Vanessa Baugh and her husband, Don, remember a time when Lakewood Ranch Main Street wasn't the busy shopping and restaurant-filled strip it is today.
The Baughs were the first to open a store on Main Street — in 2005.
So, when the District 5 Commissioner heard Lakewood Ranch residents voice concerns June 5, at a Lakewood Ranch Town Hall meeting, over the compatibility of new apartment complexes with the higher-priced homes throughout the area, she sympathized with their opinions.
She didn't agree, though.
Of the wave of apartment communities coming to the area, one will sit across the street from the strip that generates income for the Baughs — The Venue at Lakewood Ranch. But, as a business owner and resident of Lakewood Ranch, Baugh believes employees should be able to live near their workplace, she said.
"Not everyone can afford to live and buy homes in Lakewood Ranch," Baugh said.
The apartments will home teachers and other workers who serve the area, she said; the new homes help symbolize the mantra that signs near Main Street boast about an all-inclusive community.
"We want a place where we can live, work and play," Baugh said.
Look for the extended story in the June 12 issue of the East County Observer.
Contact Amanda Sebastiano at [email protected].