Local News

Meeting doesn't resolve differences over proposed development

SEBRING - A meeting between a contractor and residents of Francis II mobile home park failed to resolve many of the differences regarding a proposed luxury mobile home park.

"We get a different answer every time we ask questions," said Jean Mottashed, one of about 120 Francis II residents who attended the meeting with Mark Gose, a contractor representing Lake Jackson LLC. "Our concerns are about compatibility."

The property, formerly used for a golf course, is east of U.S. 27 and on the Sebring Parkway, near the south Publix shopping center and the south Burger King.

Residents voiced concerns about traffic from the development, drainage, how it affects green space and the possibility it could turn into a development for low-income residents.

Many of those same residents attended a Sebring City Council meeting last week where a decision was postponed until May.

Gose said the subdivision would be a quality development and that the developers intend to follow Sebring regulations. The land in the development is part of the city of Sebring, while the mobile home park is in the county.

The apartment buildings would be no more than three stories high and the density would be 24 units per acre, Gose said, adding current zoning allows for 12 units per acre.

He said that would leave 1,060 single-family units that could be built in gated communities planned on the remaining land.

Developers could have asked for as many as 40 units per acre, he said.

Traffic would exit onto Sebring Parkway and eventually a traffic light would be put there, he said.

But residents were skeptical of whether the developer plans to ever build the luxury apartment complex and they questioned whether the property is on the market for sale. They suggested the developers only wanted the density increased so that the property would be of interest to a buyer.

Gose said that while the property is not listed on the real estate market, if someone approached the developers with a good offer, they would accept it. That's the case with most properties, he said.

But, he added, he doubts another developer would want to build low-income housing on relatively small part of the property.

"Any other development you want to do would be hindered if there is low-income development," he said.

Bill Spiess, a resident of Francis II, questioned whether the developers wanted to try to meet the concerns of the residents.

"My question to you is how good of a neighbor do you want to be to this development?" Spiess asked Gose.

"We want to be good neighbors, but we're here to make money," Gose replied.


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