Discover the little-known facts of Rotonda West
published as: Some Rotonda Questions Answered
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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 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.
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
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 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)
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