Barbara Eaton is 76 years old and raises livestock at her home on Edwards Road in Lady Lake where she has lived for two decades.
She was among the residents who appeared Monday night before the Lady Lake Planning & Zoning Board, speaking out against the planned development of 144 homes to be built on 31 acres of land located three-quarters of a mile east of the intersection of Edwards Road and U.S. Hwy. 27/441.
The 31-acre section of land where the homes would be built is higher than the pastureland owned by Eaton, who has sheep and horses.
“The runoff will come onto my property. Once they strip the land to put in that many houses, I’ve lost my property,” Eaton said.
Other neighbors testified they will lose their “slice of heaven” if the development wins approval. They fear that six houses to an acre will drive out the current residents and force them to sell off their mini-farms and “rural dreams.”
Edward Moore’s parents bought acreage on Edwards Road in 1970.
“We want our country. Let’s leave some rural area. It’s fast disappearing,” Moore said.
The developer of the project, Orlando-based Nitai Capital Partners Edwards LLC, is seeking annexation into the Town of Lady Lake, which would include hooking onto water and sewer from the town.
The clay road the residents use would likely be paved.
Planning & Zoning Board member Dan Vincent, a former town commissioner, noted that once the road is paved, the area will likely attract more development.
Wendy Then of the town’s Growth Management Department said the critical need for workforce housing in the area, driven by the growth of The Villages, is fueling the need for this project as well as many others. She said the homes would be “moderately priced.”
Moved by the plea from residents, a representative of Nitai Capital Partners took to the podium and asked that the rezoning matter be tabled. The matter could come back before the planning and zoning board as early as Dec. 12.