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The Villages wins approval for apartment building, but area homeowners feel betrayed


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Villages attorney Jo Thacker spoke to the Sumter County Commission Tuesday night as residents expressed their opposition to approvals for new apartments in The Villages. Photo: Joe Byrnes

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The Villages won approval from Sumter County Tuesday night to build an apartment building near homes on the site of the old Hacienda Hills Country Club.

But they lost something, too — the trust of residents in the area.

Nearby homeowners say they feel betrayed by The Villages. First, the developer demolished the country club — so important to the lifestyle they were promised.

Then there’s the issue of amenities for 286 apartments.

Homeowners pay a fee for recreation throughout The Villages. These perks are a big selling point. And the apartment dwellers will get them, but only because a committee approved them under threat that, otherwise, a parking garage or big box store could be built there.

That wasn’t true. The development plan doesn’t allow it.

Patsy Oburn — one of many to speak against the apartments — told the County Commission that’s why residents don’t trust The Villages.

“That is the fruit of the poisonous tree. And the poisonous tree is how those amenities were acquired. They were acquired through threats,” she said.

The commission unanimously approved up to 150 apartments at the site, plus upstairs apartments at the Lake Sumter Landing Town Center.


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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.

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