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GROVELAND, FL-Eager to start its first planned growth in 25 years, this historic rural South Lake County city of 4,000 residents, located 25 miles west of Downtown Orlando, has suffered a temporary setback. The Florida Department of Community Affairs, which has the final say on all commercial, industrial and residential ventures, has told Groveland officials that its 10 planned annexations of a total 2,600 nearby acres for the development of 3,000 new homes and an undetermined amount of commercial space would lead to urban sprawl.

Groveland city staffers tell GlobeSt.com that city manager Jason Yarborough didn’t accept the Florida agency’s criticisms lightly. “He was particularly upset with the DCA, because they had told him before he had submitted the plans that there weren’t any major concerns” over the annexations,” a staffer says. DCA officials couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline.

State and local officials are meeting this week to work out a compromise. The annexations center around Cherry Lake, where most homes now sit on five-acre and 10-acre lots. New planned development could reduce the density to about one home per acre or less, area brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

Cherry Lake residents prefer the rural ambience of not living directly next to a neighbor, says one broker. Groveland wants to annex 1,600 acres for 2,000 new homes at or near Cherry Lake.

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