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Ocala
Thursday, July 22, 2021

Southeast Ocala development still ways away, awaits land use amendment change

An area in southeast Ocala that is still multiple steps away from any planned development will now await a decision from the Ocala City Council to amend its future land use.

The Ocala Planning and Zoning Board recommended approval during their June 14 meeting to amend the future land use of a 23.51-acre property at 2550 SE 24th Street.

The amendment only serves to adjust verbiage regulating the types of units that may be developed. It would allow the land to be used for “320 multifamily residential dwelling units,” “180 single-family dwelling units,” or “equivalent combination” that does not exceed the total trips generated by 180 single-family units.

Members of the board, city staff, and an attorney representing the property owners all gave explanations as to the nature of the amendment and clarified the importance of recognizing the board would make a recommendation, not an approval, on any changes.

Ocala City Planner David Boston explained that the update was made in light of the different development options that became available over the years. He explained that approval of the amendment would be one step towards a comprehensive plan. 
“We don’t want a lot of disjointed development efforts moving forward in a vacuum,” said Boston.
Chris Roper, an attorney with Akerman Law Firm appearing on behalf of the property owner, echoed Boston’s sentiments.
“This is the first in a series of multiple steps that would have to occur before any development could happen on the site,” said Roper, citing buffering and rezoning, among other areas of focus.
Chris Spears, who is the property owner on three sides of the property, was concerned about buffers, citing his experience with Woodland Village and his ability to see into the property.
Multiple residents that live around the property spoke on public record, many citing traffic concerns that city staff agreed would need to be addressed.
“There is a traffic study that’s being worked on for this property and for the property north of this one,” said Boston. He indicated the city has hired Jacobs Engineering, a third party engineer, to conduct an analysis of what “future development could mean for the area” to come up with solutions beneficial to all.
The proposed amendment was recommended for approval and will now be heard by the Ocala City Council during their regular meeting on Tuesday, July 6. For more information on the city and its meeting schedule, visit the City of Ocala website.