Developer looks to turn Oviedo berry fields into housing development

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — For years, a field just outside of Oviedo was the place to go to pick your own strawberries. But now, local developer Chris Dorworth is looking at the land for a new use.

The only problem is the property is in the rural boundary of Seminole County, which is protected under the county’s land use code.

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Dorworth has repeatedly tried to redevelop there before, but so far has been unsuccessful.

For years, the fields off of Florida Avenue were filled with strawberries and blueberries. Pappy’s Patch was a popular destination to pick your own fruit.

Seminole County Commissioner Jay Zembower said a request has been put in by Dorworth to remove the 67 acres of property from the protected rural boundary and annex it into the city of Oviedo.

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Late last month, Dorworth formed an LLC called Strawberry Lane, according to Sunbiz records.

Dorworth has been fighting in court for years with Seminole County to build his Rivercross development along the Little Econ River.

Even if commissioners approve annexing the property into the city of Oviedo, county commissioners would still have a role in approving things like zoning changes.

Zembower said because the property is zoned agricultural and everything from Oviedo drains into Lake Jessup they must be sensitive.

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People in Oviedo shared their thoughts after hearing that a developer is looking at the property.

“It’s kind of like a country atmosphere out there and if we were to build a bunch of houses out there it wouldn’t be the country atmosphere it is already,” said Oviedo resident Brandy Burrows.

No word on when county staff will complete their vetting process and turn it over to commissioners.

See more in the video above.

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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.