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Dispute in Murphy Oaks Heads to Mediation

Thursday, March, 28, 2019

Parties are hoping an upcoming mediation session between the City of Venice and the Murphy Oaks developer will resolve the ongoing dispute related to the denial of a proposed subdivision.


Murphy Oaks would be a 105 unit collection of homes should the project receive approval to proceed. To date, the Venice city officials have denied the project proposal submitted by Michigan-based Windham Development. The denial came under the Bert Harris Act, a state law that was created to protect private property rights.


The developer called the denial “unreasonable and unfair.”


According to the plans for the development, it would be located  just under the 40 acres of land located on the southeast corner of Auburn and Border Roads. There are currently two existing subdivisions nearby – Sawgrass and Waterford.


According to the attorney for the city, Kelly Fernandez, the city’s primary reason for the denial was “its lack of compatibility” with Fox Lea Farm, located south of the parcel of land in question. The farm is a horse show facility that has been operating in the area since the 1980s. It also provides a number of economic benefits to the county.


Though changes to the original development plan were made, city officials still do not believe it is compatible with the farm. One of the primary concerns is the inability to control what Murphy Oaks residents could do and enforce. There is also an issue with the density of homes in the development. Windham wants up to three homes per acre of land, while the city zoning requirements limit developments to as little as one home per acre.


The mediation is scheduled to take place in the community room at Venice City Hall and it is not expected that a resolution will come until later.