Administrative hearing on WEC Jockey Club approval canceled

File photo: Chris Rison, the county senior planner, speaks during the Marion County Commission meeting on the WEC Jockey Club development at the McPherson Governmental Complex in Ocala, Fla. on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

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Posted January 10, 2023 | Staff report

The Formal Administrative Hearing challenging the approval of the WEC Jockey Club Planned Unit Development (PUD) scheduled for Thursday and Friday has been canceled, according to a case filing on the state’s Department of Administrative Hearing’s website.

Christopher Rison, a senior planner with Marion County’s Growth Services, was scheduled to give expert testimony on behalf of the County and Golden Ocala Equestrian Land, LLC., owners of the property, but is unavailable due to the death of his mother Jan. 4.

The filing also notes that Rison was previously unable to meet with the County to prepare for the final hearing due to his mother’s illness.

Land use attorney Ralf Brookes filed the request for the hearing in July on half of landowners living adjacent to and nearby the WEC Jockey Club, and Save Our Rural Area (SORA) following the Marion County Board of County Commissioners (MCBOCC) June 21 approval of the massive mixed-use project on the 1,029-acre property on rural County Road 318.

The suit challenges the County’s adoption of amendments to its Comprehensive Plan, which allowed a rezoning of the land and a subsequent vote approving the PUD.

The hearing will be rescheduled.