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The city of Leesburg approved an annexation and rezoning request to turn the failed Silver Lake Golf and Country Club into homes on 104 acres.
The city of Leesburg approved an annexation and rezoning request to turn the failed Silver Lake Golf and Country Club into homes on 104 acres. (City of Leesburg)

A former 104-acre golf course in Leesburg's Silver Lake area is on the road to development into a residential community of 233 homes.

The Silver Lake Golf and Country Club on the land has been closed for a while. Local entrepreneur Jim Hartman bought the club years ago when the golf course was functioning with the intention of keeping it a golf course. However, like many courses in recent years, membership dwindled and the course went from private, to semi-private, to public, to shut down a few years ago.

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Hartman recently reached out to the City of Leesburg to annex the land into the city limits for connection to utilities, and requested the land be rezoned to allow for homes.

Casselberry bought its community golf course for $2.2 million, feeling it was too ingrained in the community to stop operating, or be developed on.

In mid-December, the Leesburg City Commission approved the annexation and zoning amid complaints from residents in the neighborhood, some with homes that back up to the golf course. The annexation should be complete by mid-January after a 30-day appeal process closes.

During the Commission hearings, "the room was filled with people mostly against the project," said Lanny Husebo of Husebo Advertising and Public Relations, who represents the developer. "You are affecting people's personal lifestyles."

Husebo also lives on the golf course, but thinks that the development planned by Hartman will be a positive alternative to the overgrown course.

A group of avid golfers on a rescue mission has bought the West Orange Country Club with the hope of keeping the club open as a golfing venue and return it to a private club.

"Growth is going to be coming and this is something positive to help the area, so I am for it," he said.

Husebo stresses that the development will be high quality and gated, with a waterfall at its entrance. There will be a mix of single-family and town homes between 1,800- and 3,000-square feet. All will have two-car garages. Development will likely be done in three phases, he said.

"There are many homes there (in the Silver Lake area) now that are less than 3,000 square feet, said Husebo.

As golf courses across the country close, Orlando-based Integrity Golf is buying them up or offering to manage them.

Husebo said the new development would offer nods to its former incarnation. The community will be named Silver Lake Club, and the new golf course will have a similar look to the smaller retro-design of the original clubhouse.

There are no plans in City Hall yet for the development, but they should be coming soon, Husebo said.

Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at teresaburney4@gmail.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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