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CLERMONT, FL-Sugarloaf Mountain, a scenic 350-foot high, 1,434-acre tract whose surrounding areas have hosted international bicycle races and family outings for years, may be back on the drawing boards as a planned $1.2 billion mixed-use enterprise, if Gov. Jeb Bush and his six-member Cabinet support a Tallahassee judge’s ruling on the property. The governor’s decision is expected no later than November.

Judge Donald R. Alexander, who serves in the administrative law division of the state government, has ruled Lake County should give a second five-year development extension to the Orlando owners of the tract, 25 miles west of Downtown Orlando.

The county refused the extension last September after the developers failed to do anything with the prime dirt in the project’s 17-year planning history. The developers plan 800 homes, an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, and an undetermined amount of commercial and retail on the Lake Apopka site between County Road 561 and County Road 455.

Environmentalists and local neighborhood activists who fought to defeat the project last fall are incensed with the judge’s 29-page decision.

“Even if Sugarloaf Mountain were not in an environmentally sensitive region, it would not make business sense to approve the project when the infrastructure for it will take years and millions of taxpayers’ dollars to complete,” a nearby Groveland, FL resident tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity.

The developers originally envisioned a 20-year build-out period with an initial resident population of 5,000.

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