Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 at 9:00am

Business Is Dead In Lake County These Are The People Responsible For Killing It!

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Business Is Dead In Lake County
These Are The People Responsible For Killing It!
September 29, 2009

     Last Tuesday, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 to not allow Sorrento Commons, LLC to construct The Village Commons, a 50,000 square foot project on 18 acres of land at State Road 46 and County Road 437 in Sorrento.  The project, which was scaled down considerably from several other attempts for approval, was to feature a smaller version of a grocery store and other shops which could act as a shopping center for the rural community.  The project had widespread community support because with high fuel prices and the lack of competition many felt this could save working people money.  Kudos to Commissioner Jennifer Hill, who stood up for working families and voted against the other anti-business Commissioners.

The project had gained approval of the zoning board but county staff had recommended it not be approved because of inconsistencies with the Comprehensive Land Plan.  Commissioner Stewart said she didn’t want it to become another Plaza Collina that never materialized on State Road 50 in Clermont, and with so many vacant buildings in Lake County she saw no need for the project.  So, here we have an environmental extremist with zero business experience dictating to companies what’s best for them.  The environmental extremists on the other side point out that Sorrento Commons LLC is owned by Richard Trzcinski from Tampa, as if that is something terrible.  Surely these goofballs aren’t suggesting that unless the money is made or printed in Lake County we don’t want it!  Right now, we need investment from anywhere and to suggest that out of town investors are bad is just absurd.

Friday, Bruce Duncan tendered his resignation as Chairman of the Marketing and Communications Committee for the Lake County Economic Development and Advisory Committee because of the vote against The Village Commons.  In his letter to Lake County’s Economic Director, Dottie Keedy, Duncan wrote, “We are merely window dressing for the BCC and it is clear that they are not serious about creating a business friendly environment in Lake County.  In fact, their goal is quite the opposite.”

Why does this one vote, one rejection of a project, and one resignation mean business is dead in Lake County?  Because it is not just one of these things; it is one of many, including the fight against Niagara as well as Karlton Village and Plaza Collina, the landscape, irrigation, and noise ordinances, the LPA’s anti-business Comprehensive Land Plan, and failed “green” economic development plan.  It’s one of the highest impact fees in America, the increase in fees for basic services, and it’s the lunacy of commissioners who are voting to have impact fees imposed at time of land development instead of land use.

For years, Lake County politicians complained about being a “bedroom community” for metro-Orlando, but their own actions ensure the “bedroom action” continues because no business in their right mind will ever relocate here as long as this county is lead by politicians like Renick, Stewart, and Conner.  Businesses are doing everything they can do to get out of Lake County.  Today, if someone wanted to do business with the “bedroom citizens” in Lake County, he or she should locate on the edges of the county like a liquor store outside a dry county.

Surely, Lake County Commissioners are not so devoid of reality that they do not understand the perceptions these actions are having on local established businesses and potential new businesses.  People see what is going on.  Prospective businesses investigate areas for business conditions, and when other businesspeople see a county that will not approve a simple grocery store on a major thoroughfare in a rural community, they know instinctively these people are crazy.  For the sweet love of God, it’s a grocery story not a nuclear waste dump!  Niagara was just bottling water, not making sulfuric acid.  Yes, business is dead in Lake County as long as these people are in charge!  The only hope any business has is a few cities within the county that understand growing business is essential to their survival.

At the rate these people are destroying the business environment in Lake County, instead of 93 jobs being eliminated in Lake County next year there will be hundreds.  We hope their next round of layoffs will include the anti-business growth management staff at Lake County.  When an independent zoning board votes 5-1 to approve this project and the “growth management” staff recommends the project not be approved that means one thing – the growth management staff is really growth killers and they should be the first to fall on the sword for killing jobs in the county.

The message Lake County sent last week with the vote on The Village Commons is being heard across the country and the state.  Once again, it shows the irresponsible leadership we have in Lake County.  With unemployment at 11.8% and all of the bad economic things that are happening to the citizens of this county, how can anyone vote against jobs and opportunities?

This vote is just another reason why business people and property owners should attend the Lake County Economic Advisory Council meeting on Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. at Lake Sumter Community College in the Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center.  The discussion will be focused on the proposed Comprehensive Plan recommended by the Land Planning Agency.  If this Comprehensive Land Plan is adopted as written most property values will plummet, more working families will live in poverty, and businesses for the next 20 years will pass over Lake County.

If you are a business person in Lake County or a potential business person in Lake County we would like to know what you think.  Shoot us a quick note in our comment section at www.lakecountygov.info and in your own words discuss the hardships this county is placing on you.  It is time the people who are unemployed understand why they are unemployed.  Please pass our newsletter on to others and let’s put real leadership in Lake County.

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