Commission OKs Solar Bears facility

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  • | 6:03 p.m. February 17, 2015
Winter Garden commission opens with first non-religious invocation
Winter Garden commission opens with first non-religious invocation
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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WINTER GARDEN — The Orlando Solar Bears Training Facility is coming to Winter Garden.

With several members of the Solar Bears’ management in attendance, Winter Garden city commissioners unanimously approved plans to build a hockey training facility on land at 530-630 E. Crown Point Road. Community Development Director Ed Williams called this a significant development that will spur further development on the site and in that part of the city.

The 16-acre site will contain a two-story, 115,595-square-foot training facility with two rinks, parking, stores and restaurants. Plans include a youth training facility for local teams that can also host high-school and college teams and tournaments. Williams said the developers will pay impact fees and other costs usually associated with the development.

“I hope it’s open for people of West Orange,” Mayor John Rees said. “They are currently driving to Maitland.”

The RDV Sportsplex is currently the closest ice rink to Winter Garden. 

Kevin Romeyk, project manager for the Solar Bears, confirmed the facility will be open to the public.

Rees also asked whether the traffic study to examine the impact of the facility had been completed. Williams said the facility needed to be built and traffic moving to fully measure its impact. The lack of a study was not a reason to hold up development. 

Commissioners and city staff expressed support for the project.

“Thanks to Mr. Siegel and the rest of the Solar Bears,” Commissioner Bobby Olszewski said. “It’s a special day for the city of Winter Garden.”

City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said the facility brings “another exciting element to our city, enhancing our already great quality of life.”


• The commission passed the first reading of an ordinance to require a minimum distance of 5,000 feet between package stores. Orange County has an ordinance requiring that separation in the county, but Winter Garden does not. Commissioner Bobby Olszewski asked whether the ordinance would affect current businesses or only future businesses. Assistant City Attorney Dan Langley said the ordinance will not force any currently open package stores to move or close. Only new stores would be affected. The ordinance will bind the city to observe the separation in its boundaries from any package store on country land. A package store that opens on the county side of the city-county border will prohibit any package stores in the city from opening within the 5,000-foot radius. The second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Feb. 26. 

• The city annexed about 11.1 acres at 1205 E. Fullers Cross Road and rezoned the land to R-1B Residential District. Community Development Director Ed Williams said the developer planned to preserve wetlands on the property, add parks and bike trails, and provide access to the West Orange Trail. Because the plans include so much open space, the property will only include 26 lots instead of the maximum of 45 lots allowed. 

• The commission unanimously approved an ordinance carrying forward $24,778,157 appropriated but not spent during the last fiscal year into the current year. Revenues are allocated to specific projects.

• The commission unanimously approved waiving special event fees and allowing the Rotary Club to sell alcohol at the Evening at the Pops event in Newton Park and Tanner Hall on March 14. 

• Commissioners approved a site plan for 1291 Winter Garden Vineland Road to add a building in the West Orange Business Center.

• The next commission meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in City Hall Commission Chambers.


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