Ocoee leaders approve proposal to turn shed into living space

However, Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen said she is concerned about the precedent the approval will set.

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  • | 12:08 p.m. November 12, 2021
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After several hearings regarding its newly adopted pet store ordinance, the Ocoee City Commission reconvened Nov. 2 for a less contentious meeting.

After discussion, commissioners approved resident Salvadore Cataldo’s request to turn an existing backyard shed into a living space for family on the property at 1910 Shari Lynn Terrace.

Cataldo asked the city to reduce the minimum rear building setback reduction from 25 feet to 10 feet to allow him to convert an existing shed in his yard into a living space for family members when they visit. The minimum rear yard setback is 25 feet, and Cataldo’s shed is 10.5 feet from the rear property line.

Cataldo wants to build a loft bed and a kitchenette in the space.

Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen expressed concerns about the proposal. 

“We are taking a single residence and making it higher density,” Wilsen said. “When you bring in another residence, the potential is that it could be rented as an apartment. Now, you have changed the dynamics of the neighborhood from a single-family neighborhood to higher-density living arrangements.” 

A representative for Cataldo replied there is space for additional parking at the house and that there is no chance for the space to be rented, because the utilities would have to be connected to the home. She also said it would not be disruptive to neighbors because there would be no construction going on outside. 

Development Services Director Mike Rumer said the city code allows a guest apartment or cottage on property of up to 600 square feet so this would not be a radical change to the city code if approved. 

“This variance is not creating the opportunity for (an on-site living space unattached to the home),” Rumer said. “It’s already there. We don’t have a code that says if you add an accessory structure, you have to do A, B, and C (to get it approved).”

However, Wilsen did not budge. 

“If they had just built onto the house, they would not have had a problem with the 25 feet,” she said. “If we do this, other houses will come to us and ask for a variance to put an additional residence property. It would change the dynamics … to a higher-density neighborhood.”

Ultimately, the commission voted 4-1 to approve the variance, with Wilsen dissenting. 


After several months of work, Fullers Cross Road is now open to the public. Ocoee city commissioners Larry Brinson and Richard Firstner and Mayor Rusty Johnson gave their seals of approval on the road. 

“I’m very pleased,” Brinson said. “It’s very smooth. I have not driven it during rush hour, but I suspect it will do quite well. The sequencing of the lights seems to be doing well.” 

“It looks wonderful and operates just fine,” Firstner said. “I’m very pleased to see that intersection fixed.” 


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