Winter Garden acquires right of way for S.R. 429 improvements

Commissioners green-lighted the purchases to assist with widening Plant Street at the expressway interchange.

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  • | 9:51 a.m. June 30, 2021
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Winter Garden leaders approved two right of way acquisitions to make room for proposed improvements to the State Road 429/Plant Street interchange.

At the June 23 City Commission meeting, Planning Consultant Ed Williams told commissioners the Central Florida Expressway Authority has been making substantial investments for improvements in the Winter Garden area for the last decade. That includes the recent addition of on and off ramps to Stoneybrook West Parkway.

Although CFX is now proposing major improvements to the S.R. 429/Plant Street interchange, Williams said, it needed to acquire more right of way to do so.

“(For) many of those improvements, the basis was the city going to the Expressway Authority, and now it’s gotten to the point where they’re coming to us with projects,” Williams said. “The city has always been willing to participate financially in those projects, and again, on this project, they were asking for some participation, which was to acquire the right of way.”

Williams said CFX currently has a program in the works with an estimated 20 to 30 projects under its umbrella. The S.R. 429/Plant Street interchange improvements fall under this program.

However, he said, by the time CFX gave city staff the right of way drawings, “it would’ve been physically impossible to condemn properties to get that right of way.” 

“They came to the city and said, ‘Your participation is to acquire the right of way for us’ — both the city of Ocoee, and us and our jurisdictions,” Williams said.

Winter Garden had to acquire two pieces of right of way for the project. The first required 15,442 square feet of right of way on Plant Street from Winter Garden Property, LLC, also known as the Strates property. The second requires 2,854 square feet of right of way on Plant Street from Ocoee Business Park, LLC.

Williams said the Strates family has been involved with Plant Street widening efforts in the past. The piece of right of way needed from them is a strip along the frontage that will allow for widening of the road and sufficient turn lanes at the intersection. The objective is to improve traffic flow in the area.

“We have previously worked with these property owners, so we have good relationships, and we’re here at the last minute finally with the agreements for your consideration,” Williams said.

Williams said the city would purchase the right of way from the Strates for $123,536. From Ocoee Business Park, LLC, the cost would be $22,832.

“As you know how properties at interchanges are valued, we believe we’re getting a very good deal in this, and the property owners recognize that those improvements make their properties even more valuable, so they’ve come to a reasonable accommodation on this one,” Williams said.

“These funds will be coming from impact fees, so when this property is developed, they will pay a significant more amount in impact fees to cover this cost,” added City Manager Mike Bollhoefer.



Commissioners also unanimously approved purchasing the house and property at 1175 Lincoln Terrace in east Winter Garden.

As part of the area’s redevelopment program, city staff recommended acquiring commercial and residential properties. Buying this house, Williams said, would assist in negotiations on other properties identified in the plan for acquisition and redevelopment.

“We’re looking for properties for housing units, we’re looking for properties for utilities for drainage improvements, we’re looking at properties for sidewalk, and some of the property owners that we’re approaching to acquire the property are looking to trade rather than just purchase the property,” Williams said. “If they have a home and want to stay in that community, they’re saying, ‘Find us a home and trade us a home.’”

The house on Lincoln Terrace will be added to the city’s inventory when staff approaches someone about trading properties. Williams said it was reviewed by the building department, and there are about five hours’ worth of electrical work and two to three hours of roofing work that needs to be done.


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