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The Villages
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Lady Lake commissioner changes vote on apartments at Spanish Springs

Ed Freeman
Ed Freeman

The Lady Lake Commission has voted to reconsider apartments at Spanish Springs Town Square.

Commissioner Ed Freeman on Monday called for his fellow commissioners to reconsider the topic at the June 6 meeting.

The commission on May 2 voted 3-2 to reject The Villages’ plan for apartments at the former home of Katie Belle’s at the Van Patten House. An overflow crowd of residents attended the meeting, making an impassioned plea to stand up to The Villages. Freeman joined Commissioner Paul Hannan and Mayor Jim Rietz in voting against the plan for the apartments.

However, within days of that meeting, Commissioner Freeman contacted the town’s attorney and requested that discussion of a possible resurrection of the issue be added to Monday’s agenda.

I voted no at the last commission meeting because of the emotion in this place. It was a bad vote and I am not ashamed to admit it,” Freeman said at Monday’s meeting.

He said the taxpayers of Lady Lake should not pay for a lawsuit that could potentially cost up to $500,000 “because of an argument with the Morse family.” He said the town, which was sued by The Villages last year, would have little to no chance of prevailing in the lawsuit.

“They have every right to build apartments,” said Freeman, a resident of Water Oak.

He made a motion to put the apartments on the June 6 agenda. His motion was seconded by Commissioner Tony Holden. The vote was 3-2 as Freeman and Holden were joined by Commissioner Ruth Kussard in the majority. Rietz and Hannan voted against it.

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