Four projects pass in Winter Park

YMCA expansion approved

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  • | 3:12 p.m. December 12, 2012
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Winter Park's Y will get more parking spaces thanks to an expansion approved by the City Commission.
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Winter Park's Y will get more parking spaces thanks to an expansion approved by the City Commission.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Construction is one step closer to reality for four projects in Winter Park after the City Commission voted in favor of a YMCA expansion, an affordable senior living facility, a tavern and a road beautification project Monday.

Two weeks after the city had passed on first reading a rezoning of land near the YMCA along Lakemont Avenue, the city passed it for a final time, but not without a fight over parking.

The YMCA had petitioned the city to be allowed to expand with a zero-depth pool that would be safer for young children, the elderly and those with disabilities. It would also expand with a parking lot on the back side of the building that would add at least 30 more spaces.

But adding a final eight spaces aroused some ire on the Commission.

“It’s creating additional parking near the people who said they have no problem with it,” Commissioner Steven Leary said. “If we’re adding a parking lot, it’s counterintuitive to limit that parking. It’s eight spots. Goodness gracious.”

The extra spaces and the overall rezoning, passed.

A question over the name of a business that would replace the McDonald’s on Orlando Avenue just south of Fairbanks Avenue raised some eyebrows before co-founder Tom DiGiorgio lowered them again.

The owners of the Marlow’s Tavern chain of restaurants want to turn a former McDonald’s into a new type of tavern, DiGiorgio said, one that defies stereotypes.

“The definition of tavern is not bar or pub, it’s a gathering place,” he said. “The original idea of a tavern is a resting place. Marlow’s Tavern is about redefining the idea of a gathering place for the 21st century. There’s not an overwhelmingly big bar. There’s only 14 seats at the bar.”

DiGiorgio said that the restaurant would mostly sell food, avoiding the problems of a bar that’s reliant on liquor sales to make money.

City Planning Director Jeff Briggs said that if the restaurant looked like a problem, the city had the option to say no.

“If we think we’re going to have pool tables and dartboards and a ‘bar’ bar and it’s going to be a problem, then we can say no,” he said.

The Commission said yes by a 5-0 vote.

The Commission also voted in favor of creating a four-story affordable senior living residence on the west end of the city’s West Side neighborhoods, which bothered at least one resident.

“I have a problem with a four-story building coming in to our neighborhood,” nearby resident Lurleen Fletcher said. “If you keep on putting buildings you’re going to have three or four corners with buildings just like that in the West Side neighborhood. You’ve had sinkholes before. All of this is going to be underwater. Mark my words. I have seen it done.”

The Commission approved the 105-unit facility on first reading.

One of the city’s most well-traveled entryways will be a bit greener after the Commission voted in favor of a resolution to improve Lee Road’s median landscape project, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation.


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