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Discover the little-known facts of Rotonda West

Also published as: Some Rotonda Questions Answered

Jan 29, 2017

Brett Slattery


Editor’s note: Rotonda West is one of the area’s largest developments, and — although it was first built more than

50 years ago and is home to hundreds of families — it is still somewhat of a mystery to some. Maybe its unique circular design has contributed to that elusiveness! In this piece, local Realtor Brett Slattery, a longtime contributor to the Englewood Sun, takes a crack at some frequently asked questions about this interesting community.


Author’s Notes: The author is a 22 year resident of Rotonda West. He has served on the board of directors, as Vice-President, and as committee chair for the Rotonda West HOA. Brett’s real estate columns appear bi-weekly in all editions of The Sun newspaper.


Where is Rotonda West (RW)?

RW is most commonly considered to be the area located within the circle, aptly named, Boundary Bl. However, the post office considers Rotonda West to be any property in the 33947 zip code. That zip also includes Rotonda Lakes, Rotonda Heights, etc.  This creates confusion. For example, if you are searching on a real estate search engine and enter the zip code of 33947, or the city of “Rotonda West”, the results will include homes outside Rotonda West.



Most neighborhoods are platted with neighbors sharing the same rear property-line. In contrast, every RW home backs up to either a greenbelt, a fresh-water canal, a golf course, or a wild-life preserve. This provides a much higher level of privacy than found most developments.


Lot sizes

The most common lot size lot in RW is 80’ wide by 120’ deep. However, there are exceptions. Here are some rules that I’ve developed over the years that serves as a general guide for estimating a lot’s size from its address:

  • Most Boundary Bl lots are 180’ deep. That’s 50% larger than the average 120’ depth.

  • If your property has a suffix of “Ln” (Mark Twain Ln), and you have an odd-numbered address, and your street intersects with Rotonda Cir, it is likely your property is 110’ deep rather than 120’.

  • The largest RW lots in RW are 200’ deep. They include most lots on Rotonda Blvd West, North, East, and South. Because of the stateliness of these deep lots, a high percentage of homes on Rotonda Bl North and Rotonda Bl East were built as model homes.


Boundary Bl

·         There’s a reason Boundary Bl lot are so big. These lots were originally zoned for triplexes rather than single family homes. Around 1997, the county rezoned the Boundary Bl lots in Pinehurst, Broadmoor, Long Meadow, White Marsh, and Pine Valley to single family lots.

  • Boundary Bl lots were very affordable prior to 2003. From 1978 to 2003 (excluding 1994), the median sales price of a Boundary Bl lot for each year remained under $17,000. Consequently, you will find many homes on double lots along Boundary Bl.

  • Boundary Bl lots with an even address are on the Rotonda River, RW’s longest canal.



X-Flood Zones


Every property in RW is located in a FEMA-designated flood zone. The premium you pay for flood insurance is largely determined by the flood zone your property is in. The most common flood zone in RW is 10AE. A large percentage of properties in White Marsh, Broadmoor, and the NE tip of Pinehurst are located in an X-flood zone. In plain terms, an X-flood zone means that the property’s elevation is high enough to minimize the risk of flooding. That’s a really good thing for several reasons:


  • Most lenders will not require you to carry flood insurance.

  • If you want flood insurance for peace of mind, your premium will about 1/3 of what you’d pay in a non-X-flood zone.

  • The intrinsic high-elevation of an X-flood zone offers advantages that extend beyond steep insurance discounts. They include:

    • Lower construction costs for new homes since the high elevation eliminates or minimizes the need for a stem wall or fill.

    • The high elevation also eliminates or minimizes the need for steps leading up to the front porch or garage-to-home entry door. This, too, lowers construction costs and enhances convenience. It also eliminates the need to sell a home in later years should stairs become difficult to navigate.


Canal lots


A high percentage of buyers seek out waterfront lots in RW for their aesthetic appeal. But the value of waterfront lots runs much deeper than pure aesthetics. Canal lots offer:

  • Free irrigation water. That’s huge. We love lush, green landscaping. But water is expensive. According to my FPL smart meter, it costs just pennies an hour to run the pump from the canal.

  • RW canal water is relatively clean. It is produced by nature’s own reverse-osmosis system- rain. It’s free of the rust-discoloring compounds found in well water.

  • Canal lots, with the exception of finger canals, provide opportunities to boat, fish, and kayak from your own backyard.

  • Waterfront lots attract wildlife and bird migrations.



St Andrews

Rotonda West has 7 subdivisions, but the original design called for 8. St Andrews subdivision was to be located between Oakland Hills and Pine Valley. The developer discovered that wetlands in the area made it unsuitable for development. Lot owners who had already purchased properties there were allowed to trade them for other lots. Eventually the land was purchased by the state and is now home to West Coral Creek and Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park.


Many older maps still show the streets of St Andrews, with Parade Cir being a complete circle. This included most maps when I moved here in 1994.


Commercial Hub

The center of Rotonda, which is surrounded by Parade Cir and now includes the RV parking lot and water tank, was originally intended to be a large commercial area complete with its own space needle (see included artist rendering).


Fly back in time over RW


Google Earth is a free download from Google. If you install it on your PC, you can go back in time to see what RW looked like. Once you’ve installed it, enter Rotonda West in the search box. You will see RW as if you were hovering over it like a helicopter. Using your mouse, you can descend, ascend, or fly in any direction over RW.


In the view menu, click “Historical Imagery”. A slider will appear at the top that lets slide back in time to as far as 1995. As you fly over RW, you will now see it as it appeared that year. For example, if you slide back to 1995, you will see almost no homes in Long Meadow, White Marsh, or Pine Valley. The only 2 golf courses are those in Oakland Hills and Pebble Beach.

Oakland Hills


Oakland Hills is the oldest subdivision in RW. Yet it offers amenities not found in other subdivisions. These include a country club, a marina with docks, underground utilities, and concrete gutters.


Broadmoor Rd


The only location outside of Oakland Hills that also has underground utilities is Broadmoor Rd. Why? Many of these homes were built as models in 1991. The builders collaborated to give this street a more “picture perfect” appeal.


Rotonda Bl South


Rotonda Bl South is a hidden gem. With the exception of White Marsh Rd, it is the only RW street with no homes. The west side of the street is home to a state preserve and nature trails extending to Coral Creek. Buildable lots on the east side are an exceptional 200’ deep. Looking through the front windows would provide views of the preserve. It is likely the quietest street in RW and the best suited for star-gazing.  Paradoxically, it is also one of the most affordable streets in RW. So why are there no homes on this street? For some reason, FPL never ran power lines up that street. So that cost would have to be absorbed by builders.


Rotonda Cir


Rotonda Cir is the main artery of RW. Unless you are traveling to an address on Boundary Bl, the only way to get there is to travel across or along Rotonda Cir. Odd number addresses on Rotonda Cir share 2 advantages. First, they are all waterfront lots sharing frontage on RW’s longest and widest waterway- the Rotonda River. Secondly, the homes they see across the water are Boundary Bl homes. Because these Boundary Bl homes are located on exceptionally deep lots, the oversized backyards create additional distance from neighbors across the water. And of course, there’s the free irrigation water from the canal.


What about the odd-numbered addresses on Rotonda Cir? Most of them share the good fortune of backing up to a golf course. Some have gorgeous golf-course views. Others are on the “rough”. That’s the areas owned by the golf course that are not used by golfers. Either way, these homeowners all enjoy the luxury and privacy of having no buildable lots beyond their back yards.


The RW passage


Rotonda Cir is also characterized by lots of humpback bridges. These bridges were installed to provide passage from thousands of waterfront homes in RW to the Gulf of Mexico.  In 2005 I was told by a reliable source that the cost of building just one of these bridges at that time would run about $5 million.


As a footnote, I highly recommend reading “Rotonda West, The Vision and the Reality” by the late Jack Alexander.

It’s a fascinating history of Rotonda West that reads more like novel than a history book.


Brett Slattery is broker/owner of Brett Slattery Realty llc in Rotonda West. Reach him via (941) 468-1430, Brett@BrettSlattery.com, or www.BrettSlattery.com.


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Note: Brett Slattery is owner/broker of Brett Slattery Realty llc.

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