City OKs Golden Pond Communities expansion

Winter Garden leaders approved the rezoning of 4.8 acres of land on West Plant Street, allowing Golden Pond Communities to add a 60-bed building.

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  • | 1:34 p.m. November 18, 2020
This map highlights the original 15.83-acre Found Life Church property. The church has since sold 4.803 acres of it to Golden Pond Communities for the assisted-living facility expansion.
This map highlights the original 15.83-acre Found Life Church property. The church has since sold 4.803 acres of it to Golden Pond Communities for the assisted-living facility expansion.
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Golden Pond Communities is another step closer to expanding its assisted-living footprint.

At their Nov. 12 meeting, Winter Garden commissioners unanimously approved Ordinance 20-36, which rezones a piece of land on West Plant Street from R-2 (Residential District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development).

The subject property is located on 4.803 acres at 1001 W. Plant St., west of Lakeview Road and south of Tildenville School Road. Two properties — one with a single-family home and the other with Golden Pond, which has five single-story assisted-living facilities — abut the site to the north.

This would allow for the development of a 60-bed assisted-living facility — an expansion of the existing Golden Pond facility. The project also includes associated site improvements like parking, open space and stormwater ponds.

Originally, the proposal included plans for expanding the Found Life Church. According to city documents, the entire property — a total of 15.83 acres — originally was owned by the Found Life Church, which decided to partner with the developers of the Golden Pond Assisted Living Facility north of the property to propose the project. 

Initially, the project called for the 60-bed assisted-living facility, a 150-seat expansion of the existing church and a 500-seat gymnasium to be used by the church.

At the Oct. 22 meeting, Found Life Church opted to remove itself from the planned church expansion and associated uses. It has since sold the 4.803 acres to the Golden Pond developers, and the assisted-living facility is its own PUD. 

According to city documents, the assisted-living facility comprises 32,570 square feet. Nearby is the two-story, 14,860-square-foot church. 

“At the last meeting, (it was) asked what the unit count was at the existing Golden Pond,” Community Development Director Steve Pash said. “At the existing five single-story buildings, there are 90 assisted (living) and 18 memory-care units for a total of 108. … At the entrance as you come in there at their east corner, they’re building another two-story building that will have 46.”

According to city documents, staff held a virtual community meeting Aug. 24, during which the applicant presented the original proposal. Most comments, staff said, focused mainly on the permitted building heights.

“All concerns have been addressed by the applicant and staff through the use of the PUD zoning designation and limiting the heights to (35 feet) with an allowance of 45 feet for church steeples or architectural features,” staff wrote. “Staff has coordinated with the applicant to ensure that the development of the property will be consistent with the surrounding residential communities both in the scale and size of the building, as well as the open-space standards and impervious surface ratio criteria.”



Commissioners also unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Orange County and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said the city has the opportunity to partner with the county and the Boys & Girls Clubs to build a new facility in Winter Garden, to be located on 7.49 acres just south of Shepherd’s Hope at 459 Ninth St.

“They were going to build and expand (at) the Mildred Dixon Center, which is adjacent to the Magic gym,” Bollhoefer said. “That fell through, so … we were approached, actually, by Commissioner (Betsy) VanderLey for the city to find an alternative location. … When we ended up with that land, we made the deal with Dreyfus (Citrus) when we did the deal with their annexation many, many years ago. It was always the intent that this land would be used for the benefit for their community.”

The city’s contribution would be a long-term lease at minimal cost and waiving both impact fees and building fees, Bollhoefer said. The county will contribute funds for the building’s construction, while the Boys & Girls Clubs will build and maintain the club, as well as provide additional funds necessary to build. Lease details will be determined in a separate agreement to come back to the City Commission.

“It will provide a great … amenity and asset for the community and the children there,” Bollhoefer said.


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