by Peter M. Gordon
WINTER GARDEN City commissioners approved unanimously the first reading of an ordinance to rezone the northwest corner of West Colonial Drive and Dillard Street to Planned Commercial Development.
The developer razed the blighted motel that had been on the property and currently plans to build a Wawa, a Wendy’s and a Culver’s restaurant on the property.
Despite approval, Mayor John Rees said he wasn’t thrilled with the plan as presented by Community Development Manager Steve Pash.
“We were hoping for something a little more upscale,” he said. “I’m less than impressed.”
Commissioner Kent Makin echoed Rees’ sentiment and said he hoped a new hotel would be a part of the plan for the lot.
“We’ve been working hard for a hotel since day one,” City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said
The three stores announced will not fill the entire property, and discussions are continuing with the developer to see if an 80- to 100-room hotel could be added in the future.
Commissioners also approved the second reading of an ordinance to create a more restrictive special exception process to review billboards on city property. After the unanimous vote, commissioners approved an agreement with Clear Channel Outdoor to remove two billboards at 35 S. Dillard St. in exchange for permission to build a new digital billboard at 13394 E. Colonial Drive. The new billboard will comply with Winter Garden’s billboard restrictions and should be no brighter than the digital billboards erected along the State Road 408.
The City Hall Light Show proved so popular that the city has added shows on the following nights: Saturday, Dec. 12; Sunday Dec. 13; Wednesday, Dec. 16; Friday, Dec. 18; Saturday Dec. 19; Sunday, Dec. 20; and Wednesday, Dec. 23. All shows will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at City Hall, 300 W. Plant St.