Marion County Board of County Commissioners approves land donation at most recent regular meeting

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Posted December 24, 2021 | By Matthew R. Cretul

The Marion County Board of County Commissioners (MCBOCC) voted to approve the donation of approximately 14 acres of vacant land at their regular meeting on Dec. 21.

The 14.78 acres, previously owned by the Forman family, with Walter Forman as Trustee, is located near the intersection of N.E. 36th Ave. and N.E. 49th St. Charlie Forman, Walter’s brother, said the family originally purchased the land with the thought of developing it, but the majority of the surrounding land, also intended for housing development, was ultimately donated to the state or non-profit conservation groups.

Forman said that once they realized how much of the neighboring land had been donated for conservation for a Silver Springs recharge area, they decided to follow suit.

“It’s an area that probably should not be developed because it’s in a recharge area,” Forman pointed out.

Forman said that once the family opted to donate the land, he reached out to Shawn Hubbuck, the right-of-way manager with the Office of the County Engineer to begin the conversation.

“I’ve known Shawn for 20 years….I told Shawn that this property might fit a couple of the needs, and if we can help, that’d be fine.”

The county had the property, which is zoned M1, light industrial, surveyed, and a valuation of $222,000 was returned. The county then recommended the MCBOCC approve the donation.

The survey, conducted on Nov. 17 by Albright & Associates of Ocala, Inc., determined the best use of the land would be “to hold for speculative investment until such time that some form of residential development is feasible (requiring a zoning change).”

Marion County Administrator Mounir Bouyounes said the county is grateful for the donation and is in the process of assessing its potential usage going forward.

“On behalf of the county, we express our appreciation to the Forman family for their generosity. Our team is examining the possibilities this land presents and evaluating how these 14-plus acres can serve our residents. While affordable housing is one of the options we’re exploring, we are also considering this site as a possible future home to Marion County Animal Services,” Bouyounes said in a written statement.

According to records on file with the Marion County Clerk’s office, the Forman family purchased the property in March of 2008.

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