The Oakland Town Commission is doing its part in keeping West Orange Trail users as safe as possible. At the April 26 meeting, elected officials passed a resolution that allows the town to add stop signs for north-south vehicle traffic at key trail intersections.
The signs should be in place this week.
A yearlong study by the traffic consulting firm Myra Planning and Design determined the intersections at Starr, Arrington, Cross, Daniels, Walker and Nixon streets would benefit by the addition of stop signs. Winters Landing Drive and Tubb Street, also part of the study, already have signs in place.
According to the study, further analysis is required where there is construction, where the intersections with the trail are not 90 degrees or where there is limited vehicular stacking distance, such as at Gulley Avenue/Jefferson Street, Machete Trail and Hull Island/Simeon Road.
Myra Monreal, of the consulting firm, reported 56 crash reports from 2016 to 2020. Within the study area, there was an average of 11 motorist and non-motorist crashes per year. Twenty years ago, she reported, there was a higher volume of traffic on the intersecting roads. Today, trail traffic exceeds road traffic in that area of Oakland.
The stop signs along the trail will remain because they belong to Orange County.
MULTIPLE-HOUSING DEVELOPMENT DISCUSSION
The Town Commission held a work session prior to the commission meeting to discuss the future of multiple-housing developments and how the town wants to approach them. Town Planner Jay Marder walked commissioners through the town’s history with multi-family dwellings.
According to town officials, after the commission approved The Avenue at Oakland apartment complex, the developer pulled a “bait and switch” on the town, so the town set its first six-month moratorium on such construction in March 2018. It then was extended for another six months. During that time, the town adopted new zoning code and architectural design guidelines.
Marder stressed the commission’s desire to keep Oakland’s “Mayberry” charm but acknowledged there are three pieces of property that are appropriately suited for multi-family housing.
“The (West Colonial Drive) corridor is where things are going to happen,” Marder said.
The goal is to “humanize” Colonial, he said.
“There was a pretty good consensus with Planning & Zoning and Architectural Review Board —there is room for multiple-family housing,” Marder said. “There’s been 25% rental housing in the town forever, since the early 2000s. You might not see rental housing, but it’s there and it’s pretty significant. … Every day there are people looking for apartment space.”
“It’s not a matter of ‘if’ we need,” Satterfield said. “It’s a matter of how many we need? … What do we want to look like, and how fast do we want to get there?”
“I’d like to stay like Mayberry,” Commissioner Sal Ramos said. “If people are going to come here and ask for an apartment, it needs to be a Mayberry apartment. A gas station needs to look like a Mayberry apartment.”
“If somebody makes an offer on a hotel, it needs to look like a Mayberry hotel,” Ramos said. “We can’t get this wrong again. We don’t have the space. … We only have a few spaces left.”
IN OTHER NEWS
• At the Town Commission meeting, elected officials approved the consent agenda, which included the acceptance of improvements to the Oakland portion of the 18-lot Lake Apopka Sound neighborhood and to Starr Street and its utilities. In addition, the commission passed a resolution approving the Phase Two final plat for Lake Apopka Sound, a small development on 9.5 acres.
• Applicant Allen Jacobs was granted permission to expand the 720-square-foot building at 5 E. Oakland Ave. The additional square footage will measure about 4,800 square feet: a two-story addition to the west end of the existing building plus a single story to the north. This will be the first project to come in the town under the Complete Streets guidelines. A parking lot will be constructed on the east side of the property. The resident to the east has asked that the applicant install a fence to separate the two properties.
• A representative of Oakland Avenue Charter School gave a presentation on the school’s technology program and gave an update on its infrastructure, hardware management and system management.
• Mayor Pro Tem Mike Satterfield read a proclamation recognizing Teacher Appreciation Week and Teacher Appreciation Day.
• The commission approved the appointment of Tim Watts as a regular member on the Planning and Zoning Board.