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Hearing held on 'agri-hood' in Orange County

Development would add 2,900 homes, 17 acres of gardens

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Residents who live near the proposed site for new environmentally friendly housing development are voicing their support and opposition to the project.

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The topic is part of a public hearing being held Tuesday by the Board of County Commissioners for Orange County -- a hearing which could last until late into the night.

Orange County workers tell Local 6 each person who signed up to speak get two minutes, but some have asked for more time.  Tallied up, speakers will fill five-and-a-half hours of public speaking time.

The development, which would be located just north of Highway 50 between Tanner and Chuluota roads, was proposed by Dwight Saathoff, of New Ideas Inc., in April.

He wants nearly 2,900 homes to span 1,237 acres, complete with 17 acres of gardens, edible walking trails and a barn for special events.

He dubbed the development an "agri-hood."

"This is the lifestyle they want, and they're going to lose it," said Ruth Bherle, who is opposed to the project.

She's referring to the undeveloped land that blankets both sides of Highway 50.

"Rural means rural," she said. "It means no Saint Augustines, no insecticides. It means you can shoot your gun. It means the bears can get whoever they want to get. We're not gonna be complaining about the trash cans. We need to keep this rural."

There are supporters, who say the development would increase land value.

"This plan symbolizes progress," said supporter Jad Shaloub.  "A lot of people spend a lot of time driving. For the sake of the community, these people would have the opportunity to live closer to their jobs."

Commissioners can choose to approve the project, reject it or they may decide to delay a vote to consider the measure more.

Local 6 will be at the meeting, so watch Local 6 News and stay with ClickOrlando.com for updates?.


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