Lexington, KY – September 13, 2021– Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR) is pleased to announce that John and Leslie Malone were recognized as the recipients of the 2021 Robert N. Clay Conservation Award during the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) 35th National Awards Dinner on September 11th in Lexington, Kentucky.
On November 23, Ocala Breeder’s Sales (OBS) will be occupied by horses of a different color – and SIZE. We are pleased to announce that the Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses will be featured at our 2021 Conservation Summit. Surely, you’ve heard about these adorable horses and their quest to bring healing and joy in the midst of disaster. They have been featured on Animal Planet, National Geographic, and all the major networks. Come and meet some of Marion County’s most famous residents! Learn more about their heartwarming and worthy mission.
More and more members of the business community are falling in step with our mission to protect Marion County’s Farmland Preservation Area. We welcome several new Corporate Members this month, and heartily thank those who have renewed their memberships. Yes, we have work to do, but we are getting it done together as a strong voice for farmland preservation.
Horse Farms Forever supports the proposal from Golden Ocala Equestrian Land (GOEL) to replace the B-2 zoning on the 256-acre Crupi and 247-acre Plumley properties with A-1 zoning and to develop these properties into farms of 10-acres or larger. In addition, Horse Farms Forever supports the GOEL proposal to develop the 1,000+ acre Jockey Club properties into less than 100 farm parcels of 3-acres or more, thus reserving over half the remaining acres for equestrian activities including polo, eventing, driving, rodeo, and other equine activities. The development of this property would include a hotel and other venues.
The environment where we work and live is important. Our local businesses, whether they serve the equine industry or not, know that the unique character of Ocala/Marion County expressed in its farmland and open space makes it an appealing place to be. Without it, we are just another Florida boom town. We welcome several new Corporate Members this month, and heartily thank those who have renewed their memberships. Live Oak International, Chase Bank, de Meric Thoroughbred Sales, The Equine Chronicle, Equus Inn, Woodstove and Fireplace Center, Quail Roost Foundation, Mid Florida Heating and Air, Showcase Properties of Central Florida.
In 1994, about 15 acres of the overall 540-acre property was designated Rural Activity Center (RAC), which allows for limited commercial development in the rural area. The owner of Classic Mile, Mr. Domenic Martelli, has requested that about five acres of the RAC be moved to front along W. Hwy 40, since the current RAC backs up to one of the horse barns and covers over one of the entrances to the farm on SW 140th Avenue.
According to the July 26, 2021, Marion County’s Planning and Zoning Agenda item, the shift of the RAC’s location will create a net increase of about 1.5 acres to result in an overall 15.13-acre RAC. This change to the Future Land Use Designation from Rural Land to RAC is about 5.2 acres. There is a subsequent decrease of RAC back to Rural Land of about 3.7 acres to create a net increase of 1.5 acres designated as RAC. The requested change in the RAC boundary will continue to comply with the RAC designation standards.
Over 200 people attended the workshops on July 14 and 15 about the SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue road-widening project. Marion County’s Deputy County Engineer, Donald Atwell and representatives from Guerra Development Corporation presented several options for the proposed improvements, which include expanding the current roadway to a four-lane road with bike lanes, pedestrian walks, and a grass median. Wednesday’s meeting focused on the road improvements that are south of SR 40. Thursday’s meeting focused on the road improvements north of SR 40.
The public is invited to provide input on the SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue road widening project at two meetings hosted by Guerra Development Corporation.
The meetings will be held on Wednesday, July 14 and Thursday, July 15 from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM at Westport High School Auditorium.
Engineers from Guerra Development Corporation will present information about the road widening project in two separate meetings. The first meeting on July 14 will focus on the road improvements located south of SR 40. The second meeting on July 15 will be focused on the section of the road north of SR 40.
What will the Marion County of the future look like? How can we grow gracefully and retain the unique character and culture of this special place? We are asking those who live, work and play here to weigh in.
Together with the Ocala Metro CEP, College of Central Florida, Florida Thoroughbred Owner’s and Breeder’s Association, Ocala Horse Properties, and Hotel Development and Management Group, we are sponsoring a comprehensive Quality of Life Survey in Marion County. This Survey is being conducted by The Matrix Group – an independent insights and consulting firm. You may receive an invitation to participate in the Survey by mail. If you do, we urge you to follow the directions to complete the survey. Help us to shape the future of Marion County! Participants are selected in each of the County’s population centers in order to ensure accurate representation. We look forward to sharing the results this Fall. We thank each of our generous sponsors for partnering with us in this important endeavor.
You may be wondering why a Dollar General store is being built in the Farmland Preservation Area? Marion County’s comprehensive plan allows for limited commercial and residential development in designated Rural Activity Centers (RAC) (Policy 2.1.21) The new Dollar General store is located in the Flemington RAC.