By Marc Crail Vice-mayor and District 4 Representative I suspect that your are already well aware that the 224 acres of orange groves located on either side of US Rt 441, between ABC Liquor and The Country Club of Mount Dora are going to be sold and developed into housing and commercial uses. This has been the talk of the town for about eighteen months. Please keep in mind that this acreage is NOT currently in the Mount Dora city limits but it is surrounded by the City. It is important to know that it has already been approved for development by Lake County so discussions now are centered on if the property will continue to be in unincorporated Lake County or in the City and the timing of potential annexation. Like it or not, the property owner has the right to develop her/his land and while many of us would prefer that this prime property on the highway remain orange groves, that isn't going to happen. City Council and City staff are tasked with making the future development as palatable as possible and to maximize the impact fees, TIF and other tax benefits to the City of Mount Dora.
Your City Council, City staff and representatives of the developer of the Mount Dora Groves project met to discuss a pre-annexation and utility agreement for the 224 acre site. Good faith negotiations have been going on between the developer for months and the city and we are hopeful that the remaining handful of sticking points can be resolved so that City Council can consider approving the pre-annexation agreement at a special meeting to be scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Monday, August 28th. This will be a public meeting at City Hall. We had thought that it could be on the regular meeting agenda for August 15 but due to the complexities of the project and scheduling difficulties, that seems unlikely.
We have asked the developer and our staff to work hard to reach agreement on the remaining issues that center upon the annexation process, water and wastewater utilities, development fees, a golf cart path on the south side, drainage, paving and grading issues.
I'm reporting to you as an individual and not on behalf of City Council in any official capacity. I remain optimistic that an agreement can be reached so that this project, that is going to happen, can move forward maximizing its economic benefits to our city.
Instead of a quote today, what follows is a Kenyan proverb. "Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable."
Thanks for continued interest in our wonderful city.