OCOEE – Ocoee leaders have collaborated with the city of Winter Garden in the creation of a special zoning district.
The special zoning district, named the State Road 429 Overlay District, is Ocoee’s fourth special overlay district and it includes three character areas, each with its own respective standards and goals.
The intent behind the creation of the 429 district is to guide future development in a manner that links both cities’ downtowns, establish a more pedestrian- friendly transportation network and increase economic activity in both cities.
The master plan for the overlay district, approved during the July 18 commission meeting, outlines the design and development standards the city seeks to implement for future projects proposed within the zoning district.
The unanimous vote is a big step for the rapidly growing city, which gained more than 20,000 residents since 2000, according to the U.S Census Bureau, and now constitutes the third largest city in Orange County.
PLANT STREET CHARACTER AREA
The main idea behind the Plant Street character area, which was created in coordination with Winter Garden, is to link both cities’ downtowns together via Plant Street, create attractive entrances to each and improve street connectivity. Future development along the corridor will be a mix of retail, office and corporate uses, which will be further subdivided into two districts: The Gateway District and East Plant District.
The Plant Street district will hold the “front doors” to both Ocoee and Winter Garden and will be built in a manner that focuses on a pedestrian-oriented urban streetscape, with inviting build- ing facades fronting the street and parking lots located in the back. The Gateway District will be reserved for offices, entertainment and destination retail.
BUSINESS CENTER CHARACTER AREA
This area encompasses land between State Road 429 and Ocoee-Apopka Road north of the Plant and Franklin streets intersection. The city hopes to use this area for manufacturing, retail and multi-family housing. According to the vision plan, city leaders aim to target certain manufacturing uses for this area, including pharmaceuticals and biotech, medical equipment, aircraft parts, food products, and digital media and design.
INTERCHANGE VILLAGE CHARACTER AREA
With its easy accessibility and location at the West Road interchange, the Interchange Village Character Area is considered a prime area for a mixed-use center with office, residential and retail developments. According to city documents, future development will be confined to vacant parcels, and such parcels are targeted for corporate and/or school uses.
This area will have a commercial center surrounded by mixed-use developments, including office and residential uses that will all be interconnected by pedestrian-scale blocks and a West Orange Trail connection.
According to the ordinance, any of the lands located within a Character Area that are currently in use but do not conform to the development and design standards respective to its zoning district are allowed to continue as a nonconforming use.
Likewise, a proposed development inconsistent with the character area guidelines established in a zoning district may be permitted if the city determines it’s compatible with surrounding development and the city’s long-term vision.
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]