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Marion County Five-Year Strategic Plan Takes Farmland Preservation Into Account

Marion County Five-Year Strategic Plan Takes Farmland Preservation Into Account

Every five years, the Marion County Commission adopts a five-year Strategic Plan to help guide growth and development. The draft Marion County Administrative Strategic Plan 2022 – 2026: Empowering Marion for Success, was presented to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) at a workshop held on July 7, 2021. The purpose of the workshop was to present the draft plan to the County Commission and receive their input on staff’s recommendations.

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Future Growth is Here: Map of 36,000 Permitted Residential Units Presented at Budget Planning Workshop

Future Growth is Here: Map of 36,000 Permitted Residential Units Presented at Budget Planning Workshop

The Marion County Commission held a Strategic Planning workshop on February 2 to kick-off the annual budgeting process. County staff presented updates on the Financial Projection, Animal Services and Fleet Facilities plan, Health Self-Insurance plan, and a Classification and Compensation Study.

In addition, a map and a list of the residential development projects approved within the last five years in the County and in the City of Ocala, was presented by Tracy Straub, Assistant County Administrator of Public Works and Growth Services.

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Zoning 101 – Distinguishing Between a Regional Activity Center and a Rural Activity Center

Zoning 101 – Distinguishing Between a Regional Activity Center and a Rural Activity Center

The “R” in RGAC stands for Regional. Areas with this zoning emphasize high-density uses and activities. According to the Marion County Comprehensive Plan, Objective 10.3, the Regional Activity Center (RGAC) Overlay is to “allow for compact, high intensity, high density multi-use development which may include a mix of the following uses: retail, office, housing, cultural, recreational and entertainment facilities, hospitality facilities (hotels and motels), and industrial uses that serve a regional area.”

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New To The Herd

New To The Herd

What does it mean when a Marion County business aligns with Horse Farms Forever by joining as a member? Quite simply, it means that they care about our open spaces and beautiful places. It means that they are willing to support farmland preservation and our unique equestrian heritage. Thank you, new and renewing members!

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UPDATE: SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue Road-Widening

UPDATE: SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue Road-Widening

At the Marion County Commission meeting on Tuesday, the Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) was approved for the 10.5-mile segment of SW/NW 80th/70th Avenue. This road will be widened to four lanes, starting at SW 90th Avenue to 0.5 miles north of US Hwy 27. Funding for design of phased portions of the corridor is available in the current budget.

Paul Wildman, P.E., from Guerra Development Group, presented the PER, a 900-page document with detailed maps and conceptual designs of the proposed road. The PER report is the first phase. The next three phases are: design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction.

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The Little Acorn That Started It All

The Little Acorn That Started It All

When Horse Farms Forever Founder, Mary Jane Hunt, was seeking a one-of-a-kind award design for the Acorn Conservation Award, she sought the help of Adam Warner from Mountain Trails Gallery in her summer hometown of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Warner connected Hunt with Durango, Colorado, wildlife bronze sculptor, Bryce Pettit. Both Warner and Pettit were moved by the mission of Horse Farms Forever, and happily accepted the project, graciously donating a portion of their services.

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Proactive Planning to Save Farmland

Proactive Planning to Save Farmland

It’s a familiar and sad chain of events when farmland is lost- growth leads to unplanned development which leads to sprawl. Without intention, open spaces and beautiful places shrink away and the character of a community is changed beyond recognition. Matt Varney comes from a family of real estate developers, and he’s passionate about farmland preservation. Together with Rob and Chris Desino, they operate Ocala Horse Properties – representing the largest portfolio of horse properties in the world. Ocala Horse Properties has been a steadfast ally in forwarding our mission, right from the beginning. Varney and the Desinos are all Founding Members, and Ocala Horse Properties is a Corporate Founder and Gold Sponsor of this year’s Conservation Summit.

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Naturally Healthy Ocala

Naturally Healthy Ocala

The great explorer and forest conservation advocate, John Muir, said

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

Like Muir, we recognize the instinctive connection between beautiful landscapes and healthy healing. 

We are honored to have AdventHealth Ocala as a Charter Member and Gold Sponsor of our Conservation Summit – happening in just a week on November 23. AdventHealth Marketing Manager, Natalie McComb, echoes the sentiments of John Muir as she explains why it is so important for Marion County to have conversations about conservation:

“As healthcare providers, we know that experiencing nature can be a powerful tool in the healing process. Our environment can also greatly impact our health and quality of life. AdventHealth Ocala is excited to support this year’s Horse Farms Forever Conservation Summit.”

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Ensuring Marion County’s Tomorrow

Ensuring Marion County’s Tomorrow

The Rudnianyns are landowners, philanthropists, and real estate developers here in Marion County. Todd Rudnianyn recently aligned his business, Neighborhood Storage, with Horse Farms Forever as a Charter Member and Gold Sponsor of our Conservation Summit, coming right up on November 23. Rudnianyn is a Marion county native. He is fluent in English, Korean, and Spanish. We thank Neighborhood Storage for their support of our mission, and Todd Rudnianyn for being so kind to engage with us in a conversation about conservation.

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Always Watching

We work hard to keep you informed, and to represent our members' interests in preserving our horse farms, farmland and the unique character and culture of Marion County's 193,000 acre Farmland Preservation Area.

Join the herd. Every voice matters.

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