A new housing development could be coming to a property at the corner of Clarke Road and A.D. Mims Road.
Ocoee commissioners voted unanimously during the March 19 meeting to approve the sale of an 8.5-acre property at the northeast quadrant Clarke Road and A.D. Mims Road. The city will be selling the property — which has been appraised for $1.105 million — to Meritage Homes of Florida for $1.1 million. Meritage Homes of Florida is proposing to develop the property into a 64-townhome subdivision.
The 8.5-acre property originally was part of a 12-acre parcel that the city purchased in 2006 from Silvestri Investment Group of Florida, Inc. for $3.5 million. The City will still own the remaining 3.5 acres after selling off 8.5 acres to Meritage Homes of Florida. The City originally purchased the property with the intention of building a new headquarters for the Ocoee Police Department, but those plans changed after the police department was relocated to another facility.
In 2015, the city had the property under contract to sell it to Charter Schools Development Group, LLC. for the purposes of building a charter school on the property. That developer terminated the contract. More recently, the city had the land under contract to sell to Beazer Homes for a residential development, however, Beazer Homes also terminated their contract to purchase the property.
Prior to voting on the sale, Commissioner George Oliver raised concerns over infrastructure and traffic along Clarke Road, which already sees a heavy traffic flow, he said.
“I’m hearing 64 (townhome) units — a potential of another 128 vehicles,” Oliver said. “My concern here, once again, is we’re going to unleash another, potentially, 128 vehicles right where the road bottlenecks. … I’m not seeing anything that addresses infrastructure when it comes to adding these units so close to where we already have traffic problems.”
City Planner Mike Rumer said the City owns the right-of-way along Clarke Road and has the ability to improve it. In terms of traffic, he said the subject property is part of the Prairie Lake Planned Unit Development, and has been approved for 125,000 square feet of commercial use because of prior developments that were once proposed to be built on the property. Rumer added that subject property has vested traffic trips to accommodate that commercial type of commercial use, and the residential development Meritage is proposing would have less of a traffic impact versus if a commercial development were to be built on the property.
“We have the ability to improve (or) widen Clarke Road,” Rumer said, adding that although the city has the ability, improving Clarke Road is not on the city’s five-year capital improvement plan. “Those (traffic) trips are considered background when you look at the number of trips the road can hold. … When you look at level of service of (a) road, if the level of service of the road is 24,000 trips, you look at existing (trips) — say it’s 17,000 — (and) you look at committed (trips). That (vested trip) would be (counted) in the committed trips. You take 17,000 (existing trips), and if there’s 5,000 committed (trips) that’s 22,000 trips. The road is not failing until it reaches that level of service.”
Rumer added that although the property is approved for a commercial use, it can also have residential units under a mixed-use environment.
“On this piece (of property) we can get residential and the commercial (developments),” Rumer said. “But you have to retain some commercial (use). It has to be walkable. It’s got to be like a mixed-use type (of development). … Townhomes, residential and commercial is allowed in the (Prairie Lake) PUD.”