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SORRENTO, FL-Formerly known as Country Greens, a 680-acre commercial/residential/recreational venture now called Sorrento Hills, is surfacing after 17 years of inactive development activity in rural horse-grazing country, 28 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando.

Joint Orlando developers Kittredge Investments and Hewitt Properties are racing the clock on submitting revised development plans to county officials on the estimated billion-dollar enterprise. Developers Conway Kittredge and Bobby Hewitt have until September 2002 to complete their paperwork.

“If they miss the deadline, they have to start from scratch again and resubmit all new applications and formal documents,” a Lake County planner tells GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. Kittredge and Hewitt couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline to learn what their revised plans comprise.

But local and government planners tell GlobeSt.com the developers hope to avoid shrill confrontations with environmentalist and neighborhood watchdog groups by providing abundant green space around the planned 678 single-family and multifamily units, a neighborhood shopping center and an 18-hole championship golf course.

The development site is in Sorrento, FL at the southwest corner of State Road 44 and County Road 437, five miles east of Eustis, FL city limits. The project initially planned to break ground this year in the first of four planned construction phases. Completion was tentatively scheduled for 2015.

Estate homes, golf villas and townhomes are planned. Prices will range from $100,000 to $300,000 on undetermined-sized lots.

The developers plan to set up Sorrento Hills as a community development district, a special state-approved zoning status that will allow Hewitt and Kittredge to use up to $25 million in tax-free bonds for roads, utility lines and related infrastructure. Homebuyers pay off the bonds over 20-year to 30-year periods. The developers hope to buy water and sewer service from the city of Eustis.

As the developers expedite plans for their mixed-use projects, residents are also monitoring the progress of Duke Energy Corp.’s previously announced plans for a 640-megawatt power plant development in the immediate area, northwest of State Road 44 and Country Road 437.

Sorrento Hills developers are siding with the residents in opposing the plant by the Charlotte-based utility.

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