Residents say officials allowing Crystal River to be destroyed, 350-acre site to be sold to Hamid Ashtari


crystal river, turkey oak, citrus county news

Crystal River — County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to sell a 350-acre site north of Turkey Oak Drive to Hamid Ashtari, a developer who is well known to Tampa residents for overdeveloping and contributing to overcrowding.

Ashtari is a part of Sweetwater Group LLC.

The 350-acre site used to be the Betz Farm. It has been vacant for at least 20 years.

The county, which took possession of the farm in 2017, agreed to sell the property for $6.6 million.

The approximately 350-acre tract has adjacent water, sewer, gas, power, and broadband lines, and abuts the north side of Turkey Oak Drive, which provides a bypass loop from SR 44 to US 19 around downtown Crystal River.​

It has immediate access to Turkey Oak Drive, which is known for flooding.

Ashtari has not made his plans for development public just yet, however, this property is approved as a DRI / PUD, and amended several times, now allowing 1,014 cluster homes and 528 condominium units, for a total of 1,542 residential units.​

Expert real estate analysts say that developments of this proportion are known to invite more traffic, overcrowding, and an increase in crime.

Commissioners said they are glad they will be able to once again collect taxes on the property.

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