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West Orange Times & Observer Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2022 6 days ago

Ocoee denies request for assisted-living home

The commission also heard the first reading of an ordinance that would allow residents to operate tourist homes.
by: Andrea Mujica Staff Writer

The Ocoee City Commission denied a variance request for a minor community residential home during its June 7 meeting. 

Applicant Amanda Arjune petitioned the commission to consider approving the variance. She purchased the home at 902 Hire Circle, remodeled it and is seeking to open an assisted-living facility. 

“We are providing a great asset to the community,” Arjune said. “If I can open this, I’m not causing a problem to the residents. I will be helping them.” 

However, Country Comfort Care II Inc. already is an operating community residential home located fewer than 1,000 feet from Arjune’s property. 

State statutes include a specific section dedicated to community residential homes: “Homes of six or fewer residents which otherwise meet the definition of a community residential home shall be allowed in single-family or multifamily zoning without approval by the local government, provided that such homes are not located within a radius of 1,000 feet of another existing such home with six or fewer residents or within a radius of 1,200 feet of another existing community residential home.” 

Several residents from the community addressed the commission, requesting that the petition for approval of the variance be denied. 

“I live next door to the house in question,” one resident said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to have another business within our neighborhood.” 

“We as a community should have a say in the matter,” resident Audrey Ais said. “This is a business, and I don’t want a business in the community.” 

Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen, who represents District 2 — where the community being discussed is located — supported the Florida statutes. 

“There’s a rule: a thousand feet — (it’s) as simple as that,” she said. “These residents already have one assisted-living in their neighborhood. It is one neighborhood, split by a street, but it is one HOA. They already have one facility. A thousand feet is a thousand feet, assisted-living has to adhere to state law. Why should we as a city say, ‘You don’t have to?’ There are other neighborhoods. I have other group homes in my district that are a thousand feet from (one another). I think we as a commission have to adhere to what is set before us, and that is a thousand feet, no exceptions.”

The variance was denied unanimously. Commissioner George Oliver was not present at the meeting. 



The commission also heard the first reading of ordinance for the Land Development Code Amendment to Article II, Section 2-4, and Article V, Section 5-15, relating to tourist homes.Recently, the city has been experiencing a higher influx of property owners and investors wanting to operate vacation rental units within the city limits. 

The proposed amendments to Article II are as follows: clarify the existing definition of tourist home and create two new definitions — those of ‘transient guest’ and ‘vacation and short-term rental.’ In relation to the proposed amendments to Article V, these include: identification of a responsible party, clarification of existing parking requirements, and building and fire safety inspections. 

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Andrea Mujica is a staff writer for the West Orange Times & Observer, the Southwest Orange Observer and She covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida....

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