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The Villages
Sunday, April 18, 2021

Villagers feeling betrayed by ‘the family’

To the Editor:

New owners and potential new owners need to pay attention to what is happening in The Villages now. If you want to get an idea of what your lifestyle is going to be in 10 or 15 years take a look at the Spanish Springs and Sumter Landing area this month.
The developer has petitioned both Lake and Sumter County to change the existing zoning restrictions to allow multi-family housing (apartments) in Spanish Springs town square, Sumter Landing town square, and in the former location of Hacienda Hills Country Club (HHCC).  The current residents are vehemently opposed to this – especially the HHCC – and have let the developer know.  The Developer has basically said so what, we will do what we can get away with. Zoning reconsideration meetings are being held Sept. 21 and in October. This does not immediately affect residents in Brownwood and south but it could be in 5 to 15 years.
You can quit reading here if you like but the remainder gets into the details you need to be well informed.
FACT:  The Developer plans to build an apartment complex in area that was Hacienda Hill Country Club. This complex will completely change the character of the neighborhood.  It puts up to 280 apartments and 560 new residents into a plat that was a single story country club and is surrounded by single family homes. It will add up to 560 new people to the already stressed amenities.  The Amenity Authority Committee (AAC) was pressured by the developer to give about 280 amenities to the developer to make this possible.  There was a hearing and the residents were firmly opposed.  The AAC ignored the residents and voted to give the amenities.
OPINION:  The AAC was played, rolled over like a puppy dog, and gave The Villages what it wanted.  The nearby residents are furious.
FACT: There will be a meeting with the Sumter County Planning and Zoning Special Master on Sept. 21. There are two meetings scheduled with the Sumter County commissioners in October. They will consider rezoning HHCC and four Sumter Landing Square locations to allow multifamily housing.
OPINION: The meeting with the zoning special master venue is the Everglades Recreation Center. Far from Sumter Landing and HHCC and not golf cart accessible to most.  You can guess why. The Developer has paired apartments in Sumter Landing and apartments at HHCC as an issue.  This is because apartments in Sumter Landing are less egregious (although still with significant issues).  They hope to muddy the water on the HHCC issue by considering them together. The County Commission meeting is scheduled in October because the current commissioners change soon after that.  The current commissioners are widely believed to be the Developers’ lapdogs.  Three incumbents were soundly voted out for that reason but will not change until after this decision.
OPINION: The Developer is taking steps that will change the character of the lifestyle in The Villages.  They are doing this to generate additional income streams in a long developed area. The residents are firmly opposed and feel betrayed by “the family.” We love it here in our VILLAGE inspired lifestyle.  We want to see it stay that way. We do not want a high density/city style life.  We want the Developer to recognize our concerns and forego a few dollars now to continue the long term quality lifestyle they advertise and we love. It may well save them some money in the long run.  These could  be your concerns in a few years.  It is something you need to consider before you buy here.

Nick Walters
Village of De La Vista North

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