A 15,000-square-foot retail plaza is coming to the Dr. Phillips area, but there still are a few hurdles to jump before breaking ground.
The Buena Vista Village project will be located on a roughly 1.65-acre property that is part of the Davis PD, north of Lake Street and east of South Apopka Vineland Road. Although the zoning and future land-use designation are already in place, the developer is requesting seven waivers from Orange County Code in relation to landscaping and general design.
During a community meeting at Sand Lake Elementary Monday, March 2, applicant Momtaz Barq presented the requested waivers to attendees. Some of the waivers are related to ground floor facades, flat roofs, street design, street and building base landscaping, building water and materials, and the use of potable water.
Another would serve to remove internal cross access between two of the Davis PD parcels. Two more waivers would revise Board of County Commissioners conditions from 2002 that required sloped tile roofs and that the rear facade of commercial buildings be designed as a front facade.
The property is part of the Buena Vista North Overlay District, which comes with existing architectural and landscaping standards that go “above and beyond anywhere else in the code,” according to Orange County Project Manager Nicolas Thalmueller.
Barq, one of the planners/engineers on the Buena Vista Village project, said his team was asking for these seven waivers in order to deliver a project that adheres to the architectural and general aesthetics most retailers today look for.
“When the PD code was written … it was basically for an architectural style that was popular back then,” Barq said. “This style is no longer something that people are looking for. We spoke with retailers and they all … said the customers are not looking for what was being built back in the ’80s. They want something that is a little more inviting and pedestrian friendly.”
Plans for the building still include some of the required sloped-roof elements, Barq said. Current Buena Vista North Overlay District requirements call for tile roofs, and one of the waivers would exempt the project from this. The developer also wants to be able to use more contrasting colors — such as whites and grays, Barq said — rather than beiges to make the building stand out more.
“The other stuff we’re asking for is some modifications to the landscape code,” he said. “One of them, they required that we do buffers in the back. We have an area (there) that’s wooded, so we don’t really need to put in more plants. … It’s small things that really don’t affect the community or the actual intent of the code, it basically just makes it more appealing if we do it that way.”
Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey said the waivers from the Buena Vista North Overlay District landscaping standards in particular are not uncommon.
“I know when they came through with those standards, they had oak trees planted so close together that if you planted all of them, a number of them would not survive because they’re too crowded,” she said. “It’s not unusual for us to see somebody come through in this area and say, ‘We need more room just so what we plant survives. …That’s something that I know we’re looking to address with our code update, too, so that we don’t have to ask for that waiver every time we come through here.”
This case is headed next to the Development Review Committee March 11. For more information, contact Thalmueller at (407) 836-5603.