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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019 1 month ago

Lakes of Windermere residents ponder annexation possibility

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Lakes of Windermere HOA leaders are contemplating the ramifications of a voluntary annexation of the Monk Property.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

Lakes of Windermere residents are at a crossroads: Should a new 81-home neighborhood be annexed into their community?

Residents and homeowners association board members discussed how to move forward at an emergency meeting Tuesday, Oct. 29.

The new neighborhood will be located on a 49.57-acre piece of land known as the Monk Property at 13000 and 13003 Orange Isle Drive. That land sits within the existing Lakes of Windermere neighborhood — north of Overstreet Road, west of Duncaster Street and south of Little Lake Sawyer Drive within the Lakeside Village special planning area.

The residential lots would be about 50 feet wide, and the homes would have a maximum height of 45 feet and a minimum living area of 1,200 square feet.

Lakes of Windermere Homeowners Association Vice President Jon Johnston said the developer’s attorney approached the board about the new neighborhood becoming part of the Lakes of Windermere community.

Johnston said a potential benefit of annexation includes potential input on the community’s architecture and design. 

Teresa O’Brien, president of the Lakes of Windermere Homeowners Association, said there are financial risks if the annexation happens — such as the concern of how well the new homes would sell — but added that those risks can be mitigated and that there are certainly benefits.

It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons, Johnston said.

“We have to look at the big picture — the big-picture impact to us,” he said.

The 81-home project approved by Orange County earlier this year is its latest iteration; a previous version included 113 single-family homes. The proposal drew criticism and concerns regarding traffic and congestion from Lakes of Windermere residents, because the only point of access to the property is through the existing neighborhood streets.

That request for 113 homes received a recommendation of denial by the Orange County Planning and Zoning Commission on Sept. 20, 2018. The reduced project of 81 homes was submitted as a compromise, Erika Hughes of project applicant VHB Inc. said at the Jan. 17 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. 

O’Brien said few details about the new development have been released to Lakes of Windermere residents. 

“We have not received perfect clarity from the developer of exactly what their amenities are or will be — we have very sketched ideas from the developer,” O’Brien said. “I have not seen any concrete plans.”

The HOA board doesn’t have a strong opinion either way yet about the annexation, O’Brien said.

“Our attorney did not advise us one way or another on what to do,” she said. “It comes down to what we think we might want.”

Johnston said the HOA has requested more information about the development and the new homes. Once that information is received by the community, the board will consider taking a vote, which will decide whether the residents will have an opportunity to vote on the annexation.

Tim Freed is the Managing Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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