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Sarasota - Bradenton - Venice area Manatee and Sarasota Counties
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:12 PM
15 posts, read 44,671 times
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Just relocated from the Naperville area to FishHawk Ranch in Lithia...oh goodness is it remote & the community seems a little suspect. I suppose the idea of warm weather in our future clouded my judgement. Thankfully, we choose to rent just for this very reason.

We have decided to start looking at Sarasota place to buy...and possibly Bradenton...Venice is not. We are a family of four with an one year old & three year old. My husband floats between places north of Tampa, Naples, & a home office...and can get his own schedule to avoid traffic.

We are hoping to find a community that would fit the majority of these needs (well, I guess also...wants):

- Family friendly - great schools, lots of activities around, an active parent community

- Safe Community - makes no difference if gated or not...safe & respectful community with nice amenities - pools,etc. Do prefer to be in a community vs a neighborhood.

- Close to things...I don't need to be in the middle of "it" all anymore, but need to have things around & options.

- Relatively affordable housing - south of $450,000. Homes built within the last 10 years...newer/new is the preference.

Wow! Thats a long list...I guess the reality of living in Florida has hit & now I need to find my Florida home. This is not my first time living in Florida...lived in SoFL for 5 years, 4 years ago...I get "Florida"...resistant to it at times, but understand it.

Thank you
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:28 PM
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
5,636 posts, read 8,996,843 times
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There are many places that could fill your list nicely but I'd say Lakewood Ranch is a very good match and probably the best one for having all of your criteria. You can learn about LWR at www.LakewoodRanch.com.
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:06 PM
15 posts, read 44,671 times
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Thank you.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:25 AM
Location: Port Charlotte, FL
3,979 posts, read 9,084,902 times
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Here are a few family friendly communities that have a lot of amenities.

Islandwalk at West Villages - Islandwalk at the West Villages
Stoneybrook at Venice - Stoneybrook at Venice by LENNARĀ®
Lakeside Plantation - Home

All of these are located in the Sarasota County School District - Sarasota County Schools, Home
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:26 AM
Location: Sarasota, FL
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Many of the communities on Palmer Ranch would work nicely for you.

On the other hand, at your price point, if you wanted a little more exciting vibe, you could probably find something West of Trail, possibly in Southside Village.

Apples and oranges, but each has its own appeal.
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:22 AM
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
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You didn't mention if you have pets such as dogs. I'm asking because many of the newer home communities (such as Lakewood Ranch) have very specific rules regarding fencing of back yard - if you can fence, what type is allowed, etc. Would that be something that needs to be taken into consideration?

There are a number of newer home communities in south Manatee county:

Lakewood Ranch, of course, which has both resale and brand new construction. Some of the new construction such as Country Club East is geared more towards baby boomers, but Central Park at Lakewood Ranch is popular with young families. They have a great central park with playground, sports fields, tennis and 2 dog parks. Forest Park, Gramercy Park, Piedmont Park and Longwood Lake Park all have some new construction inventory, although homes are selling quickly. Esplanade is another brand new community just south of Central Park in LWR, they will be offering resort style amenities and "active lifestyle" amenities such as social clubs, outdoor sports amenities such as tennis, kayaking, walking trails.

Greenbrook Village might be good options for your family within LWR. Greenbrook actually still has some new construction going on if you want a brand new home in this community. Greenbrook has an Adventure Park, which includes a picnic area, playground, in-line skate rink, ball fields and walking trails. Lots of younger families in Greenbrook.

Heritage Harbour is another master planned community that may appeal to you. Stoneybrook at Heritage Harbour has great amenities for families - rec center, tennis, fitness, basketball, rollerblade rink, volleyball, BBQ areas, 2 pools & dog park. The community web site is: www.heritageharbourcommunity.com There is one downside to HH at the moment, the owners of the country club at Stoneybrook have a lawsuit against the master community over the CDD fees which has not yet been resolved.

Greyhawk Landings on SR64 just east of Heritage Harbour is another community with families in mind. It is a large, gated community with rec center, large resort style community pool, playground and several sports fields for outdoor activities.

Country Meadows is about a 4 mile drive from SR64, near Greyhawk Landings. This community still has brand new as well as newer construciton homes on 1/2 acre or larger lots. The new construction is all 3 or 4 bedroom homes that would fall under your price point.

Mill Creek is another option just east of Greyhawk Landings, with larger lots and homes. The newer section off of Rye Road has homes built in the 2000's.

Just north of University Parkway, west of Lakewood Ranch is Mote Ranch, which consists of several neighborhoods built from the late 1990's to mid 2000's. These would include neighborhoods such as Copper Ridge, Mote Ranch, Chaparral, Misty Lake, Grand Point, Longpond. Mote Ranch is known for it's well maintained neighborhoods, reasonable HOA fees and no CDD fees (Community Development District). There is a community center with pool, playground, picnic area, fishing pier and kayak launch on the Braden River at the east side of Honore Ave for the Mote Ranch neighborhoods.

If you are interested in the Parrish - Ellenton area of Manatee county, there are over 20 newer neighborhoods scattered throughout the more rural area. Many still have new construction available.

If you're looking for new construction in Sarasota, it becomes a little more difficult as most of the builders are going east of I75 in the Sarasota area.

In Palmer Ranch, most of the neighborhoods were built in the 1990's. Village Walk and The Isles are the 2 with newer construction, with Village Walk homes being built in the early to mid 2000's and The Isles still offering new construction with 2 models, both 3 bedroom, with either 1542 or 1762 sq ft living space. Village Walk is gated, The Isles is not. Village Walk has a clubhouse called the Town Center, which offers the usual resort style amenities plus a few small retail shopping stores & deli. The Isles has a clubhouse with similar amenities to VW but without the retail stores. The communities are popular with both baby boomers and families because of the location, amenities and (for families) school districts.


The Florida Department of Education released the rankings of all of the state's 3078 schools back in Feb, based mainly on FCAT scores.

Elementary & middle school rankings also included factors such as whether schools helped struggling students progress. High School rankings also included graduation rates & how many students passed college level courses such as Advanced Placement.

Of course, FCAT scores are not the only criteria parents consider when selecting school districts, but it is an important factor.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune article found here:

includes links to pages with the rankings for both Sarasota and Manatee county schools.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:54 PM
15 posts, read 44,671 times
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@ Rushmore - Thank you for your input...are there communities in Southside Village that I should be narrowing in on or is the community Southside Village?

@Sunshine Rules - Thank you for all the information...I have a lot of work to do. Does Lakewood Ranch have a rural...in the middle of know where feeling to it once you are off the "Ranch"? Similar to the way FishHawk Ranch feels...that is what I am trying to escape.

Thanks you for all your input.
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