Planning commission splits on Falls of Ocala addition

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Posted July 1, 2021 | by Joel Bronson,

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Neighbors of a proposed development next to a 55-plus community voiced their opposition to the plan during a Marion County Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on June 28.

CMH Parks Incorporated and Clayton Properties Group want to modify an expired planned unit development (PUD) permit to build 87-home on 27.89 acres next to the existing Falls of Ocala neighborhood.

While the property was originally planned as the second phase of the community, the new proposal would remove the 55-plus age restriction. The proposed move led to objections from some residents of the original project.

Carren Porter lives in the original phase of the development and chose her residence for safety issues.

“My purpose for moving here was because it is a 55 and older community, and I feel safe,” she said.

James Sanders, another Falls of Ocala resident, believes the increase in traffic on Southwest 6th Place will cause issues for current residents.

The new development, along with a lack of sidewalks or traffic lights on the road, will “create a safety hazard for the residents of Phase I and for the families of the proposed Phase II,” Sanders wrote in an email to the board.

But Charlotte Davidson, a traffic study consultant for the developer, said that Southwest 6th Place “was always to be used as access to the new development site.”

Residents also worried about how the new construction would affect their wastewater and wells.

Sanders feels the demands from both phases on systems that are “30+ years old” will be a detriment to both current and new residents.

Commissioner Jerry Lourenco said he was concerned about the second phase not carrying a similar age restriction to the first phase.

“I have no problem with you building single-family homes, but unit two should be 55 and over, as well,” Lourenco said.

The gallery repeatedly shouted out comments in opposition to the new development. Greg Lord, the commission chairman, had to frequently call for order during the discussion.

The commission split 3-3 on recommending the project.

Ocala Gazette Graphic

In other action, the commission voted to unanimously approve plans for the West Shire Village development.

The PUD application came from Platinum Blue, Inc., which is proposing a 230 multi-family development on a 41.6-acre patch of land located near Southwest State Road 200 and 95th Street Road.

The development, which would be known as West Shire Village, would consist of townhouses, duplexes and triplexes with a majority being rental properties.

The proposed development received no opposition during the meeting.

The Marion County Commission will consider the plans at its July 20 meeting. County commissioners are not bound by the P&Z commission’s recommendations.

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