The Marion County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denial of a proposed zoning change that would pave the way for a new Family Dollar in the northeast portion of the county.
The commission issued the recommendation during its regular meeting on Monday, July 26.
During that meeting, Rogers Engineering, which represents land owners Mary and Stacey Weeks, requested changes to the zoning and planned future land use designation of the property. The subject properties in question are in the northeastern portion of the county, near the intersection of NE 244th Terrace and NE Highway 314.
The denial comes in light of public outcry against the development, with multiple residents sharing their opinions about additional development in the area.
“This property is a corner lot on 314 and NE 244th Terrace, at the entrance to Los Haven. It is currently zoned for things like convenience stores, cell towers, dry cleaners and other undesirable business uses for this location” said Stanton West in an email to the commission. West suggested the area should be rezoned to residential to “blend with the neighborhood” around.
“We love our neighborhood where we have lived for the past 21 years. We love seeing the wild animals pass though our property and down our street,” said James and Joyce Ross in an email to Marion County officials. The couple cited an increase in “noise and traffic associated with the operation of a retail store” that would be near their subdivision. “We are strongly opposed to the build of the Family Dollar and the requested zoning change,” reads the email.
In recent weeks, residents all across the county, and particularly in Ocala, have shown up in force at government meetings to share their opinions against new convenience stores, gas stations, and other retailers at various locations.
In June, Ocala City Council members voted to deny a permit for a new liquor store that had plans to open in west Ocala. After residents packed chamber halls to share their opinion against the liquor store, council members voted unanimously to deny the measure.
The commission’s recommendation is not final, as that decision is left to the Marion County Board of County Commissioners. That board will determine whether to accept or deny the planning and zoning commission’s recommendation during its regular meeting on Tuesday, August 17, 2021.