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 Mount Dora theater developer gets zoning reprieve

Epic Theatres of Deland has a deal to purchase the land outlined in red to build a movie theater in Mount Dora.
Epic Theatres of Deland has a deal to purchase the land outlined in red to build a movie theater in Mount Dora.

Mount Dora's planning and zoning board Wednesday gave the developer of a proposed movie theater part of what he asked for before building the city's only theater and a waiver, for now, from the rest.

Frank DeMarsh, president of Epic Theatres of DeLand has planned to build a movie theater complex behind Target and next to Walmart on U.S. 441 in Mount Dora for nearly two years.

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After the plan survived opposition to its height, construction was scheduled to begin next month. Then DeMarsh went to the city and asked for permission to leave out a six-foot-high masonry wall as a buffer where 17 acres of citrus trees abut residentially zoned land.

On Wednesday the city's planning and zoning board agreed to waive the wall requirement around a retention pond and then voted to allow the developer to postpone construction of the rest of the required wall until he develops two retail parcels adjacent to the theatre. Even then, the developer has the option to ask for another waiver at that time.

"What essentially they did, put in a nutshell, is they deferred construction of the screen wall to the next phase of development when the two out-parcels are to be developed," said Mark Reggentin, the city's director of planning and zoning.

"We have done everything we can to get him approval," said Reggentin.

DeMarsh said his next step will be to submit building construction plans for the theater.  He had no timetable for construction.

The land is owned by the May and Whitaker Family Partnership LLD and Epic has a purchase agreement.

Teresa Burney can be reached at teresaburney4@gmail.com or at 352 455 1955.

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