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The Orange County Board of Commissioners approved the final site plan for a much-discussed development opposite Windermere Secondary School at its meeting on Tuesday 30 August.

Orange County government’s Joseph Kunkel reviewed Selnik’s planned development proposal with the commission, saying the applicant, Erika Hughes, VHB Inc., had requested to rezone 33.7 gross acres to build 17 single-family homes and 93 townhouses at 5504 Winter Garden-Vineland Road. .

The property is located on the west side of Winter Garden-Vineland Road, approximately 1,300 feet north of the intersection of Ficquette Road and Winter Garden-Vineland Road.

The property is designated Townhouse District on the Horizon West Land Use Map in the Village of Bridgewater. The site is currently zoned Residential Country Estate and has applied for PD rezoning, in accordance with Horizon West regulations.

PUBLIC AUDIENCE

Hughes thanked District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson for requesting and arranging several community meetings with the applicant and its neighbors and staff for their hard work, and said the development was “a long time coming”.

The last official community meeting we told you about here, held in late February, left some residents with unanswered questions and even more apprehension, the biggest concern being traffic.

At the last community meeting, Wilson said the project changed based on residents’ concerns. The claimant originally wanted to develop a high-rise apartment complex, which residents expressed disdain for as it forms part of the rural settlement of Windermere.

Keith Stephenson, who served as lead negotiator for a group of diverse residents representing Summerport, Eden Isle and Southern Acres, said after a year of negotiations the community believes Selnik will “build a high quality development that exceeds our definition of success. .”

“They made that promise, and the final site plan approved by the Orange County Board of Commissioners last week provides the foundation to deliver on that promise,” he said.

Stephenson said he believes the plot in Selnik, with lake views, free-roaming cows and a century-old oak tree, is the last such developable plot of land in the area.

“Most importantly, it’s loved by our community because of its bucolic scenery,” the longtime Summerport resident said. “In a perfect world, we would prefer the land to remain intact – for the county to acquire it and preserve it in perpetuity. But the reality is that this is private property that has always been zoned for residential purposes. In addition, the landowner and the developer have the right to make a profit. That’s how the system works. Regardless of the development company and their proposed project, our definition of success remains the same. We will only support development that is consistent with the Horizon West Master Plan and that enhances the look, feel and character of adjacent communities. To achieve this, the developer must be willing to partner with the community. »

Another resident, Cynthia Dailey, said she wanted the entrance to the development not linked to the main Windermere High exit and entrance.

“While the road connection of this new residential area to Summerport’s existing roads aligns with the connected concept of the new approach to Horizon West and Orange County, positioning the entrance there will encourage more cars to take this street from high school to travel. via Summerport to and from the Tiny Road area,” she said. “Hopefully there isn’t too much to disturb the residents along this path. Moving the entrance would have scattered cars needing to drive across Horizon West on SR 535 to choose one of four paths instead of providing a direct shot through that light.

However, Dailey said she was encouraged that the developers were saving the Living Oak and, after receiving strong opposition from local residents, the developer continued to revise plans to minimize impacts.

“I agree with the applicant and the resident that it’s been a long journey, and thank you for listening to the residents,” Wilson said. “You know, looking through the amenity conditions, it’s not every day that you see an amenity condition that includes ‘preservation of the large oak tree in the center of the property with a report of arborist. … It’s literally written in there, so the things that were really concerning, we still have concerns about traffic in the area and clearly we’re going to have to keep working together.

Wilson referenced an accident in August where a student was hit by a vehicle on his way home from school.

Hannah Gutner, Wilson’s political aide, said the commissioner was concerned about speeding in the area and the preliminary subdivision plan, originally submitted Aug. 11 and resubmitted Aug. 26, did not show much traffic calming.

Gutner said the commissioner’s office is working with staff to raise the issue at a community meeting, likely in October or November.


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