Sumter Questions Email

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Al Butler  (Dist 1 Commissioner, Second Vice Chairman)
Doug Gilpin  (Dist 2 Commissioner),
Don Burgess  (Dist 3 Commissioner),
Garry Breeden  (Vice Chairman,  Dist 4 Commissioner),
Steve Printz  (Dist 5 Commissioner,  Chairman),
Karl Holley  (AICP, Development Services Director),

Re: DRI 2020-0001, DRI 2020-0002 and MISC2020-0006

Dear Chairman Printz and Commissioners:

As a property owner/resident of The Villages, I am writing to document my concerns connected with the Applicant’s amendments to DRI 2020-0001, DRI 2020-0002 and MISC2020-0006 which is scheduled for the Sumter County Board of Commissioners’ 1st reading hearing on Tuesday October 13, 2020.

Sumter County taxpayers and constituents were not provided with the information necessary to participate in an informed or educated fashion at this hearing.  The amendments and related documents are neither self-explanatory nor self-contained and purport to amend other documents that have not been distributed.   As a result, it is impossible to read these materials and understand what the existing documents currently provide, what changes are being requested, whether the language of the ordinances is broader than necessary to achieve their purported goals, what the long-term effect of the proposed changes will be and how they, in turn, change existing agreements the applicant has with the county.  The process to date on both applications has been tainted – and, if conducted in the same fashion in the future, will continue to be rendered ineffective – by the inadequate (and in places garbled) printed materials and the lack of understandable and reasoned explanations for the changes.

During the last commission meeting Commissioner Gilpin indicated he planned to recommend a delay on this topic till the new commissioners are seated and his fellow commissioners indicated they supported his plan.

I respectfully request that Commissioners honor their word by voting for continuance until the new commission is seated, and in the resulting interim, I request that you address our questions and concerns.


    1. If the desire is simply to put apartments at 2 specific sites, (HHCC and LSL), then why are these DRIs asking for additional and unnecessary changes – changes that are NOT needed to put apartments at these 2 sites and changes that are NOT compatible with the current Master Plan?
    2. Why is the Applicant asking for Multi-Family to be added as a permitted use throughout the ENTIRE DRI, rather than just at each specific site?
    3. Why has the Applicant created and included land conversion tables that detail how to convert SINGLE-family homes into MULTI-family units?  There are NO single-family homes at HHCC nor at LSL, so why include this?   Is the Developer planning on converting SINGLE family homes to Multi-family units at some point in the future?
    4. The Master Plan currently specifies EXACTLY how many residential units can exist (34,144 South of 466 and 11,719 north of 466) – why are these caps being REMOVED rather than amended?
    5. Why not just increase the current caps by the maximum number of units that can be added at each site?  For example, South of 466 would now equal 34,144 + LSL apartments and North of 466 = 11,719 + HHCC apartments?  Why eliminate the cap completely?
    6. Why completely REMOVE the current density standards (3.354 dwelling/acre) rather than amend the density standards for the 2 specific sites?
    7. Why is our current LOW density standard being REPLACED with the MAXIMUM allowable density standard?
    8. The Applicant states that he is not seeking additional entitlements but an additional use.  Is this not doublespeak?  “Conversion” of commercial and residential space to multi-family units effects the same result as increasing entitlements – isn’t this just a distortion to hide the truth?
    9. No specific plans have been provided for any of the requested changes – how can you (the commissioners) approve what you do NOT know?
  2. SPOT ZONING is usually defined as the process of singling out a small parcel of land for a use classification totally different from that of the surrounding area for the benefit of the owner of such property and to the detriment of other owners.
    1. How are apartments, in the midst of an established neighborhood of single-family homes (HHCC) or a commercial town square (LSL) not “spot zoning”?
    1. NEED:  The Applicant has offered a 2018 Multifamily Market Analysis as “proof” of the need for MF housing.  However, this very report states that “the market is meeting the senior-living properties segment”, “there is no indications of market demand for micro-unity or luxury-upscale properties” and that “the recommendation for supporting economic development initiatives for housing is the market-rate properties segment and the workforce-housing properties segment”.
      1. How does this study prove a need for age-restricted apartments?  It appears to prove the opposite.
      2. There will be 265 apartments for rent at the Lofts at Brownwood when it is complete. 153 of those apartments are available right NOW but only 57 are rented, leaving almost 2/3 of the available apartments unrented.  Again, is this not evidence that there actually is NO such need and that in fact there may be more apartments available than the market will bear?
    2. IMPACT:  The Applicant has stated that their “evaluation has been on a DRI-wide basis, and so while there might be a higher traffic impact in one portion of the DRI property, there is no net impact on the DRI-wide basis”.
      1. What are the commonsense limitations to this argument?  Any kind of change will be negligible if spread over a large enough area.
      2. Don’t you also need to ensure that the impacted affected areas remain safe and manageable?
      3. Is this not the same flawed Tallahassee reasoning that says what is good for Orlando or Tampa is also good for the smaller cities in Sumter County?
      4. These impact statements were made using data that does not necessarily apply to a seasonal, recreational area, much less one where the roadways are shared by cars/golf carts/bikes/walkers/joggers, all day long in a golf-retirement community, with an average age in the mid 60s.  Could you please require that a boots-on-the-ground traffic study be completed to ensure that the traffic impacts are in fact safe and reasonable?
  4. LAND USE CONVERSION TABLE:  The land conversion table was created using the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Trip and Parking Manuals.  What parameters were used in creating this table?  According to the study “Senior Housing Trip Generation and Parking Demands Characteristics”’ “The changing lifestyle of older adults affects their transportation needs and usage as well. Trip generation and parking demand within this age group vary significantly from traditional residential uses because residents no longer have to be at work, pick up their children, or do their shopping at specific times. Also many senior communities provide on-site services to meet their residents’ needs …. Senior housing generates two-thirds the amount of traffic compared to a typical single-family development. It’s closer to other multi-family categories, including apartments”.
    1. Was this taken into account when creating the conversion table?
    2. Is this an accurate trip conversion table?
    3. Shouldn’t the conversion rate be closer to a 1:1(1 SF = ! MF) rather than a 1:2 (1 SF = 2 MF)?
  5. MORSE BLVD:  DRI-0002 states that HHCC portion of Morse Blvd is (1) rated “F” (which is the lowest possible rating and is considered “substandard”), (2) generated significant traffic BUT ONLY during LIMITED operating hours and (3) NO volume based improvements can be made based on future changes.
    1. Now that the HHCC site is vacant, and given that this substandard road can NOT be improved, does Sumter County not have a duty and obligation to either (a) prevent ANY new development at this site or (b) require that any new development have a SMALLER and LESS DANGEROUS traffic impact than before?
    2. Why not use this opportunity to improve this unfixable substandard road rather than make it even worse? Since the Developer does not bear the responsibility of the roadways, it appears that the liability of allowing increased impact to Morse Blvd at the North end will be a risk and liability borne by Sumter County.  Is this not a lawsuit waiting to happen?  One that our tax dollars will be paying for?
  6. LAKE SUMTER LANDING APARTMENTS:  The Town of Lady Lake has requested that the Applicant tighten the language in their proposed amendments with regards to apartments in Spanish Springs so that it more closely aligns with their stated plans.  Specifically, we have been told that the maximum number of apartments will be 45, that such apartments will be restricted to the 2nd floor only (except for 3rd floor of MVP) and that they will be age-restricted apartments.
    1. Can you request this as well?  What is the maximum number of apartments that can be built?
    2. Can the Sumter amendments also state that they will be age-restricted?
    3. Will they be limited to the 2nd floor?   Could they be on the ground floor?  Could 3rd and 4th floors be added to existing buildings given Sumter’s height restrictions of 50ft.  Can the Sumter amendmemts also state that these apartment will be limited to the 2nd story?

Thank you for your time.


Sumter Questions Email

This petition is now closed.

End date: Oct 13, 2020

Signatures collected: 56

56 signatures




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