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County rezoning to create an 'Innovation District' in Mount Dora

A number of property owners have assembled land to become an “innovation district” for Lake County.
A number of property owners have assembled land to become an “innovation district” for Lake County. (Lake County Planning)

Lake County Planning and Zoning will vote on Wednesday whether to rezone 265.5 acres east of Mount Dora and east of Round Lake Road, to allow for what the city is calling an "innovation district" to develop.

Its first development would be a new campus of Lake Sumter State College, which landowners are donating 20 acres for that specific use.

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Mount Dora, which plans to eventually annex the land to provide utilities and has a joint planning agreement with Lake County, has already approved the plan, called Summer Lake-Grace Groves.

The county vote would change the zoning from Agricultural to PUD (Planned Unit Development) that would allow mixed use, including offices, warehouses, distribution, industrial, commercial, medical services, hospital, the college and limited multi-family residences, as well as a mining permit for a borrow pit that will provide dirt for the turnpike construction.

The development will be near the terminus of a spur off the under-construction Wekiva Parkway that will end at State Road 46 near the land.

Planner Greg Beliveau, of LPG Urban & Regional Planners Inc., who is listed as applicant for the plan, said the mining portion would be at the site of the college campus land that is at the top of a hill. The land requires leveling to build the campus. The 2.75 million cubic yards of dirt from the hilltop would be used for the construction of the Wekiva Parkway, the plan says.

Both Lake County and Mount Dora want to make the area a "job generator" that attracts businesses that are innovative, rather than further residential development.

That is why a provision for a "small" multifamily development as part of the area has been controversial.

Beliveau said that was included to serve the needs of the college as well as potential businesses and medical uses.

Several limited liability companies own the land, including Summer Lake-Grace Groves LLP (Linda C. Powell as manager); Mt. Dora Hills LLC (Harvey Bernfeld as manager); Tom West Inc. (Tomas W. West as vice president); HB Sorrento LLC (with Harvey Bernfeld as manager); and Harvey Bernfeld.

Editor's Note: This story was updated Tuesday morning to correct reference to State Road 46. 

Teresa Burney can be reached at 352-455-1955 or at Teresaburney4@gmail.com. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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