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Lantana boards nix office building site

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A proposed office building to house the staff of Lantana’s special taxing districts will most likely not be located inside the master-planned community.

Lantana’s two fresh water supply district (FWSD) boards voted 9-1 at their July 11 joint meeting to take a proposed building site on Lantana Trail off of the table.

The boards had been in the early stages of considering constructing a 6,000 square-foot, one-story office building on land the districts own on the west side of Lantana Trail between Canyon Crossing and Hickory, which backs up to the Azalea and Bellaire additions.

Several residents and board members expressed concerns regarding increased traffic, possible lower property values and removal of trees in the greenbelt area.

“What attracted us and many people to Lantana was the aesthetics of the master-planned community,” said Brad Seago, who lives in Azalea. “Taking one of the few remaining greenbelts on Lantana Trail and tearing that down so we can put in a district office to me makes absolutely no sense. That’s contrary to what this development is all about and I don’t think it’s a good use of the land.”

The boards directed Kevin Mercer, Lantana’s General Manager, to look at acquiring an alternate undisclosed site just outside of Lantana for the building or renewing their existing lease at Bartonville Town Center.

The districts currently lease 4,000 square feet in Bartonville Town Center at a rate of $8,370 plus real-estate taxes, insurance and property-maintenance costs. There is under a year left on the current lease, according to district controller Richard Harned. 

If the districts decide to move ahead and build an office, then the cost of the land will need to be factored into the equation.

“The land that we have taken off the table on Lantana Trail was actually going to be at no cost to the district,” said FWSD #6 board member Donna Robichaux. “If we do an alternate site there will be a cost for the land acquisition.”

FWSD #6 board member Kurt Sewell cast the one dissenting vote against removing the Azalea building site option.

“I’m not advocating that we build the building there, but I feel it is a little premature to take it off of the table until we have all the facts,” said Sewell.  “We will now have to purchase a building site unless the developer is willing to give us another piece of land.”

Mercer estimated the cost of a new building would be in the $1.2 to $1.4 million range.  He said that the districts would need to put aside money to pay for the building.

“We’re looking at a minimum of three years out before we could even possibly start construction,” said Mercer.

Board members voted last December to place $500 thousand into a new building fund from surplus revenue left over from last fiscal year. If the districts decide to renew their lease, the money would go back into the general fund, according to Harned.

A decision on whether to sign a long-term lease or construct a building is expected to be made by the end of this year.

 

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