A proposal to build an all-terrain vehicle recreation and entertainment complex, with included track, sales, service and an RV park at Flemington, has many in the rural community up in arms.
The 240-acre project, near the intersection of County Roads 329 and 318, lies on land designated as part of Marion County’s Secondary Springs Protection Zone, and the property includes wetland areas. The proposal to grant a special use permit for the land goes before the Marion County Commission during a special meeting on June 17.
The commission carved out the proposal for a special meeting so it could accommodate those interested in attending since COVID-19 distancing guidelines limit capacity in the commission’s auditorium.
On Wednesday, the commission will vote on sending the proposal to the state for its review.
County staff recommends approval for all but the RV park portion of the project. The Planning and Zoning Commission, however, voted 3-2 to deny the proposal mostly on the basis that the use is not compatible with the surrounding agricultural nature of the area. The zoning board’s vote is only a recommendation, and the commission is not bound by its decision.
The proposed site for the Double Gate ATV Park and Recreation is owned by John and Shirley Rudnianyn. John Rudnianyn is a well-known local developer.
Rudnianyn did not immediately return a message left for him on Friday.
The proposal calls for 40 RV spaces with electric hookup, an event facility available for rental, a motorcycle/ATV sales, rental and service area, an ATV track and several ATV and walking trails within the property. The plan also could include a paintball area and designated fishing areas.
Barbara Henry, who lives nearby, said the noise was awful.
“We couldn’t hear our TV with all doors and windows closed,” Henry wrote in an email to the county. “Please don’t spoil this beautiful peaceful area.”
Busy Shires Byerly of Horse Farms Forever, said the group is opposed to the project because of its location.
“It’s in the Farmland Preservation Area. We’re not against the activity, we’re against the location,” Shires Byerly said. “There are existing, currently zoned properties in the county that would allow an ATV racetrack. All this is for John (Rudnianyn) to sell his property to Double Gate.”
Dannie Reaves is the principal of Double Gate LLC, the Ocala-based company behind the proposed park. Attempts to contact Reaves on Friday were not successful.
The county staff’s report on the proposal does not mention the Farmland Preservation Area designation. It does list the property outside of the Urban Growth Boundary and only references the springs protection designation.
“I don’t know how they are going to stay below 65 decibels, which is normal conversation. Just one ATV is at 95 decibels, now imagine 750, which is the maximum number of vehicles they can have on the property,” Shires Byerly said.
The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the McPherson Governmental Campus Auditorium, 601 SE 25th Ave. Live video of the meeting is available online at www.marioncountyfl.org
— Contact Carlos E. Medina at 867-4157 or email@example.com
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.
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Why designate an area for preservation only to turn around and allow development such as this? This area should be left alone!
BTW the oils used in vehicles contain PCBs do any dripping, leaking, fueling, and residue from exhaust will introduce PCBs into the environment. Off road vehicles are typically the most damaged, leaking, and foul running machines on wheels. So many ATVs and Dirt Bikes use 2-stroke engines which mix oil with the fuel and leave a nasty, oily exhaust residue on everything. Putting this facility in the Preservation area is absurd.
As a leader in the community I have continuously spoken out against improper development in Marion County. I WILL be at the next meeting speaking out against this track being in the FARMLAND PRESERVATION AREA.
This area is the gem of Marion County. It is a constant fight. It’s incredibly important.
The ATV track (Blitch Plantation) developer Is Mr. Rudyani. He is a powerful and valued voice in our county, however, he and others must receive a very clear message from the Commissioners. They must stop pandering to the developers. WE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS TYPE OF COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT INSIDE THE FARMLAND PRESERVATION AREA. NOT NOW, NOT EVER. THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN DOES NOT ALLOW FOR IT. WE WILL NOT ISSUE SPECIAL USE PERMITS FOR THIS TYPE OF PROJECT HERE.
We are known as the Horse Capital of the World. If we are to retain this title for generations to come, then we must never allow the infringement of this commercial development in the Farmland Preservation Area. I have been at the Planning and Zoning meetings where the board specifically states that precedence will be set if we allow projects like this.
THAT’S WHY THEY KEEP RE APPLYING FOR A NEW SPECIAL USE PERMIT EVERY FEW MONTHS.
STAFF WORKS FOR THE COUNTY, THE COMMISSIONERS NEED TO TELL THE STAFF THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, THE PUBLIC IS TIRED OF COMING OUT TIME AND AGAIN. WE HAVE SPOKEN OUT. THAT WAS WHY THIS AREA WAS CREATED.
Again, I say, this is one of our most important fights. This will be what maintains the identity of our county, what protects our designation as the Horse Capital of the World. Any commercial infringement or special use permit that is granted – that is not in the Marion County Comprehensive Plan – will chip away the Farmland Preservation Area. Once precedence is set and the Commission gives one single developer the permission to build in that area, they must grant ALL developers the same rights with the same fairness..
We the people MUST STAND UP AND SAY NO!!!! The Farmland Preservation Area was created for a reason. We MUST make a strong, loud, clear message and stop all of the pandering that goes on in this county.
Michael J. Saxe
Marion County Commission
With the “Hard Rock” facility only FOURTEEN MILES away from the “proposed” site, WHAT IS THE POINT?? If it’s too far for you to load up your ATV, motor cycle, Jeep into your RV and go there, then perhaps it’s no “REALLY THAT NECESSARY”. My opinion only but besides the ecological disaster, it’s really just not necessary.
Does the Farmland Preservation Area have actual signs indicating where exactly the areas are? I don’t recall seeing any anywhere near this property.
Hi Kerry – there are signs throughout the area, but they are not in front of every property. Here’s a map: https://www.horsefarmsforever.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/final-map-backdrop.jpg the area within the dotted line is the FPA.
Theres one less than 50 feet away from the proposed property on the intersection of highway 318 and highway 329. it is on the east side of highway 329 as you are coming into Flemington and approaching the stop sign near the country store.