County to weigh 680-unit development near Summerfield
Sherry Thoresen talks about the planned 680-unit quadplex that she is opposed to as she stands in a field that has been owned by her family for six generations. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]
The Market of Marion could see neighbors soon – lots of neighbors.
A proposed residential and commercial development spanning 82 acres near Summerfield, adjacent to the popular flea market, will come before the Marion County Board of County Commissioners on April 20.
Property owner Nick Pucek seeks a zoning change to allow for a 680-unit residential development called Carissa Oaks, as well as 25 acres of commercial use, according to a request filed with the county.
Plans for the property, located on Southeast 132nd Street Road and U.S. Highway 441, call for 62 two-story quadplexes and nine three-story apartment buildings.
In 2005, the property went from rural zoning to industrial, commercial and professional offices. However, the property remained untouched, just how some nearby residents like it.
Sherry Thoresen’s family has lived in the area for six generations and owns about 300 acres off of Southeast 135th Street.
“You can walk out on our front porch at night and see nothing but stars,” Thoresen said. “You add a three-story building; you’re going to see a lit-up apartment building.”
The plan includes entrances on U.S. 441 and Southeast 132nd Street Road. A third entrance, off Southeast 135th Street, would serve 34 quadplexes or 136 residential units separately.
“It’s a winding two-lane road,” said Thoresen, who lives on Southeast 135th Street. “It’s got a pond on it, a running creek through it. We’ve got wildlife that’s always here… It would really impact this area.”
County planning officials also have traffic concerns.
One condition of approval would require a traffic study on the three roads with access points to the development.
Additionally, county staff recommends adding sidewalks and recreational amenities to the development. While the proposal meets the required minimum of 20% open space, the county suggests requiring recreational amenities because there are none within two miles.
The proposal could also have effects on the schools that service the area, especially Belleview High School.
Thoresen, whose daughter attends Belleview High, said before the pandemic, the school was experiencing overcrowding.
Thoresen said she plans to speak out against the plans at the commission meeting.
“I want my grandchildren to run this property and grow up like my daughters did,” Thoresen said. “And for me not to have to worry about who my neighbors are. Because now I’ve got 680 new people over here that I have no idea about.”