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Lake County's Wellness Way development plan is back on track

Lake County's Wellness Way development plan is back on track
(Handout)

Lake County's formerly derailed Wellness Way development plan for a 25-plus square-mile chunk of Southeast Lake County appears to be back on the rails.

"We have a settlement agreement in principal with the state (department of Economic Opportunity),” said Robert Chandler, Lake County’s economic development and tourism director.
The changes made to the plan “are for all practical purposes effectively the same” as they were before, Chandler said.
The Lake County Commission is scheduled to vote on Dec. 15, to eliminate the brand of non-compliance, the state stamped on the project in September. On January 5 it will vote once more on the plan itself.
In September Lake County officials and land owners in the area who contributed cash to help develop the plan for the 16,200 acres were surprised when what they thought was a done deal with the state came back to them with a letter that said the development was non-compliant.
The Department of Economic Opportunity’s letter to the Lake County Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Jimmy Connor started out by complimenting the county’s efforts, but then went on to list a series of items it considered deficiencies.

The list included things such as failure to identify adequate potable water for the project and the county's agreement to allow already approved developments in the area to continue as planned and not comply with the new plan.

It also found fault with what it called the  lack of defining minimum and maximum development density or intensity. Instead, it had set an average density for development.

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There were other complaints by the state as well including fault found with open space guidelines, promotion of modes of transportation beyond cars, and not "emphasizing an urban form for functional place-making."

Jim Karr, one of the landowners who contributed to the cost of creating the plan said he was relieved with the proposed state settlement agreement.

"I'm happy to see it moving again," he said.

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

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