ENGLEWOOD, Fla. -- Residents in a rural Englewood community are upset about a proposed housing development coming to their front door. They claim it would impact their lives and those of potential buyers. One has even put up an attention-grabbing sign talking about the noise, smell, and other activities animals will be doing.
Residents there say the project, which would bring 80 homes near Morningstar Drive and Pine Street, just doesn't fit with the neighborhood.
Englewood resident Sue Young raises sheep, chickens, horses, even peacocks to name a few. There are around 20 mini farms in the neighborhood, starting with five acre lots on up. "We are hobby farms. People come to see our animals. We raise our own animals."
She also runs a dog kennel and grooming business there. She’s one of several residents that are concerned with a new plan on the 40 acres across from her dirt road – a development being called Tromble Bay.
Currently the land is zoned for around eight homes. Those who own it are looking for much more. "They want to put 80 homes on what used to be an equestrian farm. We just don't want to be changed in the zoning. We are farms, and Englewood should have farms."
The Youngs have even posted a sign to let everyone know exactly what farms entail. The sign is a reminder that “animals make funny sounds, smell bad & have sex outdoors.”
“People like it. Nobody is offended," says Young.
She says it's meant to catch some eyeballs and meant as a warning. They’re concerned that once those in a gated community move in, they'll work to get rid of the annoyances around them. "It's like moving next to an airport and complaining about the traffic patterns. If you move next to a farm, we have animals that make noises and they smell. A lot of people enjoy them but they are not meant for everybody."
At a recent neighborhood meeting held by representatives with the development, neighbors in other nearby communities also spoke out over concerns about drainage and the overall impact. "All this undeveloped land in East Englewood, Rotonda, Gulf Cove, and they are already zoned for that."
Neighbors say the current five-acre mini estates are a part of the area's initial plan called Englewood Gardens. However, the proposed development is within Sarasota County's future land use for the property: two residential units per acre.
Susan says they were able to stave off a smaller plan to develop the same property years ago, and are hoping for the same. "The commissioners listened to the neighbors and we are hoping they will again."
Sarasota County commissioners will have the ultimate say on whether the property can be rezoned. No date has been set.