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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Readers share thoughts on development in Ocala

In response to several stories about new developments across Ocala, multiple readers have written in to share their opinions. These are some of the letters that we have received over the past few weeks:

“As a lifetime Native of Ocala, it breaks my heart to see what is happening here. Once known as the Horse Capital of the World, we will be known as Orlando’s brother. Gone are the beautiful horse and cattle farms. This development boom is mind boggling. Any acre sitting as home to wildlife now is covered in hideous, three-story condos. Our roads are in such pitiful shape, the traffic has become dangerous, the schools are maxed out. I don’t know where our County commissioners’ heads are, but they need to pull them out. Disgusted native.”Glynda Junright, Ocala

“I agree with Nancy Neal and how Ocala is being over developed. No one is listening! I’ve been living in Ocala for over 35 years and I’ve seen our beautiful horse farms disappear one by one. Does anyone see what’s happening to our aquifer? Our roads are nothing but pot holes and the traffic on 200 alone is overbearing to say the least! Grandfather Oaks are are being bulldozed down! Everything in Ocala is being destroyed before our eyes. What can we do? Only sit back and watch because no one will listen.”Cynthia Kovach, Ocala

“I have read what a recent writer wrote and also agree that our so called commissioners don’t give a damn about the residents they purportedly serve as they obviously don’t! It’s all about them and lining their pockets! Marion County is losing everything that made it special to developers who will pay off county officials to get their way! They are making Marion County like Orange and with that all the problems will now be here as well! I have lived here since 1985 and I now feel that what was once special to this area is no longer a high priority to those who choose to enrich themselves and forget those that enjoyed life here. Perhaps it’s time to seek another location and leave this area because the rich just keep getting richer and only care about their selfish selves! SAD! Marion County is going to remembered as the former rural community that thrived in the past but was sold off to the Corporate Elite and their lacky Commissioners!” John Sistler, Ocala

I agree with all the other letters sent in. I am a lifelong resident of Marion County with the last 13 with a residence in Ocala. The most disturbing part about all the development is what are we going to do for water in another 15 or 20 years. In 1992 the State of Florida made every county in the state come up with a comprehensive land use plan and at the time warned about over developing due to a limited amount of fresh water. A few years later another study said if Marion County didn’t start conservation measures tight then that we would be out of water by 2030. That’s getting pretty close. I really don’t understand how any of our county commissioners or city council members sleep at night. The least they could do is add substantial impact fees to help pay for roads and schools instead of sticking the tax payers with the bill.” – Jerry Melvin, Ocala

It’s time for Marion County to stop subdividing farms, ranches and forested areas. It’s time for a building moratorium. Let people stay up north if they can’t find a house or apartment that is already built. Our taxes are going up yearly because we are paying to have more schools built, make roads wider, add more police and firemen, etc.. The cost of updating the infrastructure should have been collected in advance from developers and not make residents pay!!! Add in increase in traffic, accidents, potholes, etc.. Greed and corrupt politics! I will not vote for any of the existing politicians or city council people on the next election. We need to vote for people that care about Ocala. There are many towns around this country that have building moratoriums and laws against subdividing land, so it is legal!” – Larry Hyman, Ocala

“To the editor I have lived in Ocala since 1986 and I must say definite growth with terrible road infrastructure especially when it comes to turn lanes several have only room for 2 to 3 cars and lites that only let those 2 to 3 cars thru terrible as for the carwashes holy moly one on every corner n gas stations can’t the county come up with something better than this on a positive note I do give hats off for the work they put into the parks for one tuskawilla has came along way but pleas do something about the roads patch jobs r terrible hows about some repaving thank you” – Terry Jones, Ocala

“I agree with those readers who say this beautiful city is being ruined by all the growth. We moved here in 1988. It was beautiful. No garbage in the street and growth was restricted. Now, these commissioners just rubber stamp any plans developers present them with no impact studies done to see what effect this has on traffic or quality of life. It should be criminal to ruin a city the way they have.” – Steve Shalaew, Ocala

All the people that say bigger is better must be from the bigger cities. Crime is up, traffic will be horrendous, especially on SR 200 and Hwy 40. Forget downtown, there’s not enough parking now. What’s this world coming to? I’ve been here only five years, but seen big change. Bigger is not better, from an ex big city person.”Charles Gajewski, Silver Springs

These commissioners have lost their minds. Allowing this kind of construction all over Ocala. They are destroying this once horse town. What are they afraid of by saying no? Make the builders at least have some land with the homes half an acre between each other or more. Come on already! We aren’t sardines. Leave us some country to enjoy!” Pat Hanson, Ocala

“This is further proof that this county is owned and run by greedy developers. There has to be a way to stop this. It seems that the county commission is lacking in both knowledge and character and has basically accepted that they will be bought and bullied by these developers even when it is clearly not in the best interest of its citizens. Shameful!” Kathleen O’Connor, Ocala

“I grew up in Ocala, schooled in Ocala. Enlisted in the Army for 24 years. When I returned to Ocala to visit mother, I got lost in the town I grew up in. Snowbird explosion. I always wondered why people up north would retire and come to Florida for an over-priced cracker- box house in the hot sun. Ocala has become a suburb of Orlando. Sad, no more hunting and fishing any good.” – Philip W Cunningham, Kingman, AZ

“I have lived in Ocala since 2008. Loved the spacious and beautiful horse ranches and seeing the horses roam in the pastures. Now, all I see are hundreds of condos and apartments being built on every road. The traffic has tripled and will continue to grow as these apartments. and condos are occupied. It is a real shame for those of us who moved here from more crowded cities to enjoy the open spaces and love watching the magnificent horses. Now, they seem to be disappearing more and more. Such a tragedy! Please stop this outrage!” – Betty Lou Williams, Ocala

If you would like to share your opinion, write a letter to the editor or comment below.