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Alligator farm coming to Sumter County

Neighbors surprised to hear of it

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – Homeowners in Sumter County were surprised to learn recently that a new alligator farm is being built near County Road 231.

Contractor Daniel Henshaw showed News 6 the master plan for Gatorworld.

He and his crew were hired to work on the driveway for the facility.

"That they're putting in some kind of park to do a drive-thru for the gators." said Henshaw. 

News 6 called Buckner Land Enterprise.

They represented R.J. Property in Sumter County's commission meeting Tuesday to push for land behind County Road 231 to be rezoned as agricultural in order to operate an alligator farm.

The company confirmed an alligator farm is in the works. 

Fencing is already up in the woods behind CR 231, and crews were digging up dirt Friday afternoon. 

Some neighbors said that's how they first heard about the proposed farm. 

Elizabeth Feliciano found out through social media. 

"I first heard about it on Facebook and I thought it was a prank. Just the fact of an alligator farm being out here was just hilarious. And then when we seen all the fences and all that it was, like, 'Are you kidding me?" said Feliciano. 

She's not a fan of the farm idea mostly because she said she wasn't notified about it by the developer.

Neighbor Roosevelt Morgan wasn't happy about it at first either. 

He said after a commission meeting the developer apologized for not notifying him about the project and even took him to the site for a tour. 

"He took me back there. He showed me how he was going to build the stuff for the gators. He's going to have different areas for the gators and he's going to put up another fence, iron fence where the gators are going to be so they can't get out of the fence," Morgan said. 

We asked to speak with the owner of the property but were told he does not want to talk, and he didn't respond to emails or calls.

One woman, whose mother lives next to the newly built fence along CR 231 said she plans to fight the development. 

Any person who plans to open an alligator farm must have an alligator farm license and an alligator farm permit, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.