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The Villages
Friday, July 12, 2024

Controversial facility prompts Lake Cortez drainage questions

An engineer contracted by the Town of Lady Lake has submitted questions with regard to drainage, parking, signage and lighting at a proposed golf maintenance facility at the Mira Mesa Executive Golf Course in The Villages.

The $1.5 million facility being considered by the Amenity Authority Committee was mocked last week by one of its members due to climbing costs.

AAC member Jim Vaccaro said, the golf maintenance facility, which will be used to store a contractor’s landscaping equipment, was “beginning to look like Mecca.”

He also questioned the ever-climbing price tag and a new road he has labeled as “extravagant.” He said a metal pole barn could be used to store the equipment and has questioned why the building project continues to grow with the addition of an office and bathrooms.

The Mira Mesa golf maintenance facility originally had been lumped in with $4.56 million for course improvement projects during an AAC budget workshop earlier this year. The cost was listed at $1.7 million when engineering firm Clymer, Farner, Barley Inc., on behalf of the AAC, went to the Town of Lady Lake to formally file a site plan, even though the AAC had not voted to approve the controversial golf maintenance facility.

The contractor is forced to park equipment outside at the Mira Mesa Executive Golf Course
A contractor is forced to leave equipment outside at the Mira Mesa Executive Golf Course. A need to store the equipment is the reason the $1.5 million building is being considered.

At this past week’s AAC meeting, Assistant District Manager Bruce Brown said the paperwork filed with the Town of Lady Lake mistakenly included an “escalation factor” and the correct estimate is $1.5 million. He defended filing the site plan with the town, calling it common practice to “get the paperwork moving,” even though the project had not been voted on by the AAC.

What Brown failed to mention was that filing the paperwork with the Town of Lady Lake cost $915 -a tiny amount in comparison to the AAC’s multi-million budget, but a potential sore point with officials such as Community Development District 1 Board Chairman Rocky Hyder who recently proclaimed, “Christmas has got to end,” with regard to what he sees as runaway spending of residents’ money.

It’s not clear if Clymer, Farner, Barley Inc.’s engineering costs are included in the $1.5 million estimate for the building.

After reviewing the site plan, an engineer contracted with the Town of Lady Lake responded with several questions.

The town’s engineer needs to know the number of employees who will be using the building, “to ensure the parking count consists of the required amount of spaces.” A lighting plan has also been requested by the town’s contracted engineer, as well as plans for signage.

The Cortez Basin near the Mira Mesa Executive Golf Course
Lake Cortez is located near the Mira Mesa Executive Golf Course.

The engineer also raised issues with concern to Lake Cortez, which is where the golf maintenance facility is to be built, along with an accompanying road. The engineer is seeking a detailed land use breakdown for the golf maintenance facility.

“If the post-development conditions exceed the originally permitted conditions, then a drainage analysis will be needed to identify the anticipated increase in treatment volume, attenuation volume, and stage height of Lake Cortez,” wrote Steven Cockerham, senior project manager of Neel-Schaffer of Maitland, which contracts with the Town of Lady Lake.

Cockerham also asked that a copy of the St. Johns River Water Management District permit be forwarded to the town, “once received.”

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