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The Villages
Friday, February 3, 2023

Official wants special magistrate after raucous meeting about apartments

Paul Hannan

A Lady Lake commissioner has called for the end to the town’s Planning & Zoning Board in favor of hiring a special magistrate.

Commissioner Paul Hannan offered harsh criticism of the volunteer members of the Planning & Zoning Board, which serves in an advisory capacity to the town’s commission.

“They are not comprehending what’s going on. They have proven that many times in meetings I have attended,” said Hannan, who lives on the Historic Side of The Villages.

He referenced the Planning & Zoning Board’s handling of a Sept. 14 meeting in which an overflow crowd of Villagers spoke out against apartments planned for Spanish Springs Town Square.

Hannan, who previously criticized the board last month, offered a new twist. He wants the town to hire a special magistrate to hear such matters rather than relying on the citizen representatives. Wildwood has long relied on a special magistrate for planning and zoning matters and Lady Lake uses a special magistrate for code enforcement cases.

Hannan called for a workshop for he and his fellow commissioners to consider the matter. However, none of the other commissioners were interested in his proposal.

Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Kussard said the commission should be grateful for the citizens who serve on the board.

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