Eminent DomainNews

EARLY AM ACTION ALERT – RESPONSE REQUESTED

By May 18, 2010 No Comments

This morning, CPR is asking all of its members and readers to join us in supporting Lake County property owners by sending one response email out this morning. CPR would like to thank one of our partnership organizations (Right Side of the Lake) for bringing us the following alert:

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WIPING OUT FARM FAMILIES IN SOUTH LAKE

Commissioners’ Decision on Tuesday Could Destroy Lake’s Last Family Farms”

On Tuesday, May 18, 2010, during their regular meeting, The Lake County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will make a decision on the proposed Rural Protection Area Designation in the New Horizon 2030 Comprehensive Plan.  Under the new Comprehensive Plan, the extreme environmentalists on the Local Planning Agency (LPA) seek to put a “growth fire line” between Orange County and Clermont.  They have concocted this bogus scheme of designating more than 10,000 acres as a Rural Protection Area.  Under this designation, landowners in that area whose property was designated as agriculture, commercial, or other zonings, would automatically be thrown into this new classification, which is very restrictive.

The driving force behind this issue is Lake County Commissioner, Elaine Renick, who is orchestrating this push on behalf of environmental special interest groups. Clermont city officials have figured out that this designation would destroy any hopes of commercial and job expansion because the city would be economically land-locked and are openly opposing the overlay of land near to the city.

At last week’s BOCC public workshop on the Comprehensive Plan, landowners came forward from the affected area, who will personally be the ones to pay an extremely high price if this expanded overlay designation is approved.  These landowners are local families who have worked all their lives, whose future economic opportunities will be wiped out because an extreme environmental movement that has wrested control of Lake County’s government and future growth plans.

If this Rural Protection Area designation is put into place, the value of land in that South Lake area will plummet and the landowners’ ability to borrow money from banks may be destroyed – that’s how this designation will destroy our local farming community.  Local farms rely on the appraised value of their lands to keep credit lines open.  In essence, Lake County government will be inviting the end to the family farm in the county.  Below are the real stories of these families:

Clonts Groves: Rex Clonts has operated an active citrus grove in Lake County ever since his company, Clonts Groves, acquired 550 acres in 1992. Even though the property has over a mile of frontage on US 27 south of Clermont, and is located in two utility districts, the county proposes to reduce housing density allotment from 4 units per acre to 1 unit per 5 acres by placing the property in a Rural Protection Area on its new Future Land Use Map. This change will have a severely negative impact on the market value of the property and is no more than organized theft by Lake County government.

Long & Scott Farms: The Long and Scott families have been active in agriculture and stewards of the land they occupy in Lake County since the early 1960’s. They are famous for their produce, sweet corn, cucumbers, red and green cabbage, and watermelons, which are sold both locally and on a national level. Lake County proposes to limit their property rights by placing 700 acres in a Rural Protection Area.  This designation would result in a loss of land value between $40,000 and $100,000 per acre, as well as the loss of property rights, rights which are guaranteed by the United States Constitution.  Is it fair for these families to lose millions of dollars and possibly their livelihood because Commissioner Elaine Renick and her environmental extremists on the LPA seek to impose their will?  This is a classic example of a backdoor attempt in socialism in Lake County.

Long & Scott Farms is a small to medium farm, and the last produce farm of its size in Central Florida. The farm is already at a disadvantage because of this fact and has experienced a loss of truck traffic since the Lake Apopka farm buy outs of the 1990’s. The State of Florida seems determined to keep imposing new and continuing unnecessary – and unwarranted – cost-prohibitive regulations that make it almost impossible to keep feeding people with produce grown in this country.  Won’t anyone stand up for them?

Loma Linda: Jerry Cloud of the Loma Linda Corporation has been a property owner in Lake County for over 60 years. Loma Linda operates pasture lands and citrus groves totaling nearly 500 acres near the intersection of US 27 and the Florida Turnpike. The County’s new Future Land Use Map will place the property in a Rural Protection Area, reducing the value of the property by up to half. Despite the property’s proximity to the two largest roadways in the county, and the fact that it is surrounded on two sides by the City of Groveland and is in the city’s utility district, the county still feels their land needs to be in the protected area. The city currently provides water and sewer services to the farm’s surrounding properties.  In our view, this property is proof positive that the Rural Protection Area designation is a farce.

These are not the only property owners being harmed by the proposed designation; there are many more with much smaller parcels.  If this designation passes and stands, property values could be reduced by as much as 75%.  Families will be wiped out and this community permanently harmed because Lake County will take real wealth out of the area.  That is the reason many refer to this designation as the “Rural Poverty Area.”  Please stand up for the farmers and landowners in South Lake, and contact your County Commissioner to abolish the Rural Protection Area.

It is very important that you forward this newsletter to everyone on your list and rally for those families who are about to have Lake County government basically seize their land by destroying their land values.  Call and email the Lake County Commissioners now to stop this takeover.  If you are able to attend Tuesday’s meeting, do it for the small family farmers that are left in Lake County.

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CPR strongly encourages its members and readers to send a quick email message this morning to the members of the Lake County Commission urging them to either remove the Rural Protection Area overlay entirely or to remove the property of all owners who have requested to be excluded from the RPA overlay.

(WCadwell@lakecountyfl.govjconner@lakecountyfl.govJHill@lakecountyfl.govERenick@lakecountyfl.gov,    Lstewart@lakecountyfl.gov)

Thank you for your help in taking a stand for liberty and helping these property owners fight this unnecessary restriction on their property rights. During a local, state and national recession where we are seeing double-digit unemployment rates, the decision to overlay an additional layer of regulation over any piece of economically viable land is simply unconscionable. But…if this can happen in Lake County, it could happen to you…Take a stand this morning – by sending a single email in support of property rights.

Carol Saviak
Executive Director
Coalition for Property Rights
2878 S. Osceola Avenue
Orlando, FL 32806
http://www.proprights.com/

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