Mount Dora residents criticize Wolf Branch plan, says original mission is lost

Proposed development includes 310-foot office building

MOUNT DORA, Fla. – Mount Dora residents are concerned a proposed development inside the Wolf Branch Innovation District doesn’t match what was originally planned.

Residents like Ephriam McCormick are mainly concerned about the proposed 310-foot office building.

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“To have such an eyesore in our backyard is not something that we would want,” McCormick said. “It’s also something that has, you know, if it goes through, I’ll be honest, it is going to make me reevaluate whether or not we want to live in this area.”

On top of the massive office space, the project would also include a senior living facility, some commercial space, apartments and luxury condos.

“To present luxury apartments as a carrot for any millennials in this area is to be very out of touch with the economic reality of most of my generation,” McCormick said.

The first reading of the planned urban development passed at the city council’s Jan. 17 meeting, but not without opposition.

“It’s the height of the statue of liberty so if you are thinking of those intensities, that’s intense,” said recently elected Mount Dora Councilmember Dennis Dawson. “I’m not sure that’s what we want in Mount Dora or even Lake County.”

Dawson was the only elected official to vote no on the project.

“I think it’s an amazing plan, but not necessarily for Mount Dora,” Dawson said.

Mount Dora resident Jay Smith said he feels the original mission of the Wolf Branch Innovation District to bring in higher education, medical facilities and high-paying jobs is lost.

“I don’t see the medical, I don’t see the educational,” Smith said. “I see a senior citizen living facility that’s certainly not going to be high-paying jobs and I don’t know who is going to be able to afford to live in these apartments.”

The proposed plan will be discussed again at a later date. News 6 reached out to the city of Mount Dora for an interview on the development, but our request was denied.

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Emily joined WKMG-TV in November 2022.