Homeowners battle with Lake County over proposed development

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —

Dozens of Lake County homeowners said they won't back down to county leaders who want to change how some empty land can be used.

The homeowners have already fought two battles over what kind of development can go on 40 acres of land at State Road 50 and Plaza Collina Boulevard near Clermont, and they're gearing up for another round.

Channel 9's Berndt Petersen learned it's not that the homeowners want the land to remain empty; they just don't want certain businesses, like convenience stores or shopping malls, to go there.

Residents said the property has been set aside for office space, and that's how it should be used.

But Lake County wants to change the allowable use for the land from office to commercial.

"I'm never surprised. It's the same old story, just a different day," said resident Amy Wright.

"Something that's compatible, where when you come home at night, you get to sleep at night," said resident Al Koehnlein. "A business that's not running 24 hours a day."

A few years back, homeowners complained about a cement plant that operated on the site, and the company eventually agreed to leave.

Some residents also opposed the construction of a large auto dealership next door, but that project went through.

Homeowners are now saying it's not fair for the county to change the rules, and they don't intend to back down.

"(I will) stand my ground again, keep up the good fight, try and hope for once they'll listen to us," said Wright.

A final decision comes next month by the county commission. Homeowners said they will have a lawyer by then. They said they have also sent a letter to the governor.