Mount Dora approves massive development project amid resident concerns

The City of Mount Dora has approved a major development project, sparking fears among some residents that the area's small-town feel will soon be lost.

The city council voted to change zoning rules, allowing building heights to exceed 100 feet, paving the way for the Wolf Branch Innovation District (WBID). This new proposal by AMCO Development promises housing, restaurants, stores, and more.

"Ultimately, we were happy that we came to an amicable resolution tonight," said Aaron Hakim, president of Amco Development.

The council approved the zoning change in a vote of five to two. 

"You have ruined our lives, and you have ruined our retirements with this AMCO project," one resident voiced during a public comment period.

"You’re gonna have an eyesore standing 175 feet in your backyard," another resident said. "It’s not in your backyard or your backyard. It’s in our backyard. Do you think all these other people are here for any other reason?"


The project targets 850 acres of land just off State Road 46. The developer promises to bring tens of thousands of jobs and substantial revenue to Mount Dora. Some planned buildings will surpass the current ordinance limit of 100 feet, reaching up to 175 feet.

Hakim acknowledged the community's concerns.

"I completely understand. I don’t want to have something huge towering in my backyard, either. One of the reasons we selected this site was because of its topography and its natural woodlands barrier."

Tuesday's vote came after two years of negotiations between the city and the developer.