The owner of 36.4 acres along Hartle Road in Clermont is seeking annexation into the city and zoning that will allow for a new flex industrial park with outdoor vehicle storage on land that abuts an established residential neighborhood.
The undeveloped land is about a quarter mile south of S.R. 50, and it lies directly across C.R. 455 from Waterbrooke, a 950-home master-planned community now in development by Mattamy Homes, and north of Johns Lake Estates. It’s in the Lake County - Clermont Joint Planning Area and was assigned a future land use of Regional Office.
The Clermont City Council introduced the annexation ordinance Tuesday night and voted to transmit the comprehensive plan amendment to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The council would hold a public hearing on the matter after it clears DEO.
“This is just an introduction,” City Manager Darren Gray said. “It will all come back to you in 60 days for final approval.”
With the annexation, the city land use and zoning would be industrial. The developer would seek a conditional use permit with the industrial zoning. A site plan submitted with the annexation request shows a total of six flex office buildings and ample parking area to allow for outdoor vehicle storage.
Planning Manager John Kruse said the city zoning would decrease the allowable floor-to-area ratio by two thirds from the current county zoning. Despite that assurance, the project has drawn opposition from residents of Johns Lake Estates.
Councilman Jim Purvis said the industrial zoning was required to accommodate the outdoor storage, but the complex would not house any type of noxious activities. The spaces that abut residential would be fully enclosed, according to the site plan by Dave Schmitt Engineering.
“I think part of the problem is the terminology because when I saw ‘industrial’ I was uncomfortable, too,” Purvis said. “I know it backs up to residential. The planned industrial use is storage....it will basically be a daylight operation.”
Allison Turnbull, shareholder for Gunster, represents the applicant and said she would schedule a neighborhood meeting before the public hearing.
“This will be a conditional use permit, so we will be able to add conditions and tailor the zoning the address any specific concerns of the neighborhood,” she said.