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The Villages
Friday, May 24, 2024

Commissioner casts deciding vote on controversial annexation of pastureland

Commissioner Mike Sage
Commissioner Mike Sage

A Lady Lake commissioner cast a deciding vote Monday night on the controversial annexation of 24 acres of pastureland.

Commissioner Mike Sage, who was absent two weeks earlier when the commission deadlocked 2-2 on the proposed annexation, voted against the annexation of the 24 acres into the Hammock Oaks development

“I am not in favor of annexing this property. I am in favor of a wait-and-see approach with Hammock Oaks,” said Sage, a longtime resident of the Historic Side of The Villages.

He said he is worried about the impact the nearly 3,000 people who would be living in Hammock Oaks will have on roads and schools.

“We are turning a farmland area into a metropolis,” Sage said. “The traffic on Rolling Acres Road is extraordinary.”

Donkeys at the Caudill property pose by orange public notice signs posted by the Town of Lady Lake.
Donkeys at the Caudill property pose by orange public notice signs posted by the Town of Lady Lake.

He added that it would take many years to widen Rolling Acres Road – if the money and political will for widening Rolling Acres Road are ever found.

“It’s not like we can widen the road just like that,” Sage said.

He insisted he is not anti-growth.

“It’s not that I am against development. Lady Lake has proven we are pro-development. But there is a point at which we have to stop and catch up,” Sage said

Two weeks earlier, Mayor Ed Freeman and Commissioner Ed Regan opposed the annexation. Commissioners Treva Roberts and John Gourlie were adamantly in favor of it.

Ed Freeman
Mayor Ed Freeman

It appeared the annexation was doomed, however, Freeman, a Water Oak resident, switched his vote and gave the annexation a 3-2 margin of victory.

The property at 403 Lake Ella Road is owned by 73-year-old David Caudill and his life estate. The 24 acres will provide a vital link for Hammock Oaks, which is set to include a Walmart in the far northern corner at County Road 466 and Cherry Lake Road, town homes, market rate homes, age-restricted homes, a community development district and additional retail, including, quite possibly a restaurant.

For a detailed look at the development, check out this link: Overall Plan Hammock Oaks

Caudill’s wife, a longtime teacher in Lake County, died in 2022. The developer of Hammock Oaks has likely offered him a princely sum for the coveted acreage, although the purchase price has not been disclosed.

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