- July 29, 2016
WINTER GARDEN — City commissioners approved a revised plan to address the downtown parking crunch.
Last August, the commission, acting as the Community Redevelopment Association, committed $6 million to build a three-story, four-level garage on the open-air lot on Tremaine Street. That lot would add 478 net spaces to downtown to address a situation that City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said could be “detrimental to economic development” in downtown.
“When people don’t perceive they have enough parking, they stop coming,” he said.
The new plan calls for a two-story, three-level garage, expanded lots on Main and North Boyd streets, and additional street parking. This new plan spreads parking options through more of downtown and adds a net of 442 spaces.
“It’s a very good compromise,” Mayor John Rees said. “This will benefit the city the most going forward.”
Rees cast the lone vote against the original plan but spoke in favor of the revision. Additional parking options could ease traffic and encourage visitors to visit more businesses in the downtown area.
Approving the revised plan enables the city to send requests for proposals to designers and construction companies and start construction in June, as planned. Bollhoefer expects the smaller garage to be completed in three to six months.
The city would use the savings from building a smaller garage to replace the warehouse behind the Edgewater Hotel with an open-air lot on North Boyd Street. Bollhoefer said additional parking north of downtown is not an immediate need. Therefore, the city had time to pursue purchasing the property. The current tenant, PrismOne, has a lease through 2016. If the city and the property owner can’t come to a purchase agreement, the city has the option to condemn it.
Commissioner Bobby Olszewski asked if anything the commission voted on that night could negatively impact the PrismOne. Bollhoefer said nothing about this vote would impact the business, because the vote only authorized the start of the purchase process.
Samir Burchan, PrismOne’s president and CEO, said he and his partners supported the revisions.
“We have no problem with the city purchasing the (warehouse) property,” he said.
• The commission passed on second reading an ordinance to increase impact fees for future development. City Manager Mike Bollhoefer began the meeting with a slide presentation outlining the city’s different revenue sources, including taxes, fees and impact fees. Because Florida has no state income tax, he said impact fees are the primary way local governments in Florida pay for the cost of infrastructure required by growth and development. The ordinance raises impact fees for single-family residences from $1,271 to $2,130 for fire, police, and recreation. Increases for fees for other dwellings, such as trailers, and for offices and other commercial development will be less. For example, the recreation impact fee for a single-family home will rise to $1,300, but it will be $1,159 for a multi-family dwelling and $874 for a mobile home. Commercial developments pay no residential impact fee. The commission voted 4-1 in favor of the increase, with Olszewski dissenting.
• The commission postponed the condemnation of 230 W. 11th St. to give owner Donald Rogers an opportunity to submit new plans and complete his building on that location. The commission gave Rogers 90 days to submit plans and required he start construction before the end of the year.
• Commissioners unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance to carry forward $25,478,157 of budgeted expenses that had not been spent last fiscal year into the current fiscal year.
• The commission rezoned about 0.49 acres at 360 W. Plant St. from city residential to city central commercial district. This property, nicknamed “the Blue House,” will become part of the Plant Street Market project.
• Commissioners rezoned about 23.64 acres at the four corners area at Marsh and Williams roads to urban village planned unit development. Community Development Director Ed Williams said this property will become “the commercial center for the urban village that’s approved.” The developer agreed to several conditions, including paying some of the cost for traffic signals, providing a site for sewer and water tanks, and donating a right of way for road improvements.
• Commissioners approved a contract for T.D. Thomson for the Southwest Reuse, Phase 2, CR 545 Reuse Water Main Expansion Project. The $425,436 contract includes a 10% contingency. Assistant City Manager for Public Services Don Cochran said he expects little excavation because the pipe will be drilled almost entirely underground.
• The commission unanimously authorized Bollhoefer to sign a letter of intent to transfer $250,000 of impact fee credits to develop the northwest corner of Dillard Street and State Road 50.
• City Attorney Kurt Ardaman requested a delay until the next meeting to his scheduled report on alternatives to the city’s moment of silence. He said there were some logistic matters regarding implementing other plans that he needed more time to address.