Possibility of high-rises in Mount Dora upsets residents



MOUNT DORA, Fla. - Mount Dora residents will have a chance to speak out on Thursday night about a controversial plan some fear would change the face of the historic downtown.

City leaders may allow taller buildings near downtown along the lakefront, and three sections of the city are being eyed for five-story buildings.

The only residents to raise concerns, however, are from near the downtown shopping district.

"I think this should be off the table," said resident Jon Peele.

Peele is among a growing number of city residents opposed to plans to allow buildings up to 60 feet tall near the historic downtown.

"This area should not have high-rise buildings. It's totally out of scale with the rest of the town," he said.

Most of the buildings in the area are two or three floors, but the mere suggestion of a five-story building has city officials trying to clarify.

"Every decision that is made in the city is based on how it affects the character of downtown," said Planning Director Mark Reggintin.

Reggentin said the city wants to encourage development of a wooded area called Pineapple Point and other lakefront property nearby. But he insists decisions won't come until the public gets its say, and City Council may decide that 60 feet is too high.

"We have a very unique city here. We don't want to do anything to hurt, harm or destroy that," he said.

Officials said there may be several public hearings before any decisions are made.