Citrus County cited the owner of Cavallo Farm & Market in Lecanto for failing to obtain permits to build the structure and not having a certificate of occupancy to open.
Instead of heavy fines, the facility is closed and set to be demolished. The future of the farm’s winery on the property is unknown.
The entire business has been closed for several weeks.
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“The county code enforcement office has been in discussions with Cavallo for some time regarding building permits,” said county spokeswoman Veronica Kampschroer.
Philip Bomhoff opened Cavallo Estate Winery in 2015, calling it a blend of Italian culture and old Florida tranquility.
In March 2020, it expanded operations at its 8123 County Road 491 location in Lecanto by opening Cavallo Farm & Market on 40 acres of its blueberry farm. The boutique and fresh market stocked baked goods, jams, jellies, and wine. I had 10 employees.
Cavallo could not be reached for comment. The county provided the Chronicle with this timeline of events:
April 20, 2022: County Code Enforcement received the case from the construction division.
April 25, 2022: Code Enforcement issues a notice of violation stating that work began at the Farmer’s Market prior to the issuance of a permit.
July 20, 2022 – The case was heard at a special master hearing and the owner was found guilty. The owner was given 180 days from July 21, 2022 to correct the violation or be fined $150 per day. Cavallo closed the next day.
November 14, 2022 – The County Code Enforcement Office received a call from a person stating that the building in violation will be removed.
“They told us that the blueberry farms were not producing and that is why they are closing,” according to Code Compliance Director JC Charlton.
January 18, 2023: A compliance inspection will be conducted at the property.