Ocoee City Commission approves another charter school bid
| 10:23 p.m. September 1, 2015
West Orange Times & Observer
OCOEE -- The Ocoee City Commission unanimously approved a $2,613,000 sale of roughly 12 acres of property in the northeast quadrant of North Clarke and A.D. Mims roads to Charter Schools Development Corp. at its Sept. 1 meeting.
The buyers intend to build a K-8 charter school and an adjacent commercial development. This would be the second approved charter school in Ocoee within about one year, with Kids Community College -- Orange at Lake Olympia Square having relocated from Gotha to start this school year.
Red Apple Development Inc. had entered an agreement with the commission for a similar purchase from the city Dec. 2 in the same area, but that school has not materialized.
Discussions between the commission and Charter Schools Development Corp. had been ongoing for months, beginning with the corporation's unsolicited offer at the May 19 commission meeting. Although commissioners had initial reservations, especially in finances, recouping money lost from an overpayment to acquire the property was among the reasons they ultimately accepted this offer.
Two first readings occurred for public hearings scheduled for the Sept. 15 commission meeting.
One involves amending the Ocoee Crown Point PUD agreement with Mattamy Homes to modify the 30-acre park tract for residential use. Other proposed modifications to this plan are: increasing the maximum number of single-family dwelling units from 264 to 333; making all internal roadways private and gated; limiting vehicle access points on Ocoee Crown Point Parkway for the elementary school site to the school tract; restricting public pedestrian trail access to the conservation tract adjacent to Lake Apopka; changing rear setbacks from 25 feet to 20 feet on all lots with 120 feet in length; and modifying lot sizes to include 45-foot, 55-foot and 65-foot sizes.
The other reading pertains to amending the Ocoee City Code to provide for negotiated settlement of code enforcement fines and liens through an administrative process. Proposed changes would allow the city manager to modify the basic process or waive requirements for unusual circumstances and property conditions.
Also pertinent to code enforcement, Interim Mayor John Grogan again raised the idea of sunsetting the Code Enforcement Board, asking staff to examine pros and cons of it. District 2 Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen and District 3 Commissioner Rusty Johnson said they would prefer to keep the volunteers and personal feeling of getting residents involved.
IN OTHER NEWS
Johnson announced he had submitted his tentative resignation letter to make himself eligible to run for mayor. Wilsen reminded citizens that the qualifying period for those interested in running is Sept. 4 to 14.
No motion arose from the commission to waive the residency requirement for Barbara Anne Boudokhane to reappoint her to the Human Relations Diversity Board, effectively denying it.
The commission approved contracting with George Gideon Auctioneers Inc. for the public sale of Ocoee's surplus property, with an auction of items scheduled to occur at 9 a.m. Sept. 19.
Johnson said Lowe's had been looking into constructing exercise stations or a swing around Starke Lake.
District 4 Commissioner Joel Keller said the Human Relations Diversity Board could reconsider relocating the city's African American Memorial. He said the idea to simply move it behind the fence it currently rests before had arisen, but the board would need to further examine the matter, including what would happen to the property without the monument.
The commission passed a staff recommendation of a one-year pilot program of plug-in charging stations in support of electric vehicles as Ocoee grows.
The Ocoee Fire Department received approval to use its savings to upgrade its stretchers and exchange its health data with local hospitals participating with ESO Solutions.