Commissioner explains vote in contentious Citrus County land-use case
Holly Davis faces angry constituents.

HOLLY DAVIS ART
'I have been told by many in Meadowcrest, "You don’t listen!"'

A Citrus County Commissioner is taking the unusual step of sending email letters to angry residents of a community to explain her vote on a heated land-use decision that didn’t go their way.

Commissioner Holly Davis, in an email headed, “An open letter to those whom I have disappointed you with my vote re: Meadowcrest,” describes why she was one of three votes to support an affordable-housing apartment complex within their community.

“I have been told by many in Meadowcrest, ‘You don’t listen!’” she wrote in an email sent to at least 40 people. “On the contrary, I did listen, very carefully; I just happen to disagree with the conclusions reached by the activists within the Meadowcrest community.”

Citrus County Commissioners voted 3-2 on July 26 to designate property on the Meadowcrest master plan from commercial to residential for a three-story, 179-unit apartment complex fronting the community along State Road 44.

Meadowcrest, a mixed-use development just east of Crystal River, was created by a Development of Regional Impact, or DRI, in the late 1980s. Any changes to the master plan need County Commission approval.

Green Mills LLC of Fort Lauderdale and the Meadowcrest developer, Gulf to Lakes Associates LLLP, said the apartment complex is a good fit.

County planning staffers supported the request. The Citrus County Planning and Development Commission, which reviewed the application, unanimously recommended against it.

In the weeks leading to the July 26 vote, Meadowcrest residents inundated county commissioners with emails asking them to deny the complex.

More than 100 people, sporting green “Save Our Village” T-shirts, crammed both the commission chambers and an overflow room during the three-hour public hearing.

Davis voted with Commissioners Scott Carnahan and Jeff Kinnard to support the apartments. Commissioners Ruthie Davis Schlabach and Chairman Ron Kitchen Jr. voted “no.”

More derisive emails to the three Commissioners followed the vote. In her blanket response, Davis reiterated she believes the project is compatible with the community and will provide much-needed workforce housing.

“The fact that it would be attainable/workforce housing is a bonus,” she wrote. “So let’s talk about the concerns that I heard from Meadowcrest residents that the complex will attract criminals and drug addicts: Nothing could be further from the truth. Residents are retirees or hard-working people who do not earn enough to compete with those of higher incomes in a market with too little housing inventory.

“It’s the opportunity for the single mom or dad working two jobs to pay a steep rent to now work only one job, spend more time with the kids, and help that next generation to thrive. It’s the minimum-wage certified nursing assistant who will be able to get to her job at your neighbor’s home and allow your neighbor to age in place. Or it might be you in 15 years when you need to downsize, and yet still wish to be near your Meadowcrest friends.”

She promised to keep close watch of the project.

“There are honorable developers and those who aren’t. I believe this one has proven to be a good neighbor who would live up to these stringent expectations,” she wrote.

Based on responses, Davis’ explanation swayed few minds.

“If you intended this letter to get people to like you and vote for you, you are an idiot,” one man wrote.

Another woman wrote:

“Thank you for taking the time to reply. It speaks volumes. With that being said — my husband and I will no longer support your place in our county leadership. We are not single-issue voters nor are we, as you said, ‘activists’ within the Meadowcrest community.”

And another: “You can twist it whatever way you want, however, you knew how the community as a whole felt about this project prior to your vote — so, duly noted.”

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


8 comments

  • James in Inverness

    August 2, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Interesting the Ft Lauderdale developer is so interested in helping out Citrus County since Broward has some of the most expensive housing in the country.

    This is just a ploy to move more Democrats into Republican controlled areas under the guise of Affirmatively Further Fair Housing. People living on assistance aren’t tied down to a geographic location. Won’t be long and there will be a waiting list of people from places like St. Petersburg and Tampa that know they will get the same benefits from the government in a cheaper place with less crime, but they always bring some crime with them. This will have little benefit to working Citrus County residents and will incrementally reduce the quality of life for all existing residents.

    The three council members who voted for it were played, maybe even paid.

    • Worldcat

      August 2, 2022 at 10:49 pm

      You forgot to blame ANTIFA and BLM. Aren’t they always included in the latest Right Wing conspiracy theory?

  • James in Inverness

    August 3, 2022 at 8:03 am

    Antifa and Burn Loot Murder are just bit players in the grand scheme. Useful idiots, but undoubtedly some of their supporters will end up as tenants in the Meadowcrest Projects.

  • Pancho Villar

    August 3, 2022 at 8:50 am

    Rather than indulging in conspiracy theories that are not based in actual evidence, I find something else more probable. This area needs workforce housing AND the proposed development actually complies with this locality’s land development code and comprehensive plan.

    • James in Inverness

      August 3, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      First, AFFH is not a conspiracy theory look it up. The intention is to get poor people into the suburbs, blue voters to flip red areas. It started under Obama. Secondly, when you buy a house, you are buying into the community. The residents of Meadowcrest paid to live in that community they did not pay to live in the projects and the new residents aren’t buying into anything. I bet none of the commissioners who voted for this live Meadowcrest.

      Citrus county is a retirement community. If they were to make it senior 55 plus like the projects they’re building in Inverness I would be less opposed to it. I bought my house 30 years ago and maxed out my budget because I realized that you have to pay to be in a good neighborhood and it’s not fair for the government to change the rules.

  • Josh

    August 3, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    This is just typical wealthy, white people who don’t want to ever see a non-wealthy, non-white person in their neighborhood. Funny thing is most of them pretend to be Christians who supposedly care about poor people. Friendly reminder: God knows your hearts.

  • Jim in Inverness

    August 3, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    Meadowcrest is not Black Diamond. We are not talking about wealthy white people. Citrus is mostly white though. Nobody who owns property wants subsidized housing next to the property they are invested in. It destroys their investment and lowers their quality of life. As to your accusations of racism, Citrus is 90+ % white. You make my case. These apartments will ultimately fill up with people not from Citrus but from big cities where rent is high. They will not be working class for the most part and when it gets bad enough no working people will live there.

    It must be amazing to see the world through those rose colored glasses imagining that people are the way you want to believe, not the way they are. Life is hard, get a helmet. It’s not my job to make you comfortable, house you or feed you. If you can’t afford the neighborhood than live somewhere else. I’ve lived in a couple trailer parks and worked my butt off to buy into the American dream.

    • Josh

      August 4, 2022 at 3:30 pm

      Nobody’s asking you for a dime, d-bag. In order to have people work at the restaurants and stores YOU want in YOUR neighborhood, then they need an affordable place to live. I guess you’d rather keep acting like a Karen because your Dunkin Donuts coffee takes too long to fill your order because they’re understaffed. Do you even have a freaking clue how much rent is right now in Citrus County?? Go look and see what kind of dump you can live in for $1200/mo. These are your fellow human beings you’re talking about as though they are a disease that might infect your neighborhood. Don’t forget to polish your tin-foil ‘helmet’. Maybe that will keep you safe.

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories