TAVARES — Horses take center stage during the planning and zoning part of the Lake County Commission meeting on Tuesday.
Three of the four requests before the commission involve equestrian businesses in the county. While the horse business to the north in Marion County gets more recognition, Lake has its fair share of equestrian centers.
The Grand Oaks Resort and Museum comes before the commission to ask for a change in zoning so it can build more cabins and include more RV camping spots on a 6.7-acre parcel of the property located at 3000 Marion County Road. The county staff recommends approval of the change.
The facility hosts several horse competitions throughout the year and is a popular vacation and wedding destination.
Magnolia Oaks Ranch on 9.3 acres in Altoona offers horse boarding and trail riding. It comes before the commission to ask for a permit to expand its services to horse breeding, training and education. They also want to offer four primitive camping sites for guests. The county staff recommends approval of the request.
The final request comes on behalf of L-Cross Ranch in Lady Lake. For 12 years, the 47.6-acre facility was home to many Western events. Then code enforcement came knocking. Turns out they needed a conditional use permit to put on events.
Mr. Red “Don’t call him Francis” Bass, owner and operator of LCROSS Equestrian Center doesn’t plan on expanding, he just wants to continue with his cutting, barrel racing and other Western events.
“I don’t want to get any bigger. I’m 68 years old. That’s plenty big for my age,” he said.
The county staff recommends approval of the permit.
Jimmy Crawford, the attorney representing Bass, hopes the three equine-related items means good news for the industry in Lake County.
“Maybe that says something good about Lake County’s push for eco-agro-tourism?” he wrote in an email on Friday.
The commission meeting is set for 9 a.m. on Tuesday at the Lake County board chambers at 315 West Main St. in Tavares.