VENICE (WWSB) - For the last three years, developers have been trying to get approval for a new housing development in Venice. They want to build 105 homes on 40 acres of land near auburn road and Fox Lea Drive in Venice. The final decision was made today at an extended City Council meeting. After several hours of discussion, they ultimately voted to not allow Murphy Oaks Development to be built.
The battle between developers and all those opposed of Murphy Oaks came to end this morning. Windham Home Developments was asking city council to re-zone the property. Right now, the land is zoned for only eight homes. The developer had hoped to build an entire gated community, right next to one of the premier horse show locations in the country, Fox Lea Farms – which produces lots of noise, activity and manure.
“Believe me, they’re going to complain. They’re going to complain. I’ve lived in Venice long enough to know it’s going to happen,” John Holic, the Mayor of Venice, said during the meeting.
However, the developers were hoping Fox Lea Farms would be responsible for fixing those inevitable complaints.
"Normally, a residential community next to a commercial community, typically the commercial development would have to do things to protect the residents. Obviously, Fox Lea is there first, said one of the lawyers for the development group.
The developer tried to compromise, and scaled back its original proposal from 118 homes to 105 homes - in addition to other changes requested by neighbors.
Despite those changes, the City Council said the development was still not a good fit, and that rezoning would just cause problems for the area.
“Sure, it’s going to be developed. We all understand that, but let it be done in a responsible manner, in a way that’s compatible with the neighborhood. Let it be done in a way that doesn’t threaten, I mean really threaten, Fox Lea’s business,” Dick Longo, who was representing the nearby neighborhoods, said.
It’s been a three-year long debate, with hundreds of Venice residents getting involved in the fight, but they tell us, today’s decision made the long haul all worth it.
“They all do care about the residents here, and the city and our quality of life,” said Longo.
We reached out to the developers to see what they’re plans were now, if there are any, but they did not get back to us with a comment.