In a short meeting Tuesday, Nov. 3, the Ocoee City Commission approved a request for variance at a property just down the road from City Hall.
The applicant, Michael Pascall, was seeking a variance to install a 6-foot-high privacy fence in the front yard of his home at 615 Roberts Rise Drive in the Roberts Rise subdivision.
The issue itself is that in the Ocoee Land Development Code, there are requirements regarding residential fencing that the 6-foot-tall fence wouldn’t meet, said City Planner Michael Rumer.
“It can be in the front yard if it’s 4-foot and see-through, but you cannot have a 6-foot fence in your front yard,” Rumer said. “The Roberts Rise subdivision received a neighborhood matching grant in order to make a couple of improvements — safety improvements and beautification improvements to the subdivision — and one of them was to add a fence.
“The purpose of this variance is to tie into the fence that the subdivision is going to be placing — hence it will be in their front yard,” he said.
Through the City of Ocoee Neighborhood Matching Grants Program, the subdivision’s addition of the fence within the city’s right-of-way would help reduce foot and vehicle traffic from gaining access to the neighborhood via the adjacent undeveloped property located east of it.
Rumer also suggested that the fence be only a temporary measure instead of a permanent approval, as eventually the vacant property could be developed in the future.
In its recommendations, city staff recorded the denial of the variance request due to the fact the variance didn’t meet the requirements, but the Planning and Zoning Commission did recommend its approval with the stipulation that if the city requires its removal within five years, the city would cover the cost of its removal. The fence itself will be owned and maintained by the Roberts Rise subdivision.
When the item was opened up to discussion, Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen — who represents District 2, in which the property is located — noted her support for the temporary fence for the sake of the community’s safety.
“It may not be strictly in line with land development code, yet there are some unique characteristics in this neighborhood, and that is what Mike mentioned — that people drive through — and as a safety measure, the neighborhood has been wanting to do this,” Wilsen said. “I am very interested in the variance for the neighborhood. At this point, I don’t want to talk about the future with that piece of property, but I believe for the safety and for the security of the neighborhood this is very important.”
After a quick discussion, the commission unanimously approved the variance.
JOHNSON WILL RUN FOR RE-ELECTION
Although the city’s mayoral race won’t be taking place until March 2023, Johnson announced he would be running for re-election when the time comes.
“I think the election time is a time where people get to come out and voice their opinions and do things, and I think that is one of the best things about being in the government,” Johnson said. “I have done a lot of contemplating lately — thinking about March 2023 — and I sat down with my wife the other day after some of the stuff that has gone on, and I was thinking about retiring.
“I’ve been in this office for 30-something years and I’m not retiring — I’m going to run again in 2023,” he said.