Residents oppose developer's Black Hammock plans

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

Residents in Seminole county are trying to block a developer from building houses on land that is currently only woods and wetlands.

A wooded area is the only thing separating Roger Patenaude's rural Seminole County property from suburban development.  He wants to keep it that way.

"I think that would serve everyone in the best interest of the environment, that's for sure," said Patenaude.

The 40 acres next door to Patenaude caught a developer's eye. Now that developer wants to rezone the property from rural to planned development, so that 20 houses can be built there.

Residents in the area, which is known as the Black Hammock, told WFTV reporter Tim Barber that housing developments have been creeping toward the rural land for years. They said they are hoping to stop it before any more trees are cut down.

Patenaude said he worries about increased traffic, noise, and most of all water runoff, which he said has already been an issue with other nearby developments.

"All that water comes up and it has actually washed out the driveway before," said Patenaude.

The development company said it would follow state and county guidelines regarding that issue and that they don't feel the additional homes would have a major impact on traffic.

Barber also learned that the developer said he plans to leave 25 percent of the woods would remain unaffected and an 8-acre wetlands area would not be touched.

Patenaude said he is worried if officials approve the rezoning, it could open the door for more development in the future.

"My personal preference is, the least amount of impact is the best," said Patenaude.

The Seminole County Commission will vote on the rezoning at end of the month.