WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Despite outcry, The Villages is one step closer to adding hundreds of apartments near homes


Play Audio

Villages resident Erin Kellett was among dozens who spoke in opposition to land-use changes allowing hundreds of new apartments in established areas of The Villages. Photo: Joe Byrnes

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

The Villages has cleared an obstacle to bringing hundreds of new apartments to established areas in its vast retirement community.

Sumter County’s special master — its alternative to a zoning board — approved the changes late Monday night before a rowdy overflow audience.

Dozens of residents opposed second-story apartments at the Lake Sumter Landing Town Square and a four-story apartment building where the Hacienda Hills Country Club once stood.

Traffic was an issue and property values and the fading promise of a country club lifestyle.

Residents like Rick Fitzgerald urged special master Zachary Broome to stand against the changes.

“They’ve now bulldozed the country club, filled in the swimming pool, knocked down the tiki huts, scraped up the tennis courts,” Fitzgerald said. “And they want to build high-density high-rise apartments in the middle of our established neighborhood.”

Villages Vice President Marty Dzuro said the age-restricted apartments won’t bring crime or children but “people like the residents in The Villages.”

“Since I started here 34 years ago to today, from the first generation to the ones we’re working with now, we’re continuing, we are continuing to make this the best place to live,” he said.

The residents spoke for hours, but in the end Broome said their testimony didn’t affect his decision.

The County Commission still has to vote on the changes.


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida COVID-19 news, updates on special programs and more. Support our extended coverage.

GET THE LATEST

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

Reporter

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.

TOP