Two weeks after voting to support a no-build resolution for the Florida Department of Transportation/Turnpike Authority’s proposed Avalon Road interchange, Winter Garden City Commission celebrated the withdrawal of the project during its Oct. 28 meeting.
"Our strategy was... if they could see the number of people in opposition, we felt it would be our best shot, early on, to kill this before it could move any further," City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said of the Oct. 7 public meeting at Tanner Hall, in which residents rallied against the Avalon Road interchange. "The community showed up in great numbers, they spoke, and the FDOT listened."
The withdrawal was announced during the West Orange Chamber of Commerce Economic & Governmental Advocacy Committee meeting Friday, Oct. 22. "This is an example of when they do listen and it's because of what the city, and its residents and businesses did," said City Attorney Kurt Ardaman. "It's an unusual situation because 90-95% of the time they do not make that kind of a change."
The Oct. 28 meeting also included an approval to rezone 7.25 acres, along Story Road between South Lakeview Avenue and South Central Avenue, from R2 (residential district) to planned unit development for the construction of the Lakeview Village Estates residential project. Plans include 26 new single-family homes and three townhome buildings containing a total of 14 units.
Commissioner Ron Mueller is concerned with the project's inclusion of three high-density townhome buildings, but voted in favor of the rezoning. "It is true that, if it went back to R2 zoning, it would be greater density than what we have," he said. "But I'd still like to talk to the developer, revisit the townhomes and either eliminate, or at lease reduce, one of the three units they're building."