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West Orange Times & Observer Friday, Jun. 17, 2022 1 month ago

Second hearing for east Winter Garden rezoning set for June 23

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The Winter Garden City Commission heard the first reading and public hearing of several ordinances pertaining to the rezoning of east Winter Garden, the final step in the annexation process.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

The Winter Garden City Commission heard the first reading and public hearing of several ordinances pertaining to the rezoning of east Winter Garden at its Thursday, June 9, meeting.

The city is requesting to change the zoning and future land use designation on 48.07 acres located east of South West Crown Point Road, west of State Road 429, north of East Maple Street and south of East Plant Street. 

The amendment to the Future Land Use Map of the city’s Comprehensive Plan would designate the properties as Low Density Residential and rezone the properties to Residential District. 

These specific residential properties were annexed when the city of Winter Garden and Orange County entered into an interlocal agreement executed Feb. 8. The FLUM and rezoning change is the final step in the annexation process. 

Community Development Director Steve Pash said the annexation will provide a more efficient delivery of services to the property and further the goals and objectives of the city’s Comprehensive Plan to eliminate enclaves. He said the proposed FLUM amendment and rezoning is consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan and the city of Winter Garden Code of Ordinances. 

REZONING IN EAST WINTER GARDEN

Although the annexation has been a long time coming, several commissioners engaged in discussion on the ordinances. 

District 3 City Commissioner Mark A. Maciel inquired about whether there were any lots or large tracts that may be divided into smaller parts and if it would be the desire of staff to keep the lots and not take away any property rights, referencing 50- and 75-foot lots. 

“We want to leave them as their 50s and keep them consistent with that surrounding area, and that’s why we did R-4, because it keeps it consistent,” Pash said. 

District 2 Commissioner Ron Mueller said although he was in support of part of the ordinance, he had concerns about leaving the area as R-4 and believes moving it to R-2 would be more beneficial.

“I understand if we moved it to R-2, it’s going to require quite a few variances when they do work, but I ultimately think that leaving it at an R-4 leaves us a future state where we are always talking tinier lots, tinier houses and it doesn’t drive that to be a thriving area over long-term use,” he said.  

Pash said R-4 has 50-foot-wide lots, smaller side-yard setbacks and is more consistent with what is developed in the area. R-2 would require a 75-foot-wide lot, 10-foot side-yard setbacks and would be inconsistent. 

“It could be harmful to those people,” Pash said. “We tried to stay consistent with what’s there.”

City Manager Jon C. Williams said one of the consequences of R-2 would be that the city would establish a layer of bureaucracy under which residents would be required to obtain additional property or request different variances. 

“My thing too, Ron (Mueller), is that you know we’ve asked these people to annex into the city, and they have, graciously, and they didn’t really have to, so I wouldn’t want to take away any property rights, either,” Maciel said. “It’s a heavy burden to have R-2 as opposed to R-4.”

No residents spoke during public hearing time, and the motion was passed 4-1, with Mueller dissenting. A second reading and public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 23.

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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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