Homeowners on Windermere's Lake Mabel upset at proposal to build apartment complex

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WINDERMERE, Fla. - Some homeowners near Windermere are fighting to keep an apartment complex out of their neighborhood after learning a developer is considering building a complex near lakefront property on Lake Mabel.

Residents told Channel 9's Jeff Deal they moved to the area because it was rural, and they want to keep it that way.

Currently, there are about 20 homes built on big lots around the pristine lake, but the developer is calling for roughly 200 apartments to be built, which has residents upset.

Neighbors said there are already hundreds of units being built a few miles from the lake, and they don't want to see anything like it popping up in their rural neighborhood.

"We all go fishing here, skiing, boating. It's just a fantastic place," said resident Doug Mikkelsen.

Many of the current residents have lived in the neighborhood for decades on large two-acre lots zoned rural country estate.

"I'm happy to drive the extra distance out here to the country to have a quiet, peaceful place to live," said Mikkelsen. "The apartments will be straight across."

The site of the proposed apartment complex is currently four parcels of land totaling 100 acres. Right now, there are mostly orange groves covering the land, but that could change if the developer gets his way.

County leaders confirm the proposal calls for three-story structures and a total of 200 apartments, which would require a zoning change from rural country to high density.

Neighbors worry another 11 acres on the lake listed by the same real-estate agent could be combined to add lake access to hundreds of people, but the agent told Channel 9 that plan is not in the works.

After hearing concerns from neighbors, County Commissioner Scott Boyd told Channel 9 the developers have agreed to work with neighbors to look at other options as well, possibly townhomes or single-family homes on half-acre lots.

"We enjoy what we have, and we want to continue to enjoy it," said resident Nancy Helms.

Neighbors said they're hoping the developer simply decides to build elsewhere, which could be a possibility.

The Realtor told Channel 9 if a plan can't be worked out with the developer, other buyers will be sought.