Special Commission Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the May 15, 2023 Special Commission Meeting

The special meeting of the Lady Lake Town Commission was held in the Commission Chambers at Lady Lake Town Hall, 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida with Mayor Rietz presiding. The meeting convened at 5:00 p.m.

Call to Order

Mayor Rietz

Commissioner (Ward) Present
Hannan (Four) NO
Kussard (One) YES
Gourlie (Two) YES
Freeman (Three) YES
Rietz (Five) YES


Thad Carroll, Growth Management Director; Wendy Then, Senior Planner; Rebecca Higgins, Development Coordinator; Mike Burske, Parks & Recreation Director; Elisha Pappacoda, Communications Director; Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

Town Attorney Derek Schroth was also in attendance.


1. Conceptual presentation of the modified site plan for The Alexander (formerly referenced as Lady Lake Square Apartments), on approximately 24 acres located west of Teague Trail/CR 25, and south of Griffin Avenue. The presentation is strictly informational to apprise the Town Commission that some of the building locations have changed from the original site plan, and that the clubhouse will be larger than the previous proposal.

Growth Management Director Carroll said that there are a couple revisions to the footprint of the property illustrated on the modified site plan. Significant improvements have already occurred on the site including roadway and utility improvements, as well as retention ponds. The Town has worked with Marty Dellebovi and Benchmark Properties for many years. They have recently partnered with Alexander Investments to build out the property.

Marty Dellebovi – Director of Real Estate - Benchmark Group

Mr. Dellebovi said they have been working with staff to finetune everything as they get ready to start building the apartments. The site is 45 acres of which approximately 25 of those acres will be devoted to the apartments. Nothing is being changed in the buildings that would affect the permits that have already been issued. What has changed, as suggested by their new partner Kyle Riva of Alexander Investments, has been to reduce the number of 3-bedroom units to 2-bedroom units and upgrade from 2-bedroom, 1-bath units to more 2-bedroom, 2-bath units. This revised unit count resulted in a reduction of six bathrooms overall and a reduction of building types. Rather than six approved building types, the applicant is now only proposing three. This change has resulted in less square footage coverage of the site (smaller buildings replaced larger buildings). The changes have not changed the stormwater retention plans and have not significantly changed the landscaping plans.

Also due to market demands, the developer is enhancing the amenity offerings for residents, resulting in the need for a larger clubhouse. They are increasing the building size from approximately 3,500 square feet to 8,400 square feet. This will enable placement of parcel boxes inside (including refrigerated boxes), include a state-of-the-art fitness center and exercise/yoga studio, clubroom, recreation room with bar, pool table, shuffleboard, etc. and add a conference room and cybercafé. A full set of new plans will be submitted for the newly proposed facility at which point they will then go through the permitting process again.

They have also shifted the placement of a couple of buildings to enhance the unit views. By revising building placement, units will now look out over amenity areas and less at parking areas, roads, and retail loading docks, etc. This change will enable the developer to enhance the landscape views throughout the property.

The changes do not require approval from the Town Commission given that they are slight changes to the approved site plan for the Lady Lake Apartments. The modifications can be approved administratively through the minor modification application process; however, the applicant wanted to make the Commission aware of the changes they have made as a courtesy.

Mr. Dellebovi said they have begun preparing for the stormwater retention areas and have started clearing the property. They are not going to do too much more clearing before construction begins to avoid erosion from summer rains. County Road 25 improvements are awaiting final approval by the County and the bond is in place. Nancy Drive should be completed within the next 20 days. The sewer system has been completed and has been dedicated to the Town.

Mayor Rietz commented that the location of the retention pond provides a nice buffer between the site and Griffin Road. Also, the slight building shifts allow for better views.

In conclusion, Mr. Dellebovi announced that there will soon be new occupants for Benchmark’s vacant spaces previously occupied by Earth Fare, Tuesday Morning, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. He added that they should have 100% occupancy soon.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve the site plan modifications for The Alexander apartments; Commissioner Gourlie seconded. Motion carried 4-0.

2. Conceptual Discussion of the Sribalaji Properties, LLC development proposal, located at the northwest intersection of Highway 466 and Clay Avenue. The applicant is proposing to rezone the 4.42-acre property from Residential Professional to Light Commercial to allow for a pharmacy and professional office building.

Growth Management Director Carroll stated that the applicant, Ryan Solstice of LPG Urban and Regional Planners, LLC, on behalf of Sribalaji Properties, has submitted a Conceptual Plan for discussion. The purpose of the discussion is to obtain comments from the Town Commission and consensus to proceed with filing a rezoning application for the property.

The property is currently zoned Residential Professional (RP) with a future land use designation of Professional Services (PS). The applicant would like to file a rezoning application with the Town of Lady Lake to amend the zoning designation to Light Commercial (LC). The property is approximately 4.42 acres and would be accessed via Clay Avenue at a location that aligns with West Lemon Street, as well as from Highway 466 by means of a limited right-in, right-out driveway connection.

The conceptual plan proposes two buildings; one building being 10,000 square feet that would be used as a medical office, while the other would be 15,000 square feet and would be the site of a pharmacy. The applicant feels that the proposed use is consistent with other uses in the area, as the property directly across Highway 466 is zoned Light Commercial as well. Further, many nearby properties along the Highway 466 corridor have undergone changes to commercial and medical uses over the past ten to fifteen years.

The applicant contends that the property is an ideal location in that the pharmacy could serve the residents of the adjacent multi-family development to the west, as well as the neighborhood to the east of Clay Avenue, by providing pedestrian access to medicines, food and drink, and various sundries.

Ryan Solstice – 1162 Camp Avenue – Mount Dora

Mr. Solstice said they seek to change the zoning designation to Light Commercial from Residential Professional to allow a pharmacy. The applicant is a urologist who is proposing to build his new medical office at the rear of the property. The remaining property would be platted and sold to a pharmacy. The idea is to have an area for restaurants and services for the adjacent residential properties. Lake County Public Services said there would most likely need to be a right-in, right-out along with a deceleration lane on Highway 466. The concept plan was designed with substantial buffering in the event more rights-of-way are needed.

Commissioner Kussard asked what kind of pharmacy they are interested in having at that location at 15,000 square feet. Mr. Solstice responded that the pharmacy would have a similar footprint to a Walgreens or CVS. Commissioner Kussard said that she is in favor of changing the zoning to Light Commercial if there is an addendum prohibiting current and future owners from operating a cannabis dispensary. Mr. Solstice said that is not their intent to allow dispensaries and he is happy to make that change.

Commissioner Freeman said the property is heavily treed and he is always interested in preserving trees. Mr. Solstice said a tree survey has not yet been conducted. He assumes there are some large trees on the property that they would do their best to preserve. Commissioner Freeman added that preservation of trees should be incorporated into the design.

Commissioner Kussard made a motion to approve the request from Sribalaji Properties to rezone the 4.42-acre property from Residential Professional to Light Commercial; Commissioner Gourlie seconded. Motion carried 4-0.

3. Conceptual Presentation of the Taste of Lady Lake development proposal, located on West Lemon Street, north of Highway 466 and east of Clay Avenue. The applicant is proposing to rezone two properties being 0.78 acres and 0.68 acres from Mixed Low Density Residential (MX-5) to Planned Commercial (CP), also amending the future land use designation from Mixed Residential Low Density (MR-LD) to Commercial General-Retail Sales and Services (RET), to allow for restaurant uses with outdoor dining.

Growth Management Director Carroll stated that the applicant, Ryan Solstice of LPG Urban and Regional Planners, LLC, has submitted a Conceptual Plan for Town Commission consideration on behalf of Hein Nguyen. Mr. Solstice wanted to obtain comments and a consensus to proceed with filing rezoning applications for two properties located at the northeast intersection of Highway 466 and Clay Avenue on West Lemon Street.

The properties are currently zoned Mixed Low Density Residential (MX-5) with a future land use designation of Mixed Residential Low Density (MR-LD). The applicant would like to file rezoning applications with the Town of Lady Lake to amend the zoning designation to Planned Commercial (CP), as well as applications to amend the Future Land Use designation to Commercial General-Retail Sales and Services (RET). There are two properties, one being two parcels consisting of 0.68 acres, the other being three parcels consisting of 0.78 acres; However, the properties are not contiguous as they are separated by one residential lot. The developments would be accessed through driveway connections on West Lemon Street, with indirect access from Second Street to the east and Clay Avenue from the west.

The conceptual plan for the westernmost property abutting Clay Avenue proposes two buildings with four tenants, while the other to the east proposes two buildings with six tenants. The applicant asserts that the proposed use would complement the area well in that it would provide a transitional use from the commercial corridor of Highway 466 to the residential uses lying north of Highway 466. With the absence of food establishments nearby, the residents of the adjacent neighborhood, as well as visitors to the Town’s recreation facilities and library, could take advantage of getting a quick bite to eat within a short walk. The proposed number of ten tenants would provide a variety of fares from which patrons could choose. The concept is remarkably similar to that of a food truck operation; however, the ordering counters are not mobile.

The applicant has provided elevations for the proposed buildings which demonstrate the intent of being sensitive to the adjacent residential community through the incorporation of porches, bannisters, and hardy board siding. In addition, the placement of the outdoor dining areas along Highway 466 allows the buildings to provide both a visual and sound buffer for those residing in the abutting neighborhood.

After the Conceptual Meeting, Mr. Solstice wants to file a formal application to amend the future land use designations, as well as to rezone the properties, based on comments from the Town Commission.

Ryan Solstice said that the proposal is for both a small-scale comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning. The applications have been submitted but they will be amended as needed. The intent is to have small, 500 square foot restaurants providing take-out dining. Food ordering would take place on Highway 466 at each tenant space with dining tables placed behind the restaurants. Parking will be such that adjacent neighbors are not disturbed. The facades shown are Key West style.

Commissioner Kussard said she likes the style and concept, but she is concerned about the residential lot located between the two parcels. She addressed the audience asking if the owner was present; nobody asked to speak regarding that residential parcel.

Commissioner Gourlie asked about notifications being sent to adjacent neighbors regarding the proposed development. Growth Management Director Carroll responded that both small scale development and rezoning applications have been filed. It is required that two weeks prior to the Planning & Zoning Board meeting that the property be posted and that those within 150 feet of the property be notified of the proposed changes.

Commissioner Freeman commented that the area is low income, and he wonders what impact that might have on the businesses that establish themselves there. He hopes the people in the area will be attracted to the shops and give the area some life. They should attract people from the ballfields, the park, and the library. Retail businesses may make the area safer.

Mayor Rietz commented that he likes the concept and that it gives residents the opportunity to start a new business.

Commissioner Freeman made a motion to approve the Taste of Lady Lake development proposal; Commissioner Gourlie seconded. Motion carried 4-0.

Public Comments

There were no public comments.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:29 p.m..

Nancy Wilson, Town Clerk

Jim Rietz, Mayor