase of Lakes of Woodbine — a more than 700-home subdivision on Woodbine Road in Pace — could soon get the green light.

Plans for phase one could to be accepted by Santa Rosa County Commissioners as early as Thursday.

The first phase includes just 30 lots, but the entire project involves 240 acres off Woodbine Road for commercial and high-end residential development. The land was previously zoned only for residential development, but later on, 22 acres of the project was changed for commercial use.

The first phase of Lakes of Woodbine — a more than 700-home subdivision on Woodbine Road in Pace — could soon get underway.
The first phase of Lakes of Woodbine — a more than 700-home subdivision on Woodbine Road in Pace — could soon get underway.

County-level discussions around the project were revived in early 2019 after the developer on the project initially backed out because of public concern over the multi-faceted project.

The development is a joint venture between Destin-based Olson Land Partners and national residential homebuilder D.R. Horton.

"The Pace area has been rapidly growing for two decades now. I just think throughout the years, there are certainly segments of time where the development happens more rapidly than others. But easily it's been something I think has happened for two decades," said Commissioner Colten Wright on Monday. He added the development is similar to some he sees in the Tiger Point and Midway areas.

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When the project was being discussed in 2019, it drew a divided crowd of residents, with some who opposed it because of overcrowding concerns and others who saw the use of private roads as a positive sign.

"I think that I share the sentiment that a lot of citizens do, that they would have rather seen the infrastructure improved prior to construction," said Commissioner Sam Parker, who represents the Pace area. He also emphasized that some of the earliest rezoning for the project occurred before he was elected to the commission.

The News Journal reported in 2019 that the subdivision, as a whole, was expected to take between seven to eight years to develop.

Woodbine Road is target for development in Santa Rosa County

Woodbine Road is a major artery that runs through one of the most development-rich neighborhoods in Santa Rosa County. Commissioners have approved several new commercial and residential developments on the road, despite its "D" grade rating by the Public Works department.

The latest plans for Lakes of Woodbine come more than six months after the county awarded an engineering firm a $2 million, five-year contract to explore widening Woodbine Road.

"I'm definitely excited about the engineering work on Woodbine Road. I hope that I continue to have the board's support moving forward on the construction of those improvements because I think that is long overdue," Parker said.

The development is the newest in a surge of projects popping up in Santa Rosa County's northern and central segments.

In Milton, the commercial plaza Merganser Commons at Dogwood Estates should be opening later this summer and will include a Publix with other retailers.

In East Milton, the school district is planning to build two schools on a site just off I-10 to accommodate the growth in the area.

A 40-lot project out of the Chumuckla area is set to go under review by the county.

In the Pace area, in addition to the Lakes of Woodbine project, the 140-home Eagle's Ridge project, 868-home Pace Commons project and massive, 2,700-acre Jubilee development are all in the works.

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Lakes of Woodbine: Plans resurface for Pace subdivision with 700 homes