Special meeting will determine charter school’s fate

Ocoee commissioners granted Charter Schools USA’s request for action to be delayed.

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  • | 11:59 p.m. March 1, 2016
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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OCOEE  As far as elections go, the last eight months have been an odd set of circumstances for Ocoee, which will elect a mayor and a District 3 commissioner March 15.

Joining the voting spree that night in another unorthodox twist will be the Ocoee City Commission, which decided during its March 1 meeting to wait until a special March 15 meeting to consider amending its Arbours at Crown Point PUD.

This amendment specifically regards the fate of a Charter Schools USA facility for kindergarten through eighth grade. Officials from CSUSA asked for a continuance based on traffic data from Orange County that were not complete for the March 1 meeting.

Although commissioners had decided to cancel their regularly scheduled March 15 meeting, they ultimately reached a unanimous choice to hold a special meeting March 15 for just this issue, suggesting a typical 7:15 p.m. start. District 4 Commissioner Joel Keller said the current commissioners had spent the most time on this issue and received an abundance of community feedback about it, so they should be the ones to decide its fate. Moreover, it would be unfair to put a new District 3 commissioner and possibly a new mayor on the spot in their first meeting, he said.

District 2 Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen said she wanted to address the issue March 1, whereas District 1 Commissioner John Grogan said a special meeting should not be needed for this.

Parcel B of the PUD, which CSUSA seeks, currently is reserved for 97,000 square feet of light industrial commercial use with an entrance on West Road, near the Fountains West Shopping Center. CSUSA officials have proposed a 68,000-square-foot schoolhouse with an unlighted recreational field and a tot lot.

A city of Ocoee traffic study indicated 3,433 trips under the plan as it could have been amended with the school, less than a maximum of 5,161 trips. The study also showed a need for a dedicated U-turn lane at the intersection of West and Ocoee-Apopka roads.

Parcel A consists of the majority of 28.1 acres on the lot, now undergoing construction for 240 multi-family dwellings, Arbour Apartments.


Commissioners approved an annexation and initial commercial zoning of 6.95 acres on State Road 50 — just east of State Road 429 — next to Paws & Play Pet Resort.

The Development Review Committee recommended this action based on an understatement of fitting in with the surrounding area — Tony and Mary Ray wish to start a veterinary hospital called Daniels Veterinary Services at that location with Dr. Herbert Daniels.

Mike Cavinder, the founder of Paws & Play, said he welcomed any neighbor sharing his mission of terrific care for pets.

Tony Ray said about 4.3 acres of property would still be available, with no definitive plans yet for what commercial entities would occupy that space. A previous owner had sought two hotels and a restaurant before plans fell through, he said. City Planner Mike Rumer said a subdivision would be one possibility in that area.


  • The commission passed a temporary moratorium for its side of the State Road 429 Study, preceding an evaluation period for possible ordinances amending development regulations therein. Until July 31 — unless altered by the commission — no new development items pertinent to that area will be accepted.
  • Commissioners approved a four-year lease-purchase agreement with American Capital Financial Services for vehicles and heavy equipment. Two Ocoee Fire Department pickups, a fire pumper truck, a bucket truck, two garbage trucks and one Public Works pickup are included. A loan for the purchases is worth $1,146,860.38, with an interest rate of 1.35%.
  • A first reading of an annexation of 0.48 acres at 833 Pine Street occurred. The applicant has no intent to build on the property, only to combine it with adjacent property.
  • West Orange Healthcare District representatives Jennifer Riesco, Tracy Swanson and Wilsen accepted a proclamation of March as Healthy West Orange Month.


Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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