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Lake County is about to consider a land use plan change that will affect residents along County Patch 561, a/k/a County Road 561. The road with more pock marks than the moon could be subjected to a substantial increase in road traffic if the land use change is permitted. It is expected to generate another 2,500 cars per day on the roadway which passes in front of Pine Ridge Elementary School.

There are a lot of reasons this is a bad idea. It violates planning principles regarding transition. Instead of a gradual change from agricultural to high density, it makes the change in one step.

It puts pressure on the environment, particularly the Green Swamp, which is a major factor in the Floridan (correct spelling) Aquifer. The Floridan Aquifer is an underground river that flows south feeding not only our own water supply, but hundreds of thousands of other Floridians as well.

Runoff from the homes, including pesticides, fertilizers and oil residue from vehicles in the community, can only run downhill into Sawmill Lake.

It does not pass the litmus test of need, which is required before the land use change can be made. There is no pressing need for more housing. Further, for every house added, at least one more job is required. We need to provide jobs for people before they can live here, not live here and hope to create jobs.

It will put pressure on the schools to provide more classroom space. And the list goes on.

My concern is more long term. I am not anti-growth or development. I have championed responsible growth in Florida since the 60's. My concerns are for water and the specter of more land use changes.

We don't have enough potable water to service the needs of developments that are already approved. Overall Florida has already platted enough developments to house over 100 million people, five times our current state population.

Plans to get water from other resources puts us in severe jeopardy. Look to the western states where water is traded like cash. The water will flow into Lake County only as long as the other party doesn't need it. When they do, all bets are off.

Then there is the idea that a 30 year plan can be changed at anytime without a very compelling reason other than the desire to increase profit. If we can toss aside this land use plan, what will happen with Wellness Way, the massive land project that stretches from US 27 to the Orange County line?

Will the corridor that promises so much get spot zoned or have the land use change every couple years to suit someone's desires? If the county could simply change the plan for the Green Swamp area, what will they do to Wellness Way? Build another Orlando?

The land owners bought the property knowing what its use could be. The county is under no obligation to change that to make it even more profitable.

The county needs to reject the petition and keep the land use intact.

Lake County should say "no" to proposed land use changes in the Sawmill Lake acreage along CR561


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