WINDERMERE — The Windermere Town Council approved the third rendition of a Windsong at Windermere final development plan at its regular meeting Feb. 10.
Construction will begin presently at the parcel, which is in the area of 1800 Maguire Road. To the east, across Maguire Road, are Down Yonder Lane and Wonder Lane. To the south are some small bodies of water. To the west is the back of houses on Willow Gardens Drive in The Willows. To the north are Lake Rhea and the end of Glenbay Court in The Reserve at Belmere.
Approval ultimately became contingent on three conditions: upgrades to the sizes of sewer piping in the plan; notifying the town on updates to certain aquatic aspects of the development; and paying for a left-turn lane, if the traffic engineers of the town and development team agree after completion of the 30th lot in the plan that such a lane would be necessary by traffic standards.
“What we would like to propose … is that a condition be added that would allow us to hold a traffic study at the end of the first phase, in order to determine whether or not, based on traffic that is occurring, a turn lane would be necessary,” said David Evans, lead designer from Evans Engineering. “I like (Jim) O’Brien’s idea at the end of the project because, at that time, you’ve got home sites on the ground and people driving into the development, so if it is causing (excess traffic), the methodology is pretty simple. You have a road network that doesn’t have a turn lane on it yet, so we’re asking to mimic that and … at the end, to prove that we were right.”
Evans said traffic studies already had shown a turn lane would not be required, but Councilwoman Molly Rose said the study also had shown that the traffic was not far off requirements for a turn lane. Councilman Mike Pirozzolo said the turn lanes had not been necessary many years ago, when Maguire Road first had been planned, but with growth and development, they would become necessary.
Two similar motions failed before the third passed. The first was identical to the approved plan except that the traffic study would occur after completion of the 26th lot. It failed, 2-3. The second replaced the traffic study condition with an addition of $100,000 to the developers’ upfront payment for town traffic improvements, but it failed to attain a second to open a vote.
The third motion passed with the minimum of three affirming votes: council members O’Brien, Rose and Richard Gonzalez, who changed his vote from the first proposition. Councilmen Pirozzolo and John Armstrong maintained dissent, with Armstrong vowing before votes that he would not approve any plan without revisions to setbacks and lot sizes that the council had approved at its December meeting.
“Unless they are looking to renegotiate the lot sizes — which I don’t think there’s any desire here from the developers — or the rear setbacks, my vote is no,” Armstrong said. “I know we approved that at a prior council meeting, but I’m not going to go for anything else. This is a final plan; it’s like saying I’m going to vote for something that I was already against.”
Windermere residents from The Willows, such as Roger Ambuter, continued to raise concerns with flood plains and draining, the turn lane, sewers and general water management.
Approval of the final development plan occurred after spending more than two hours on Windsong once again, including multiple short recesses during negotiations and considerations.
Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden and Deputy Chief Jennifer Treadwell presented awards to town police officers and locals aiding public safety in 2014. The awards included: Officer Ryan Miller receiving the Award of Merit, Sgt. Jayson Bonk named Police Officer of the Year and the Purple Heart Award and first department promotion to Officer One for Robbie German, who died from gunshot wounds suffered in the line of duty. His family accepted the awards on his behalf.
Treadwell received a Chief’s Special Award, as did safety watch volunteers Bonny Elder and Katherine Bordelon and crossing guards Patricia Sanders and Ruth Marcus. Officers Robbie Harrison, George Gonzalez and Jeff Czwornog received Certificates of Appreciation. Ogden also recognized the entire force for unit citation.
Travis Mathias and Craig McNeal received awards for 15 years of service to the town, as well.
The council approved several items related to town finances, including a $5,000 compensation and classification study awarded to Burris and Associates, against which only Armstrong voted.
Barracuda Building Corp.’s $6,990 quote for a barrier wall project on Ridgewood Drive and Sommer Sports’ $4,700 quote for event management of Windermere Run Among the Lakes passed unanimously.
An $8,008.27 Athletic House quote for T-shirts for the run passed, with only Pirozzolo dissenting.
IN OTHER NEWS
• Molly Rose raised several discussion topics: the town’s boat lift needing repairs and the possible lack of a need for the town to have a boat; a moving truck parked for months before a Windermere residence; and buying a generator for police use during power outages.
• Richard Gonzalez recommended added training and bonuses for Dave Ogden and Town Manager Robert Smith.
• Smith reported on recent charity events for the town, including the Central Florida NFL Alumni’s Caring for Kids fundraiser last month that raised more than $23,000. He also announced the Robbie German Memorial Softball Tournament and Family Fun Day for March 22.
• Ogden will lead a group of town staff and council members to Washington, D.C., for a trip spanning March 13 to 16.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].