OCOEE — Among many year-end items on its agenda, the Ocoee City Commission discussed the possibility of installing light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights in certain sections of State Road 50 in the city, at its final meeting of the year on Dec. 2.
The city staff submitted a plan with recommendations to approve installation of bright LED streetlights along SR 50 between Good Homes Road and West Oaks Mall, as part of completion of the widening project in that section of SR 50.
The Florida Department of Transportation offered $120,000 to cover the installation of LED lights in this section of road by Duke Energy.
“We spent two years negotiating with the DOT to get upgrades on our lights,” Community Redevelopment Agency Administrator Russ Wagner said. “These will be twice as good as the lights Winter Garden has. And it’ll look much better than Winter Garden’s. It’s a much more modern design. When you get in Ocoee, you’re going to know you’re in Ocoee. We’re going to be the first city in the state to have LED lights. We don’t want to be the last city to have obsolete lights. We want to be the first city to have LED lights.”
Commissioner Rusty Johnson was reluctant to approve the plan, because he believed the streetlights and medians should match those of Winter Garden, for overall area feel based on proximity.
“I don’t want to put in anything different than what they got,” Johnson said. “I want them to match. That’s the whole purpose. Why would we not have the same thing?”
Because of Johnson’s desire to learn more about the plan, the commission voted 4-0 to have the staff present the plan again in January, after explaining the plan to the commissioners in greater detail.
Resident Donna Broadway raised concerns for the intersection of Magnolia Street and North Lakewood Avenue, near Ocoee Middle School. She requested no-parking signs in certain areas, based on the dangers posed to children crossing at the intersection after school.
“I had to go direct traffic so cars could get through, because there’s one person that always parks in the intersection,” Broadway said. “Usually facing against the traffic, she gets out of her car and walks up to the school to get her child. Emergency vehicles, if they were to come by, would not be able to get down Magnolia Street.”
STATE ROAD 429
The city staff also offered a presentation on $100,000 in appropriations from the state in the form of a community grant from the Department of Economic Opportunity. The plan is to use the money to study the economic development potential of State Road 429 in Ocoee, in conjunction with a contractor Winter Garden has hired to study its side of SR 429, as well. The contractor qualified through the Tri-City partnership, which also includes Apopka. The Ocoee section stretches from the Florida Turnpike at the south end to Clarcona-Ocoee Road at the north end.
“Ocoee is growing faster than any other city in the state,” said Craig Shadrix, assistant city manager. “We have an opportunity to promote economic development with an employment center.”
The commission unanimously approved the plan.
“I think we have a lot to gain by teaming up with Winter Garden and with Apopka, because we all have similar interests, especially with Winter Garden,” Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen said. “They also have similar interests in that corridor, and I don’t want to lose any money the state gives us.”
The commission unanimously approved a five-year renewal of its contract with Progressive Waste Solutions of Florida Inc. for exclusive commercial and multi-family solid waste, based on staff recommendations to avoid business disruptions of a switch to a different company.
“We provide excellent service and enjoy being a community player,” said Fred Hopkins Jr., a representative presenting on behalf of Progressive Waste Solutions of Florida Inc.
The commission heard a presentation from Tal Johnson, a representative of Advanced Disposal Services Solid Waste Southeast Inc., as well, which had done work with the city before.
“We offer the lowest price and best service,” Tal Johnson said. “We’ve done work with (Ocoee) before, helping to transition another company out.”
The commission unanimously passed all parts of McCormick Reserve, including annexation, rezoning to planned urban development, a land use plan and an annexation and development agreement. The plan includes 133 units on an undeveloped site of 45.09 acres of pine trees in uplands and wetlands. The property is on the south side of McCormick Road, east of Ingram Road and west of North Clarke Road.
Commissioner John Grogan was absent from the meeting. Mayor S. Scott Vandergrift excused himself from the meeting after the vote on the annexation of land pertinent to McCormick Reserve, saying he was feeling ill.
The commission approved a five-year renewal of its agreement for fire department services to Windermere from the Ocoee Fire Department, with completion set for Sept. 30, 2019.
Senior Care Living V LLC reached an agreement with the city on a resolution to build a senior living facility at 1060 Tomyn Blvd. The commission approved the resolution, which includes about 121 assisted-living units and 151 beds in a three-story building of roughly 105,000 square feet.
Red Apple Development Inc. agreed to purchase nine acres of a plot, which is bounded by North Clarke Road to the west, A D Mims Road to the south and Prairie Lake Reserve Subdivision to the north and east. The price was $1.8 million, with the same $200,000-per-acre rate available for Red Apple Development Inc. on three additional acres of the property for three years. The offer is contingent on all necessary approvals for construction of a K-8 charter school on the site.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected]wotimes.com.