In her legal fight with The Villages, Lady Lake says the apartments were never ‘dreamed of’ decades ago, when Spanish Springs Town Square became a central part of the city.
The Villages of Lake-Sumter Inc. and The Villages Operating Company filed a lawsuit against the town in Lake County’s Fifth Circuit following a February 17 meeting in which the commissioners voted 3-2 to reject the plan up to 45 apartments located on the second floor of buildings in Spanish Springs. The Villages have indicated they would like to start with seven apartments in Katie Belle’s former home, the villagers’ club famous for eating, drinking and dancing.
The Villages argue the city misapplied the law when commissioners refused the apartment plan.
“The city’s decision was rooted in whether it should add multi-family housing to a historically commercial area,” city lawyers wrote in response to The Villages’ allegation.
The Villages requested a writ of certiorari regarding the commission’s denial of The Villages’ desire to put apartments on the second floor of its commercial property in Spanish Springs. A writ of certiorari under Florida law is the method by which a party can appeal a city’s administrative decision to a court for judicial review.
In response to the writ, the city gave the following reasons why the writ should be refused:
• The city’s decision was a legislative action that was not subject to judicial review as the city took no action to approve the requested change to its comprehensive land use plan by adopting the requested ordinance 2020 -09, a legislative function.
• The villages requested the writ of review of the city’s decision not to consider Order 2020-09 to be denied as the decision was a legislative action not subject to court review.
• Jo Thacker, lawyer for The Villages, said: “I think it’s moot… I think the review of this order is moot. The city says Thacker’s admission is “fatal” to The Villages’ attempt to have Order 2020-09 reviewed by the court because it was not passed and The Villages attorney acknowledged that the question was moot. Thacker was recruited by The Villages last year to meet controversial requests for apartments in Spanish Springs and the former Hacienda Hills Country Club site.