- July 19, 2019
The Winter Garden City Commission listened to more than a dozen Foxcrest community residents at the Aug. 27 meeting, all of whom spoke against a proposed senior-living facility at Reaves Road and Stoneybrook West Parkway.
The developer wants to build a three-story independent living facility and two-story assist-living facility totaling 166 units, at 12910 Reaves Road, which would abut residents living on Dallington Terrace in Foxcrest. The project, called Stoneybrook Senior Care, includes 10 detached two-car garage buildings as well.
“This development goes against promises made in the past,” said Jeff Roberts, one of several speakers who lives on Dallington and whose property is close to the site.
He cited its excessive scale and potential noise, as well as the decreasing property values he and his neighbors will ultimately have.
“This simply does not belong in our backyard,” he said.
Roberts asked that the developer either bring back a smaller-scale facility or take the business elsewhere.
His neighbor, Rick McDowell, agreed, saying the area is residential and should not have a commercial development in it.
“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “We’re the ones who are going to get hit in the pocketbook one day when we go to sell our house.”
Other residents shared their fears of increased traffic along Reaves and the aesthetic.
“We are in full support of a senior living facility, but not in that location and not to that size,” Kristin Elliott said.
The applicant, Allan Bradley, said he has made multiple changes to the initial plans and has extended the conservation portion of the property and have made what he thinks is a fair offer to the neighboring community to create a landscape buffer.
“I believe in Winter Garden, and I believe we really do have something that will fit into the fabric of Winter Garden,” Bradley said.
The vote was 4-1 in favor of approving five ordinances associated with the project, with Commissioner Colin Sharman opposing.
“I can’t vote for this … for my constituents,” Sharman said.
WRITER’S BLOCK BOOKSTORE
Downtown Winter Garden is getting an independent bookstore at 32 W. Plant St. City staff requested a targeted retail grant for $50,000, $25,000 from the city and $25,000 from the Community Redevelopment Agency to assist with interior alterations and buildout costs associated with getting the space ready to open in the fall.
City Manager Mike Bollhoefer discussed the project, which he called a targeted retail incentive.
He said it’s important to bring anchor stores to the downtown sector because it brings in shoppers. Downtown anchors become a cultural hub, he said.
“Bookstores are one of those top-notch retail stores,” he said. “People like the touch and feel of books.”
Writer’s Block will sell mostly new books and hold story time for children and adult readings.
“We have SoBo, the theater, the heritage foundation; this bookstore fits in with all that cultural type of activity,” Bollhoefer said. “We’re also considering a small quality toy store and small quality sports store.”
Both the City Commission and the CRA approved the grants.
IN OTHER BUSINESS
• The commission passed the second reading and public hearing relating to the rezoning of 1441 Winter Garden Vineland Road for a new charter school facility for UCP of Central Florida West Orange Campus; the addition of an automotive service center to the list of approves businesses in the West Market Planned Commercial Development on West Colonial Drive, with Commissioner Mark Maciel abstaining; and a volunteer annexation of a piece of property used for overflow parking at the Winter Garden Animal Hospital.
• Prior to the regular meeting, the City Commission held a workshop on the Fiscal Year 2020-21 proposed budget. The budget will be discussed at two budget hearings at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, Sept. 3 and 17.