Saturday, September 26, 2020
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The Villages

Villagers furious about decision on 286-unit apartment building

Villagers who packed a more than three-hour meeting of the Amenity Authority Committee are furious with the vote on a 286-unit apartment building planned for the site of the demolished Hacienda Hills Country Club.

The AAC voted 4-1 Wednesday in favor of The Villages Developer using Villages-wide amenities for the future apartment dwellers.

A Villager had a sign of protest on his golf cart outside the AAC meeting at Savannah Center.

The agreement calls for the amenity fees collected from the renters to go to the Developer. It is estimated that revenue will total about $560,000 per year. However, the AAC will collect a little more than $14 per unit to help cover the costs of Community Watch and public safety.

It was clear that the Developer had vowed to put a parking garage or big box retailer at the Hacienda Hills site if the AAC did not go along with the apartment complex.

Villager Rick Fitzgerald addresses the AAC on Wednesday morning at Savannah Center.

Villagers lined up at the podium and did their best to try to persuade AAC members that residents’ concerns about traffic, declining property values and crime should outweigh the pressure exerted by the Developer.

Villagers suggested the AAC did not have enough information to make an informed decision.

“You don’t even know how tall the building is going to be. You are ready to vote on something of this magnitude without knowing all the facts?” asked Jean Wilson of the Village of Hacienda.

AAC member Don Deakin cast the lone vote in opposition to the proposal. AAC Chair Ann Forrester along with AAC members Carl Bell, Lowell Barker and John Wilcox voted in favor of it. Bell, Barker and Wilcox are lame ducks, previously having announced that they would not seek re-election to the resident committee.

After the vote, Villagers stormed out of the Savannah Center calling out, “This is B.S.” and “Harold Schwartz must be rolling over in his grave!”

The Developer previously had offered the Hacienda Hills site to the AAC for purchase at “full market value.” The AAC, under pressure from residents to pass on the offer, failed to make a deal with the Developer and the offer was taken off the table.

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