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West Orange Times & Observer Saturday, Sep. 17, 2016 6 years ago

Ocoee moratorium would prohibit fast food, auto shops

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Ocoee intends to establish higher standards for their land development code in order to make room for upscale shopping and sit-down restaurants.
by: Gabby Baquero News Editor

Ocoee commissioners approved Tuesday, Sept. 6, a recommendation for city staff to write a resolution detailing a six-month moratorium involving special areas within city limits.

The moratorium, which all the commissioners supported with positive comments, will give them time to evaluate the special overlay areas and update existing regulations to be more aligned to their collective vision for Ocoee’s future land use. 

“(The residents) let me know loud and clear that they want sit-down restaurants and upscale shopping,” said District 3 Commissioner Richard Firstner regarding the desires expressed by his constituents.

The main goal driving the moratorium is to develop an ordinance introducing amendments and updates to the Land Development Code relating to the special overlay areas that will both boost economic development in Ocoee and allow city staff to identify effective tax incentives that could encourage quality development.

The three types of special overlay areas identified in the LDC are interchange impact areas, the downtown redevelopment area and activity centers. The moratorium also would cover all the properties along Colonial Drive that are part of the Community Redevelopment Areas.

The moratorium, if approved in the next City Commission meeting, would prohibit the certain applications, including pharmaceutical dispensaries, fast-food and other drive-through restaurant establishments, check-cashing stores, self-storage facilities, vehicle and tire service, sales and repair facilities and discount retail stores.

However, completed applications that already have been received and accepted will not be subject to delay because of the moratorium.

During public comments, Jeff Krisan, a property owner, said he is under negotiations with three tenants for his property on the northeast corner of Colonial Drive and Maguire Road, which all fall under the uses prohibited by the pending moratorium. The potential tenants, he informed commissioners, include an auto repair store, strip center and Dollar Tree store. Krisan was concerned the moratorium under discussion would complicate those negotiations because of the uncertainty it would create between him and the tenants. 

Commissioners conveyed their distaste for such developments, citing the abundance of discount retail stores and tire stores already in Ocoee and the need to have higher standards for Ocoee because of its rapid growth and potential future demand. 

“I’m not interested in being tire city,” said District 4 Commissioner Joel Keller. “I don’t think that’s the type of growth we’re looking for. Our residents aren’t asking for more tire shops; they’re looking for more food places. You know, when I was running, the questions were always, ‘When are you going to fix up the mall? When are you going to give us restaurants?’ That’s always been the ongoing issue, and I don’t see that changing.”

The commissioners all agree the moratorium is a step in the right direction, despite the discontent it could incite with some developers and property owners.

Commissioner Keller believes it is necessary to “get the planning correct” for how they want the city to grow. 

“It’s going to give us the opportunity to tweak the plans so that we make sure we do the best we can for the city,” Keller said.

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Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected].

 

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