Marion Co.BOCC to Vote On Huge Water-User Ocala Ranch July 18 2017

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Thanks to Sierra Club organizer Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, who provided this information and also the map, we are reminded that the Marion County Board of County Commissioners will meet on July 18 in Ocala to vote on final approval for the huge Ocala Ranch Development.

Massive housing development is coming to north central Florida by record numbers. Ocala Ranch wants to build nearly 6000 units on the southwest corner of Ocala off of HWY 200. There is a final hearing on this massive sprawl on Tuesday, July 18th at 2 pm, time sensitive. Get up and get out of your own house and come to the Marion County BOCC meeting in Ocala. Ask for tighter restrictions on consumptive water use and fertilizer needs from landscape that requires lots of water and lots of chemicals to maintain. Ask for native plants versus just Florida friendly. Ask for better management of utility design packages that includes solar build out. Ask for protection of wetlands and NO MITIGATION as these land-to-waterway connections are recharge areas that gives us our drinking water.
Marion County Board of County Commission hearing
Date and time: July 18 at 2 pm
Location of meeting:
McPherson Governmental Complex Auditorium
625 SE 25th Ave.
Ocala, Florida 34471

The development constitutes 3,470 acres, of which 2,082 are buildable, and even though some area of wetlands is planned to be left, some mitigation would be needed.  Two recreation centers and two golf courses (sucking up tons of water) are in the works.

Jim Ross of the Ocala Star banner, writes Mar 19 2017 that the development is large enough “…to be classified as a Development of Regional Impact, or DRI. Not too far away are two other DRIs (On Top of the World and Oak Run) and two vested DRIs: Circle Square Woods and Kingsland Country Estates.”

At earlier meetings to discuss this development, some expressed concerns that the huge water withdrawals would affect the acquifer.  Ross writes:

 “However, an expert hired by the developer said nearby residents have nothing to fear. He told the zoning commission that draw-down on neighbors’ wells would be slight, if any at all. The consultant arrived at this conclusion after using the water management district’s own sophisticated modeling program.”

The many attendees at the recent Minimum Flows and Levels meetings held by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) heard on multiple occasions by respected, qualified water scientists NOT employed by the water districts that the water modeling program is flawed.  What is even worse, some of these same scientists showed that the district chose to include only data favorable to their desired conclusion.  Their review of the MFLs was called a sham.

We could add, if the developer hires a consultant, does anyone expect said consultant to say there will be a negative impact on the aquifer?

If possible, please attend this meeting and ask the commissioners to preserve our rivers, springs and aquifer for future generations and say no to this destructive plan which Florida does NOT need.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-

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