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Condominiums proposed for lakeside near Belcher

Can it be?

Are there really 10 acres of undeveloped land with a lake on busy Belcher Road?

For the present, the answer is yes. But that could change soon.

Two developers have asked the county to change zoning and land use designations so they can put as many as 42 town homes on the site.

Under the current designation, the property can hold only three houses.

Part of the property, near the corner of Belcher and Sunset Point roads, is a nature preserve.

Fifty-two nearby residents, most of whom live in Beckett Lake subdivision, have written letters to county officials opposing any zoning change. Also on file is a petition 127 neighbors signed protesting denser development.

They say too many homes on the site will spoil their view of the pristine land, endanger wildlife and cause traffic problems.

"I have labored very hard to make this house a home and would never have moved here if I thought this land behind us would be turned into another crowded, congested, condo complex," wrote Chuck Scrivner to county officials.

The land, a former citrus grove, is owned by four women, all members of the Calhoun family. If the land use is changed to permit the town homes, developers Robert Berg and Richard Turk plan to buy it from the women.

The County Commission is to hear the case when it meets July 18.

At a hearing this month about the proposed change, Turk said he sympathized with neighbors who oppose his project.

"It's unfortunate but . . . it really is the property owner's right" to build on the land "and not these folks over here, in my opinion," Turk said.

Turk promised those objecting that he would contain stormwater runoff on the site, maintain as much of the wooded area as possible and buffer with landscaping the border between his project and Beckett Lake subdivision.

According to the developers' plans, the two-story town homes would be no more than 35 feet high. They would have attached garages and screened-in porches and would cost from $120,000 to $160,000.

Because a large portion of the site is submerged land, the developers would be building on no more than 6{ acres. County officials have not yet determined the dividing line between wetlands and uplands. Therefore, the final number of homes that would be permitted if the zoning and land-use designations are changed has not been determined.

Jean Flament is one of the nearby residents opposed to development plans. She said neighbors will turn out for the hearing next month.

"It's a preserve," she said. "We have so little land left in this county that's preserved. If this goes, we'll have lost something that can't be replaced."

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