Winter Garden commission approves Florida-friendly landscaping

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  • | 2:24 p.m. June 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 — Commissioners passed the second reading of an ordinance to require Florida-friendly landscaping on all future developments in Winter Garden.

The ordinance makes Winter Garden’s regulations compliant with state laws that mandate Florida-friendly landscaping. However, it does not impact any current commercial or residential properties or any developments already approved. The ordinance does include language that encourages “the use of site-appropriate Florida Friendly-Landscaping for all existing developed areas.”

The law requires all new residential and commercial developments to submit a landscape and irrigation plan to the city for approval. Some of the new regulations include a mandate that no more than 60% of the landscape (up to a maximum of 1/2 acre) should be irrigated via a permanent in-ground irrigation system. Furthermore, turf in common areas must have a drought-tolerance rating of medium or high, and each site plan should aim to use natural features to minimize runoff. Non-organic materials — including gravel, river rock, shell and similar materials — must not occupy more than 50% of a landscape surface area. 

The ordinance also requires that a minimum of 5% of the total plants installed, not including turf, shall be Florida native plants at all new homes, developments and commercial properties. Landscaped turf areas must be irrigated on separate zones from plant areas. Five turf grasses are approved — Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia and St. Augustine. 

Central Florida’s UF extension offices offer classes periodically on how to create a Florida-friendly landscape and also provide information on the website,

Commissioners Bob Buchanan and Bobby Olszewski were on vacation this week. Mayor John Rees and commissioners Kent Makin and Colin Sharman attended the meeting. 


• The board unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone about 0.19 acres at 161 S. Boyd St. from R-2 Residential District to C-1 Central Commercial District. The property currently contains a duplex. The property owner plans to demolish the building and build a retail/office facility. Community Development Director Ed Williams said there was no timeline for the owner to build the new office space. He can keep the duplex rented until it is time to get building plans approved. The second reading will be on June 25.

• Commissioners unanimously approved the site plan to build a Dunkin Donuts at 4020 Winter Garden Vineland Road, at the corner of Winter Garden Vineland and Lake Butler roads. The plan calls for a 2,000-square-foot store with drive-thru and parking.

• Commissioners postponed a decision on ordinances to annex and rezone about 0.22 acres at 360 W. Story Road. Orange County permitted a house for that property that does not meet Winter Garden’s requirements. City staff is working with the property owner to ensure the plans meet Winter Garden’s codes. This matter will come before the commission when the owner is ready.

• The next commission meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 25, in City Hall Commission Chambers, 300 W. Plant St.

• Commissioners postponed until June 25 appointments to the Code Enforcement Board for the expiring seats held by Johnny Clark, Bruce Woloshin and Joe Skubas, and to fill the vacancy caused by Harold Petch’s resignation. This will enable the full commission to vote on the appointments.

• The commission postponed until June 25 a discussion of appointments to the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board to give all five commissioners a chance to vote on the appointments. The expiring and vacant seats are those of Larry Cappleman, John Kirby, Sandy Schupp, Ron Sikes, and Kelly Randall.

• The commission approved the release, abandonment and vacation of easements and declaration of replacement easement agreement for Oakland Park Phase 2. Williams said the new easements will serve the city and the development better.


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