Proposed Bridgewater development raises traffic, density concerns

County officials hosted a meeting May 1 to discuss a future land-use amendment pertaining to a 30-acre property off Tilden Road near the Horizon West village of Bridgewater.

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  • | 1:28 p.m. May 9, 2018
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Concerns about traffic and density topped discussions at a community meeting held May 1 regarding a large-scale future-land-use map amendment for a 30-acre property that is subjected to a potential residential development.

Orange County leaders held the meeting at Bridgewater Middle School to explain what is being requested for the property, located at 14950 and 14908 Tilden Road near the Horizon West Village of Bridgewater. The applicant  is requesting a future-land-use map amendment to change the property’s designation from Village (V) to Village (V)/Bridgewater SPA (Garden Home District). That change would expand the village by incorporating the property to allow the addition of up to 161 single-family homes.

Applicant Kathy Hattaway, of Poulos & Bennett LLC, said the property consists of about 20 acres of developable land and about 10 acres of wetlands.

“We do have wetlands on this site that will not be impacted — they will be preserved,” she said.

The number of dwelling units in the proposal was a cause of concern for many individuals who attended the meeting — including Winter Garden city officials.

“They ought to keep it down to the two-and-one-half (or) three units per acre … or fix the road,” Winter Garden planning consultant Ed Williams said. “Tilden Road is a two-lane rural road. It’s not a modern, wide two-lane road with curbs and gutters. … It has very bad curves in it, which make it very unsafe.”

Winter Garden City Commissioner Colin Sharman and City Manager Mike Bollhoefer also spoke against the project.

“The city knows that you cannot deny (a development) based on traffic, but you can limit to the appropriate size (density),” Sharman said. “What we’re asking for is that you develop this at a reasonable density of … 2.5 homes per acre.”

“Our serious concern in the city is density,” Bollhoefer said. “As we build out the rest of this county, we have to look at every single subdivision and look at this density we’re squeezing in there. Anyone (who) thinks they can build their way out of a traffic problems by adding more lanes, I say go drive on 535 and see what more lanes does.”

Orange County Planner Nicolas Thalmueller said the county’s Transfer Development Rights ordinance in place for the Horizon West villages allows for the development of up to 161 residential units within the subject property. However, he also said the number is an absolute maximum and subject to change.

“The (Transfer Development Rights) ordinance works to preserve natural wetlands and upward areas by generating development credits for them,” Thalmueller said. “Those credits can be acquired by other properties within the village and then that wetland, greenbelt developable area is no longer developable.”

Hattaway said it is required to use the maximum density allowed to conduct the traffic study required by a future-land-use amendment request. She said they would not build 161 units.

“One of the requirements of that study is that you have to analyze the maximum density possible under a proposed future land-use (designation), so we had to do that,” she said. “We’re not going to build 161 units on this property. It will be something significantly less than that.”

Hattaway added she would have more details regarding an exact number of units at a later meeting.

“The only development that is proposed for this property is single-family, detached residential homes,” Hattaway said. “Moreover, we can also add that these lots will be over 50 feet in width. … This is intended to be a more traditional neighborhood, so the lots will be larger.”

The next opportunity for public comment will be June 21 at the Local Planning Agency Transmittal Hearing. A time has yet to be determined.



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