The Oakland Town Commission is paving the way for a new single-home community with the approval of three ordinances at the March 22 meeting.
The final second readings approved the annexation of 45 acres from Orange County to town of Oakland and the Comp Plan from rural to low-density residential. The third, to take place at a future meeting, would rezone 70 acres of the property from A-1 Agricultural and R-1 Single-Family Residential to PD Planned Development.
Briley Farms applicants propose to add a total of 150 homes on a total of 115 acres in two phases off Jefferson Avenue near Lake Apopka. The 45-acre Phase 1 is east of Jefferson, and Phase 2, with 70 acres, is to the west of the street.
According to the conceptual plan, smaller lots are proposed centrally on the site with larger lots on the perimeter and in the northern portion toward the lake.
The property will include several small pocket parks, said Town Planner Jay Marder, and several tracts on the west side of the project are being dedicated to the Oakland Nature Preserve. The applicants are Jefferson R. Voss, Jefferson Rich Voss Trust and Voss Family Holdings LLC.
One of the neighborhood entrances will be off Oakland Avenue at Jefferson Avenue — close to a major curve in the road — and the need for a turn lane was discussed.
“The traffic planner said you really need a turn lane to slow traffic down because of the blind spot,” Marder said.
The town is embarking on a Complete Streets plan that will improve the aesthetics of Oakland Avenue, and this turn lane, estimated to cost $85,000, will need to comply with that look, he added. The turn lane will be paid for by the developer.
Several residents had concerns about the project, the traffic it would bring to the town, speed limits on the side streets and safety on the West Orange Trail.
Traffic studies were conducted on Jefferson Street, Briley Avenue and Tubb Street and submitted to the town; multiple intersections were studied in that area as well. Marder said the only issue was the need for the turn lanes.
Town Manager Steve Koontz said town officials have been discussing lowering the speed limit from 35 mph to 25 mph in this section of Oakland Avenue. This portion of the road will be included in the future when golf carts are allowed in designated areas of the town.
Koontz added that the town does not plan to pave any of the dirt streets in that area. Furthermore, to address the speed limit on side streets, town staff is proposing 15 mph on all dirt roads and 20 mph on all paved roads other than Oakland Avenue.
IN OTHER BUSINESS
• The Town Commission, after removing an item pertaining to Starr Street utility improvements, approved the consent agenda, which included the following: a termination of the Oakland Police Department’s current IT vendor and a transition to iVenture to handle all police IT issues and projects beginning April 4; a memorandum of understanding and working agreement for protocol in situations dealing with vulnerable adults, including the elderly; a bid award to Carr & Collier Inc., of Lake County, for the construction of Lift Station No. 6 near Catherine Ross Road at a cost of $509,700.
• Commissioners approved two resolutions. The first shows the town’s support in the placement of a 1% Transportation Surtax referendum on the Nov. 8 countywide ballot for consideration by Orange County voters.
The second resolution supports the county’s Local Mitigation Strategy that addresses “natural, technological and human-caused hazards” that can “endanger … residents and other municipalities, threaten private business operations, and compromise quality of life.”
• Oakland Police Chief John Peek introduced to the commission one member of the department with a new rank and three new officers. Roger Fischer has been promoted to corporal. He has twice won the Crisis Intervention Team award, in addition to many service awards. The new additions are Detective Michael Bryant and officers Reynalis Rojas Mercado and Ralph Spzak.
Spzak is a former New York police officer, Bryant is retired from the Ocoee Police Department, and Rojas Mercado is a recent police academy graduate.
“We truly have to look for the right people of moral courage, civility, education,” Peek said. “We took our time and found, what I think, are the right people.”
• The commission learned the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has authorized the immediate treatment of hydrilla on 6,000 acres on the south side of Lake Apopka.
• Commissioners Rick Polland and Joseph McMullen were sworn into office for their next four-year terms.
• Stark read proclamations for Water Conservation Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month and Wear Blue Day.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.