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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Marion County residents share additional thoughts, concerns on county’s growth

In response to recent Letters to the Editor that discussed the needs of a growing community, Marion County residents wrote in and shared their thoughts on the topic:

“People move to a place for many reasons. One reason is to leave ‘there’ because you didn’t like the overcrowding, crime, political rule, or whatever. Point is, you moved from there to come here, so quit trying to make here be like there, or return to there. Ocala is a rural town, small, stable, so don’t try to change it into something it’s not just because you miss overcrowding, crime, political rule, or whatever. Do you really need a Costco? Adapt to being here,” says Jackie White, Reddick resident.

“We moved here from Orlando 20 years ago to get away from what we saw coming. It is now full of big city congestion and crime. Marion/Ocala is heading the same way and needs to be stopped in advance. As a past employee of Orange County Public Works for 35 years, I have seen the willful destruction of a small city to a large disarray. The main problem is allowing growth before the infrastructure is in place or planned and paid for, sometimes known as concurrency. Too often, the citizens are left to pay the costs after the developers have cashed their checks. For example, we often read about houses flooding after new construction occurs nearby. The same with crowded roads, lack of schools, Fire and Police coverage, etc. Another problem is allowing development changes that hurt a rural community’s desire to remain rural, leaving those decisions in the hands of outsiders that don’t live where the changes occur. Public input is too often ignored, allowing the monetary benefit of others. We are experiencing a lack of essentials, don’t let it get worse. Respect the citizens and environment first,” says Weirsdale resident Eric Peterson.

“There is so much back and fourth regarding residents that do and do not want improved infrastructure improvements to Ocala such as air, rail, roads, big box retail, etc. Let’s all wake up here. Your elected politicians are approving all the zoning changes and all the building in Ocala. Based on the existing growth, we must have improvements to infrastructure. I feel the growth in Ocala is all one-sided: too many zoning variances changing the intent of land use, and too much home building without any long-term planning on existing infrastructure. All this one-sided building has also resulted in a lack of real and long-term employment, with the exception of minimum wage jobs. If you want the building stopped, or want a long-term plan that has balance, I suggest you stop complaining and get involved. Be informed, go to meetings, express your concerns, and vote. Change is inevitable but change can be good if you have a long-term plan that supports the entire community’s needs,” says John Goy, Ocala resident.

“Quit being money hungry politicians, look out for the residents who have made this their home, do some research. We don’t like the heavy traffic, the unending development, the money hungry developers, the yes men and women that are supposed to have our interests in mind. We don’t want the cookie cutter developments. If you will not serve the residents of Marion County, I’m sure we can find someone who will. Where I live, I can’t even get traffic control, so you’ll need to address the problems at hand before you all think about more expansion. In my neighborhood they are building, the traffic is tearing up the roads that I have already been taxed to pave. Where does this end? Please stop. We have an acronym for things that are not going right: it is called Stop, Think, Act, Review (STAR),” says Ocala and Dunnellon resident, Chris Odom.

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