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West Orange Times & Observer Friday, May 27, 2022 1 month ago

Ocoee gives conditional approval to warehouse

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The approval of the comprehensive plan amendment transformed the low-density residential potential of the area to light commercial.
by: Andrea Mujica Staff Writer

The Ocoee City Commission on Tuesday, May 17, approved a comprehensive plan amendment for a light industrial warehouse proposal.

The project includes a 70,720-square-foot warehouse on three parcels totaling 5.58 acres on the east side of Pine Street and 462 feet north of Palm Drive.

The project is part of an overlay of the area. The approval of the comprehensive plan amendment transformed the low-density residential potential of the area to light commercial.

Ocoee resident Clifford Sanders, who lives on Sanders Drive west of the proposed development, said he had concerns about the access point of the warehouse that eventually will be built.

“All I can see is cut-through traffic on Pine Street,” he said. “I don’t approve of it, and I don’t like it.” 

Sanders’ wife, Lindsay Sanders, also addressed the commission. 

“Since the early 1950s, five generations of my husband’s family have lived, and some still live, in this neighborhood,” she said. “We’ve already lost enough to that highway. It’s noisy; we can’t see sunsets anymore. … Let’s put on the brakes as far as adding more industrial zoning — especially in existing residential areas.”

The project was approved with the condition that the developers and the city staff work together to direct traffic to Ocoee Apopka Road until Pine Street is approved. The ordinance stirred a lot of controversy among the commission and those in attendance.

“We worked very hard on this overlay to make this fit into the 429,” Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen said. “I hate to say this, but one day, we are going to see Pine Street open. … I figure one day, maybe not in my lifetime, but we’ll see that Pine Street probably will be open at one point.” 

“Only way I’ll vote for this is if we go with what you are saying — that’s the only way I’m going to vote for this,” Mayor Rusty Johnson said. “Things do change and things can change, but I didn’t vote to do that. … You are going to put that cut-through over to 437, that’s where it’s got to go. … Some things don’t need change, just because we did an overlay one time. I know these guys, and I know they are good developers, but I’m not for doing that to him (Sanders).” 

One of the developers agreed to work on an alternate solution regarding the access point to the warehouse. 

“We don’t mind limiting the access and pushing everything east, if that’s what you all want,” the developer said. “That was a request from the city for access via Pine and Ocoee Apopka Road, so if that is the (limitation) until the city improves Pine, we are fine with that as well. We actually prefer it that way.” 

Because the plan amendment was approved with condition, there are several steps still to be taken prior to the start of the construction phase.

Commissioner George Oliver presented a motion to deny the project until the developers could show the proposed changes to the access point, but the motion had no second. Therefore, he opposed the motion. Commissioner Larry Brinson was absent. 

Oliver asked Sanders what he would like to see on the property where the project will be developed.

“Housing,” Sanders said. “People need somewhere to live; it’s hard to live in a warehouse.” 

Another motion pertaining to the zoning of the project also was approved during the meeting. Oliver opposed this motion, as well.

 

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Andrea Mujica is a staff writer for the West Orange Times & Observer, the Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. 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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