Sumter County to handle building permits for Villages portion of Leesburg

Sumter County will handle building permitting and inspection services for homes and structures that soon will be built in The Villages portion of Leesburg.

Sumter County commissioners learned of the plan during their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night in Bushnell from County Administrator Bradley Arnold and quickly gave it their blessings.

Sumter County building officials will handle permitting and inspection services for homes and other structures built in the Villages of West Lake in Leesburg.

Sumter County has been handling those duties for the largest portion of The Villages for many years and agreed to take on the added responsibility when representatives of both The Villages and Leesburg made the suggestion.

Currently, Leesburg and The Villages are nearing the end of a due-diligence period on a 1,127-acre parcel north of County Road 470. The Villages is paying $7,000 an acre for the prime land near the Florida Turnpike and is planning to build up to 3,000 homes there.

Officials from both Leesburg and Sumter County are in agreement that a unified approach to permitting and inspection services in the new area of The Villages will result “in a more efficient and cost-effective method of service delivery,” an executive summary provided to Sumter commissioners states.

Officials also believe that the agreement will enhance economic development and promote “the safety and welfare of all of the citizens within The Villages development,” the document adds.

The agreement calls for Sumter County building officials to serve in the same capacity for the City of Leesburg solely for Villages development. The county’s building office will be the “single, unified point of service” for building permitting and inspection services within the portion of The Villages in Leesburg designated as Age Restricted Development.

The agreement also states that Sumter County will be responsible for funding of staff and operational costs of the services through fees that will be collected for building permit applications, reviews and inspections within the affected portion of Leesburg. The fees will be the same as those collected in Sumter County. And both governmental entities agree to prepare and adopt unified operational procedures for building permit processing, review and inspections “to assure a high level of service to customers without undue delay,” the agreement says.