| Sarasota Herald-Tribune
NORTH PORT – When the developer of Central Parc bought the 207.5-acre former Sabal Trace Golf & Country Club in 2017, it was with the understanding that the site was burdened by environmental concerns.
The property had been the site of a Charles Ankrom-designed par-72 golf course that was built in 1970 by General Development Corp., the original developer of North Port, Port Charlotte and other platted communities in Charlotte County.
By the time Mark Gerenger purchased the property out of foreclosure, two previous buyers – local developer Sam Rodgers and Coconut Creek-based Zuckerman Homes – forfeited their deposits and backed out on purchasing the land because of environmental concerns related to how golf courses are fertilized.
Then, Gerenger estimated it could cost between $1 million and $2.8 million to remediate the course, portions of which have high levels of arsenic – a result of methods used to fertilize golf courses.
In May 2019, Gerenger and Sabal Trace Development Partners showcased plans for Central Parc, a planned development that would include 500 single-family homes, neighborhood commercial businesses, a 300-bed assisted-living facility and 100 multifamily homes.
On Tuesday, the North Port City Commission will discuss an application by Sabal Trace Development Partners to tap into state brownfield funds to help remediate the land, which has been dubbed the Sabal Trace Redevelopment Area.
The board meets at 10 a.m. in chambers at North Port City Hall, 4970 City Hall Boulevard, North Port.
Discussion of the brownfield application process is the first scheduled item after the consent agenda.
The city commission must designate the land a brownfield site. Central Parc is one of nine Activity Centers listed in the city’s comprehensive plan.
As part of the process, a public meeting and two public hearings must be held.
The community meeting would be scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 21 and likely conducted virtually, according to the state’s COVID-19 public assembly protocols.
Information on joining the meeting will be available on the city’s website, www.cityofnorthport.com.
The two public hearings would be conducted as part of the North Port City Commission’s regularly scheduled meetings at North Port City Hall.
Currently, those dates would be 6 p.m. on Oct. 27 and 10 a.m. on Nov. 10.
The city has no liability or cost associated with the brownfield designation.
Financial incentives for the developer include tax credits for the cleanup costs, a refund on sales tax paid on materials used for affordable or mixed-use housing projects, and state loan guarantees.