UPDATED: NOVEMBER 15, 2016 2:19 PM — The Whitaker Family Trust has added another 9 acres to its land surrounding the new Publix on S.R. 19 in Tavares, and is asking the city to annex the parcel and rezone it from Lake County's Agricultural classification into Tavares to mixed-use Commercial.
The city's Planning and Zoning board is scheduled to hear the request on Nov. 17.
The Whitaker family owns two other vacant parcels totaling nearly 14 acres of abandoned orange groves, adjoining the grocery's south and west boundaries north of Slim Haywood Drive. They surround the 13-acre parcel that Publix developed over the past year, and opened a new store recently.
The recently purchased land is west of the shopping center. Together with the family trust's other land, the 23-acre assemblage could become a target for developers seeking land next to grocery stores for commercial development.
Members of the Whitaker family did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Editor's Note: This story was corrected to reflect that the Whitaker family was not the previous owner of the 13-acre parcel where Publix was built.