Leesburg commissioners to consider annexing Buddhist meditation center into city

Leesburg commissioners will consider a proposal Monday night that would clear the way for a meditation center owned by the Vietnamese American Buddhist Association to become part of the city.

The Vietnamese American Buddhist Association’s meditation center sits on 21.05 acres west of Hwy. 27 and Plantation Boulevard.

Commissioners will hear the second readings of three ordinances connected with the project at their regularly scheduled meeting. The first one would clear the way for the center, located on 21.05 acres west of U.S. Hwy. 27 and Plantation Boulevard, to be annexed into the city. The second one amends the city’s comprehensive plan by changing the future designation on the property from Lake County Urban Low Density to Leesburg Institutional. And the third amendment changes the zoning of the property to planned unit development.

The proposed use for the property is for it to continue to grow as a meditation center. Several cabins are planned on the site but none will be set up for permanent living arrangements.

The meditation center property partially wraps around a neighborhood located just off U.S. Hwy. 27 on Palm Way, Palmetto Drive and Plumos Drive. The center also is surrounded by property designated for residential, utility and non-agricultural uses. Wooded areas are located on the opposite side of U.S. Hwy. 27. And a small motel and entertainment center are a short distance away on U.S. Hwy. 27.

This maps shows the location of the Vietnamese American Buddhist Association’s meditation center off Hwy. 27 near Plantation Boulevard. The organization is asking for the property to be annexed into the city of Leesburg.

The Leesburg Planning Commission gave its blessing to the three ordinances in March and commissioners heard the first readings in April. The Metropolitan Planning Organization has indicated that the facility won’t create much of an impact on traffic. And the city has determined that a “positive fiscal impact” will come from the annexation and development of the property in the form of increased tax revenue added to the general fund.

The project site is larger than 10 acres, so it is considered a large-scale comprehensive land use plan amendment. That required the city to notify the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for a review per Florida Statutes.

The Leesburg City Commission meets Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the commission chambers in City Hall, located at 501 W Meadow St.