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Windermere Observer Thursday, Jul. 11, 2019 4 days ago

New gated community would abut Horizon West Village I

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The subdivision would include 422 age-restricted homes near the existing Orange Lake Resorts.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

A new age-restricted, gated community could be on the way just outside Horizon West.

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved the preliminary subdivision plan at its July 2 meeting for the Orange Lake Country Club — a proposed 422-home community set for 198.02 acres on the north side of Hartzog Road and west of State Road 429, just south of the Horizon West Village I border.

The property is tied to the existing Orange Lake Resorts to the south, with the land being used for proposed single-family homes instead of vacation villas and a golf course.

“What they’re doing is they’re taking some existing footprint of land that they had for Orange Lake that they already had control over, but instead of having timeshares, they’re taking age-restricted instead,” District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey said.

Although Orange County doesn’t track the demographics in the area to determine the need for age-restricted housing, the fact that Orange Lake is moving forward with this is a good indicator that it is something residents want, VanderLey said.

“We depend on the industry to do their homework on that — I would assume that they have done that homework,” she said. “They’re very thorough, the industry, because they have the most money at risk.”

VanderLey said nearby residents shouldn’t expect a major impact to traffic.

“There’s going to be a calculation of (whether) it’s going to be more trips or it’s going to be less trips,” VanderLey said. “They don’t look at trips throughout the day, they look at a.m. peak and p.m. peak, so when everybody is coming and going to work. Neither timeshares nor age-restricted tend to add greatly to the a.m. peak or the p.m. peak, because they’re not necessarily folks that are still working and commuting into a job.”

She also added Horizon West Village I also doesn’t have a lot being built right now, meaning there won’t be many residents impacted.

“The impacts that this would add to the overall total of impacts for Horizon West are fairly negligible simply because there’s not a lot of Horizon West that has reached that far south yet,” VanderLey said. “We’ve all watched in the last five years what’s happened in Horizon West in terms of how quickly that has grown. What we anticipated to be a 10- to 20-year buildout happened in more like five years, so there are undeniably traffic impacts as a result of that. That’s not to say they’re not funded impacts.”

Doreen Overstreet, Orange County assistant director of communications, said it’s now up to the applicant when they submit the construction plans for approval, and there is no timeline certain.

Jeff Sedloff, of June Engineering Consultants Inc., the applicant, did not respond to a request for comment.

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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