The Lady Lake Commission rendered a split decision on the fate of a Historic tree that was to be cut down to make way for a car wash at a new 7-Eleven at a busy intersection in The Villages.
The commission on Monday night voted 3-2 to spare the tree at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and Griffin Avenue on the Historic Side of The Villages.
Saving the tree essentially blocks the site plan for the 7-Eleven that would be built at the former site of the BP station and Kangaroo convenience store.
The developer of the site said it would be impossible to save the tree with the design of the new 7-Eleven which would include a 4,650-square-foot convenience store featuring a gas canopy with six fuel dispensing pumps and 24 fueling stations, 26 parking spaces, a 980-square-foot drive-through car wash and a dumpster enclosure.
The site plan would require enough room for cars to line up for the car wash.
Ed Freeman, a resident of Water Oak in Lady Lake, didn’t buy the excuse that the design could not accommodate the tree.
“There ought to be a little more creativity on this tree. It’s a bad intersection now. I don’t know what they are going to improve it by cutting down this tree,” Freeman said.
Commissioner Dan Vincent agreed.
“Surely there has to be some way to save that tree. It breaks my heart,” Vincent said.
He joined with Commissioners Paul Hannan and Jim Rietz in voting to save the tree. Mayor Ruth Kussard and Commissioner Tony Holden voted in favor of the variance that would have allowed the removal of the tree.