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The Villages
Sunday, April 18, 2021

Vote on Spanish Springs apartments pushed back until January

A potential vote on a controversial plan to put apartments at Spanish Springs Town Square has been pushed back until January.

The Lady Lake Commission had been scheduled to discuss at Monday night’s meeting The Villages’ plan for up to 45 apartments at Spanish Springs. However, a Lady Lake Commission agenda released Thursday indicates that the matter has been tabled until Jan. 20.

Earlier this month, The Villages asked that the apartment issue be tabled due to the sudden hospitalization of Lady Lake Mayor Jim Richards. He has been undergoing dialysis three times a week and was not expected to be able to participate in Monday’s meeting.

The latest delay was requested during a phone call from Villages Vice President Marty Dzuro to interim Lady Lake Town Manager Thad Carroll. Dzuro told Carroll he would like to see the mayor, who represents Ward 5, present “as his constituents are all residents of The Villages.”

The delay could be seen as a ray of hope for Villagers who have been battling the proposal for apartments at Spanish Springs, the former site of the Hacienda Hills Country Club, Lake Sumter Landing and Brownwood.

The group Villages Promises Preservation Watch (V2PW) has hired an attorney to help guide them through the David vs. Goliath battle with The Villages. However, those Villagers were dealt a blow this week after a five-hour meeting of the Sumter County Commission. That body, which includes three lame duck commissioners voted out in August due to anger over a 25 percent tax increase, gave the green light to an apartment complex at the Hacienda Hills site and to allow conversion of second-floor offices to apartments in multiple buildings on four parcels at Lake Sumter Landing.

Lady Lake commissioners will determine the fate of the 45 apartments to be located on the second floors of commercial space at Spanish Springs. A large percentage of the second floors over Margarita Republic and the former Demshar’s restaurant are occupied by The Villages Daily Sun, whose printing plant is located on Rolling Acres Road across from The Villages Elementary at Lady Lake. Seven of the 45 apartments would be located at Katie Belle’s, which closed earlier this year.

The Villages has complained that business demand has declined for that second-floor space.

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