The decision includes annexation and rezoning of two nearby vacant properties at East Lafayette Street and WJ Peters Lane.
Winter Garden leaders approved three ordinances that allow Orange County Public Schools more space for a retention pond near Maxey Elementary.
During the May 14 City Commission meeting, commissioners discussed multiple requests regarding about 0.82 acres of land west of the school at 356 E. Lafayette St. and 497 WJ Peters Lane. The properties currently are vacant and will be used as open space or drainage.
These included annexing the properties into the city, changing their future land-use destination from Orange County Low-Medium Density Residential to City Low-Density Residential and rezoning them from Orange County R-2 Residential District to City R-2 Residential District.
“These two lots are on the back (part) of the school, sort of on the western side of the property,” City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said. “They want to annex these, and they want to extend their pond along there. This will enable them to extend the pond. We’re bringing it in as R-2 zoning because that matches the predominant zoning of the existing neighborhood.”
Mayor John Rees said his only concern with designating the properties as City R-2 Residential District was what could happen with them in the future.
“I know everything around this is R-2, but if you’ll remember back in the ’20s we had a lot of R-2 downtown and going out down Main Street,” Rees said. “When they tore down Winter Garden Elementary School, because it was R-2 zoning it allowed them to put in a bunch of duplexes. I realize that all this is R-2 around here, but I just want it noted that that needs to be thought of somewhere in the future.”
Ultimately, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the three ordinances.
“We support staff recommendation and we appreciate their help getting this application through,” said Steven Thorp, senior administrator in OCPS’ Facilities Planning department.
Bollhoefer also updated commissioners on the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
When Florida began Phase One of reopening a few weeks ago, city staff blocked off some of the street parking and added tables and umbrellas to assist local restaurants in expanding their outdoor capacity.
Bollhoefer said one area in which the city’s emergency COVID-19 ordinance differs from the state’s is that the state did not require masks for restaurants.
“We’re going to make a recommendation tonight to remove that requirement and let the restaurants make that decision on their own so we’re following the state law and customers can decide whether or not they feel safe at those establishments,” he said.
Bollhoefer also recommended pushing back the city curfew from 10:30 to 11 p.m. in accordance with Orange County lifting its curfew.
“The reason we’re still staying with 11 is because … bars aren’t allowed to be open, and after 11, there’s generally not people eating out,” he said. “The restaurants then become more like bars, so we’d like to stay with 11 for the short term and then look at it within the next two weeks to see if we want to make an adjustment the next meeting.”
The commission unanimously approved both recommendations.