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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Monday, Oct. 22, 2018 2 years ago

Winter Park City Commission meeting set for Oct. 22, 2018

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Winter Park City Commissioners will consider several changes to the city's land development code regarding parking.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

The Winter Park City Commission will consider several ways to improve the parking situation downtown at its Monday, Oct. 22 meeting.

Leaders will look over an ordinance that proposes six different changes to the city's land development code that impact parking. It all stemmed from a study by consultants Kimley-Horn, who were tasked last year with updating and modernizing the city's parking codes within the Central Business District (CBD), Hannibal Square and Orange Avenue. Those rules and regulations in Winter Park have remained largely unchanged since the 1970s, according to a city staff report from the City Commission agenda.

One of the most significant proposed changes could help stop a perceived parking deficit in the downtown area from getting worse. The proposed ordinance in the land development code would take away a condition put in place back in 2003 — a time when the Winter Park Village was booming and Park Avenue was in a lull. 

At the time, Winter Park attempted to attract more fine-dining restaurants to the area to boost foot traffic along Park Avenue and Hannibal Square. This was done by removing a requirement that any restaurant entering a former retail/office space had to provide the additional parking required for restaurants. 

Since 2003, 17 restaurants have been established in place of retail spaces within the Central Business District. Under existing parking codes, the CBD is technically 207 parking spaces short of what it needs to handle the restaurant guests.

Removing the condition from the code might result in a potential side effect though: fewer new restaurants in the CBD.

“It would not be impossible, but it’s going to be more difficult,” Planning Manager Jeff Briggs said during a Planning and Zoning Board meeting in August. “If the Gap wants to change to a restaurant, they’ve got a parking garage. They can meet the parking requirement. ... But there are only a limited number of property owners that have the parking. It will restrict the growth.”

Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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