Land once owned by family of Osama bin Laden may become apartments, town homes

Concerns are growing over what's happening near an Orange County, Florida, home once owned by the family of Osama bin Laden.

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The homeowner said he's sold the land around the home to build apartments on and residents in the area are now saying they aren't happy.

Next week, Oakland town leaders will have a public hearing about the proposed project.

Residents who live in the area will be able to weigh in on the future of the former bin Laden property.

"Yeah, people are not happy about it,” resident Jay Parakh said. “It’s going to bring traffic; the privacy will be gone and it depends on what kind of tenants you will be putting in there."

Other neighbors in the Oakland neighborhood are not happy about the plans for the property located off State Road 50.

Developers are planning to build 242 apartment and townhouse units on 11.3 acres.

Gary English, the current property owner, said the three existing homes and the shoreline of the Johns Lake will not be affected by the proposed plans.

"To me the best option was to do the apartments,” English said. “The developer wanted to keep the homes, everyone else wanted to tear the homes down. Other people wanted to put everything from a Wawa to a Starbucks to a car dealership."

Neighbors have been fighting this proposal for months. Many are convinced that if the apartments go up, their property values will go down.

The 1920s mansion, which sits on a 17-acre lot, belonged to Khalil bin Laden for more than 20 years.

Khalil and his family fled following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and they never returned.

The home was owned by numerous people since then, but it eventually fell on hard times.

English and his wife bought the property in 2014.

"It has always been her desire, to get it and bring it back to what it was, because it had really been downgraded," English said.

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