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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Jul. 14, 2017 3 years ago

Maitland City Council approves Bainbridge project

After more than two hours of discussion, the Maitland City Council approved the project at 2266 and 2270 Shadow Lane.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

It was another busy night in the Maitland City Council Chambers Monday, July 10.

Although the meeting lasted about three hours, two of those involved the public hearing regarding the proposed Bainbridge apartment complex.

Despite the public outcry, the City Council adopted Bainbridge’s Planned Development zoning district and Development Plan located at 2266 and 2270 Shadow Lane.

Community Development Director Dan Matthys and Becky Wilson, representing Bainbridge, gave follow-up information to address issues discussed earlier.

Although the apartment buildings will remain three to four stories tall, and the number of units will stand firm at 300, Bainbridge made eight separate concessions, including a taller wall (from six to eight feet tall); enhanced perimeter landscape; removal of two residential buildings closest to neighboring homes; and removal of some parking spaces to preserve trees.

Despite the concessions, residents from nearby Maitland Village lined up to share their concerns once again. As had occurred in the previous meeting on June 26, residents discussed a range of concerns, with the largest complaints including traffic congestion, wildlife, overcrowding and the planning process itself.

“During our last meeting, all we heard was about concessions which were made to the Winfield Reserve neighborhood, yet we have not heard one word about any concessions made toward Maitland Village,” Chris Matela said. “I want to stress here that we were passed by and not included in any of the latest talks about Bainbridge development except for one, and after all, we are the only one bearing the whole burden of an impact — first of the construction and the damage it is going to cause, and then the increased traffic and problems it will bring to our neighborhood.”

Some residents said they were not against Bainbridge’s desire to build an apartment complex — the group owns the property being developed. But, the growth needs to be done responsibly. For John Hopkins, there is a sense that he and others living in Maitland Village have to concede more than what should be asked of them.

“It’s always a matter of sacrifice … that’s how it is,” Hopkins said. “But, I just want to give you the image of a dead-end street, with a gate on the end making it a dead-end street, because the people on the other side don’t want the traffic. I want to then continue to build this image, of a big development that is going to go right on the other side of that fence, and 300 units — that’s 600 cars more on this dead end street — that we have to take. That’s a sacrifice.”

Councilwoman Bev Reponen sided with the Maitland Village residents before ultimately voting against the complex. However, Councilman John Lowndes noted the project’s scope and scale were compatible with the land’s intended use.

“We can’t deny someone the use of their land, because we don’t like it,” John Lowndes said. “We have a restriction on what we can do, and that is we can deny the development by competent and substantial evidence … and we don’t have that evidence.”

It was made clear to the audience that the council was following the laws in place, and denying the development could spark a lawsuit.

“A prior community development director had done this deal years ago, so we have established a good faith — good will, if you will,” said Mayor Dale McDonald after the meeting. “God forbid if we made it too bad and said, ‘No chance,’ they could have just tried to sue us, because we already agreed on it. So it’s kind of a no-win spot.”

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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