If all goes to plan, Luv-N-Care Animal Hospital could soon be building a brand-new veterinary clinic near Windermere.
During a community meeting held Monday, Feb. 10, at Chain of Lakes Middle School, applicant Joe Saunders spoke with nearby residents about plans for a property at the intersection of Conroy Windermere Road and Cleveland Avenue.
Dr. Inderjit Singh, a veterinarian and the founder of Luv-N-Care Animal Hospital, started his practice in Longwood in 1992. Six years ago, he opened his second location in the Windermere Village Centre off Conroy Windermere Road.
He recently purchased the two parcels of land, with a third currently under contract, with the intent of building a new veterinary clinic for his southwest Orlando clientele. The three parcels comprise roughly 2.34 acres and are located just west of the Wingrove Estates subdivision and northeast of the Hunter Estates subdivision.
Saunders and Singh are requesting a Small-Scale Future Land-Use Map Amendment for the property in order to change its designation from Rural Settlement (one dwelling unit per acre) to Office Rural Settlement.
“It’s a real boutique kind of thing … and we’re looking to do something that’s more of a pet boutique center where they provide veterinary services — just a place where you can take your pets, local to the community,” Saunders said. “He currently has an office in Tavistock. It’s 2,000 square feet. His other office in Longwood is a 6,000-square-foot facility. The whole reason of doing this is he gained popularity in the community, people like him and they want to send their pets there.”
Some in attendance were concerned about the level of noise, such as barking dogs, that might stem from the new facility. However, Saunders said, boarding would not be part of Singh’s business — he will instead focus on providing core veterinary services. He also proposed adding a hedge-type wall for a physical buffer. There might be a dog run for patients, Saunders said, but nothing is concrete until plans are assembled.
“The building, as it stands right now, would probably be about 4,500 square feet,” Saunders said. “I don’t see some big, monstrous thing at this point. We’re probably going to stick with one story.”
Case Planner Maria Cahill added that since the intended purpose is strictly for veterinary office use and lacks boarding, it will be designated as office space rather than commercial.
Up until Feb. 9, the property also was home to an abandoned house that sat empty and deteriorating for years. But some residents were wary of the proposed use, concerned that it would add to traffic on Conroy Windermere Road. Others were concerned about the precedent it would set for the area.
“I’m torn, I really am torn,” resident Paul McGarigal said. “If the design is really within the community appeal and the traffic isn’t major — which it doesn’t sound like it would be — the only thing I fear is a giant parking lot with no trees and such. … I am happy to see that ugly, dilapidated old building knocked down.”
Many attendees wanted to see design plans and what the building might look like. Since the project still is in early stages, specifications aren’t required yet, said District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey.
“The process is he comes through to get his land use and then we require the specifics on how large it’s going to be — where is he going to park, where is the stormwater going to be, how he’s going to enter the site — all of those things come after this,” VanderLey said. “We don’t require that as part of this because it’s an enormous cost to him, and if he doesn’t get approved then he spent that money to no good. As part of that process, he’ll have to come back and show how the building’s going to be situated, what the size is, all of that.”
Orange County’s Local Planning Agency will consider the amendment request April 16, and it is scheduled to go before the Board of County Commissioners May 5.
“We’re here to work with you guys, because as advantageous as it is for the community to have a wonderful facility to bring their pets that’s going to be comfortable … it takes you guys to be a part of that, as well,” Saunders said.