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WOMEN PREVAIL IN DEVELOPMENT FIGHT

TALLAHASSEE

Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida's Cabinet voted Tuesday morning in support of two citizens who argued there was no need for a new residential development in Marion County.

By rejecting a proposed 800-home community on about 400 acres outside Ocala, the state's top elected officials upheld an administrative law judge's ruling that the project would create a 45-year surplus of housing in the county.

The case was seen as a stalking horse for larger projects proposed throughout Florida that are seeking to avoid proving a need for their development. Lobbying in support of the project were the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Florida Farm Bureau Federation.

Susan Woods and Karen Lynn Recio, whose horse farms are near the proposed project, successfully fought the development for more than two years, despite having no legal training and limited financial resources.

After the Cabinet's decision, Woods said: "I always hoped that in the end we would win, and I'm very relieved and gratified to see that the truth works."

A representative of the property's owner, Castro Realty, said last week it intended to appeal if its proposal was rejected.

Times staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.

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