The third time was the charm for an RV resort owner’s application to build an exclusive community on acreage off Lake Spivey outside of Inverness, Fla.

The Citrus County Commission voted 4-0 Tuesday (July 12) to forward the application to the state for its consideration, an application which had been turned down by previous iterations of the commission on at least two other occasions, the last time in 2006, The Citrus Daily reported.

In the present application form, New Horizons Funding Inc., owned by John Eden, seeks to develop 206 acres that would be home to 439 RV pads, a nine-hole golf course with greens and tees made of artificial grass, a 15,000-square-foot clubhouse with a general store and pro shop inside, swimming pool, tennis courts and shuffleboard area. The facility would offer a canoe launch area on the Lake Spivey shoreline and offer three miles of paved trails with wildlife stations.

The plan calls for the facility to be built in three phases:

  • Main loop, 137 pads for RVs, clubhouse, golf course, pool and other entertainment areas.
  • Installation of 138 RV pads and storage units.
  • Installation of 164 RV pads.

During public comment, the “pro” and “con” sides showed a clear division between Inverness-area business people and those who lived in the area where the resort is to be built.

Speaking on behalf of business was businessman Rocky Hensley of Inverness, Josh Wooten of the chamber of commerce and Doug Lobel of the Inverness Olde Town Assocation, who said the development would be good for business, tourism and bring jobs to the county.

During the meeting, neither Eden nor his attorney specified how many jobs would be brought in as a result of the RV resort’s presence.

The preponderance of those who spoke at the commission meeting were Inverness-area residents, including Al Grubman of TOO FAR, a water-quality watchdog organization, and about 20 residents who either lived in the area or who lived in an area similar to the RV resort’s eventual locale. Many of those opposed had also opposed the application at previous commission meetings and, as Grubman noted, “We are still against it.”

The only commissioner who voted against it at previous commissioner meetings was commissioner Dennis Damato. However, at the end of today’s public comment, Damato said the application before him now was substantially different than previously disapproved by the commission. Commissioner Winn Webb said arguments made by residents didn’t make sense to him, Commissioner Joe Meek said it was logical and Commissioner Rebecca Bays said she was also in favor of the application.

Touesday’s vote was not the final say, however.

Eden’s application will be transmitted to the State Land Planning Agency and required agencies for review and comment, and then go back to the Planning Review and Development Board and finally to the county commission for a final nod before changes are made to the Land Development Code Atlas with a Planned Development Overlay to change the acreage’s designation from Low-Intensity Coastal and Lakes to a designation which will allow a higher intensity.