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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 1 year ago

Winter Park City Commission opposes RaceTrac project near city limits

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The City Commission voted on a resolution to keep the project away from a Winter Park neighborhood.
by: Tim Freed Associate Editor

A new project slated for a parcel just outside Winter Park city limits is fueling some negative feelings from local residents.

Winter Park City Commissioners on Monday, Feb. 26, approved unanimously a resolution to oppose a project for a RaceTrac gas station at 2300 S. Semoran Blvd. 

The resolution came before the City Commission in response to opposition from Winter Park residents living near the project.

Orange County staff held a community meeting Jan. 17, where fifty-two Winter Park residents from the nearby Golfside neighborhood — as well as the owner of the adjacent Winter Park Pines neighborhood — attended to voice their disapproval.

Winter Park residents have expressed concerns about noise coming from the gas station 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Residents also said they were concerned about the light coming from 30-foot-tall poles at night and fuel runoff.

Attorney Scott Clark, representing the Winter Pines Golf Club, said all of these factors would create a negative impact on the golfing experience at two holes while looking at the adjacent RaceTrac gas station.

“The proposed use opens a horrible, ugly window into a very nice golf course that fits very well into the residential area,” Clark said. “It’s simply incompatible. As I understand, this is a 24-hour RaceTrac gas station. The use of course is going to have an open window into our golf course at night, which of course puts it in the backyard of hundreds and hundreds of residents.”

PARKLAND

Winter Park City Commissioners also took a moment to comment on the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, as well as gun laws, in general.

“I have two daughters at Winter Park High School, and we had a shooting at a high school down in South Florida that was very close to where I was that day; I was working on a project down there,” Commissioner Greg Seidel said. “I’m not a Republican or a Democrat — I’ve been independent since I was 18. I like to make up my own mind. I’m not against guns either, but what bothers me is that there’s this perception that guns make us safer somehow and that everyone should have one.

“What I’ve not had in my life is someone save a life because of a gun,” he said. “I’m looking for reasonable laws. I would not like to see mentally ill people being able to buy guns. The kids are telling us this.”

Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel, who has a long background as an educator, said guns don’t belong in schools in the hands of teachers.

“I know that they have no places in schools — period,” she said. “That’s not even an issue. I don’t know what we can do, but  what I do believe honestly is that the children who watched that and saw that and lived through that will change this. … It has to get changed.”

Cooper — who said she was raised in a family of military service, hunting and marksmanship — said the school shootings are linked to exposure to violent media.

“I’ve seen enough to know the problem,” Cooper said. “The problem starts with the video games. The problem starts with the movies. Until the American people put the family first and stop entertaining our children with violence … it’s going to be hard to change.” 

It’s up to the nation’s leaders to come together and find the right solution, Mayor Steve Leary said.

“We should expect our leaders to get in a room and figure these things out, rather than demonize one another every opportunity they get,” Leary said. 

Tim Freed is an Associate Editor with the Winter Park/Maitland Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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