A vacant lot in Inverness on US 41 that once housed a five-store strip mall and later owned and demolished by the Florida Department of Transportation won’t stand barren much longer.
The nearly one acre lot at 703 Southerly Avenue is now zoned Low Density/Residential and has a land use designation of Low Density.
Local developer Robert Sharpe this week asked Inverness City Council to change its land use and zoning to commercial. His plans are to build a temperature-controlled storage facility.
“This self-storage has a lot of opportunity,” Sharpe told city council at its regular meeting this week.
The property to the north and south is already zoned commercially as well as the property to the east across US 41.
“I don’t know how it got away and didn’t get done,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe also owns commercial property adjacent to the subject property.
The city council agreed and voted unanimously for the change.
City Manager Eric Williams said Sharpe is working with the city, state water agencies and the FDOT to move the project forward.
Williams said decades ago ownership of the area was changed to allow for commercial development, but Sharpe’s ownership had been neglected.
Changing zoning and land use “will bring consistency,” Williams said.
Councilor Linda Bega backed the change, saying, “I’m surprised it’s not (commercial) already.”
The area to the west is residential but no neighbors came to the meeting to oppose it. Williams also told the council that none of the neighbors had contacted the city in opposition.
“If we had no opposition … I have nothing against it,” Councilman Gene Davis said.
Council Chairman Cabot McBride said based on the information so far, changing land use and zoning makes good sense.
“He passes the eyeball test,” he said, adding that when he walked past he already looked commercial.