Citizens question county's Summerport village project

Residents in attendance inquired about additional traffic on Winter Garden-Vineland Road and drivers using the neighborhood as a cut-thru.

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Representatives from the Development Engineering Division of Orange County’s Public Works Department were present to answer questions at a community meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 2, regarding a new subdivision on Winter Garden-Vineland Road/County Road 535.

District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson, who was unable to attend, held the meeting at Independence Elementary School to get additional resident feedback on a 14-acre subdivision at 5504 Winter Garden-Vineland Road currently called Selnik PSP. It will be located across from Windermere High School on Lake Cawood and include 17 single-family units along the lake, as well as 93 townhomes on the north side of the development.

A fourth leg to the traffic signal already in place will be installed at the entrance of the neighborhood. A northbound left turn lane will be added as well.

Most of the concerns at the meeting were related to traffic. Area residents argued the neighborhood will bring additional vehicles to an already-busy stretch of C.R. 535, parents will congest the neighborhood entrance by using it as a drop-off and pick-up spot for Windermere High students, drivers will use the new development as a cut-thru to get to the Summerport community to the northwest.

“If you have 110 units, you probably have 200 cars,” one resident said. “Two hundred cars added to what they already have out there, in my mind, is a bit crazy, unless you add some lanes to 535 to accommodate the extra traffic. Traffic is backed up … from here to the next light.”

Orange County Public Works Project Manager Francisco Villar said the traffic study looks at peak-hour trips and not the sheer number of vehicles.

Jack Brown, who represented applicant Adam Smith of VHB Inc., said the traffic study yielded 71 PM peak-hour trips. Erika Hughes also represented Smith at the community meeting.

Villar said the design and timing of the new signal, in addition to the proposed turn lane, all will help with keeping traffic moving.

The project already has gone before the county’s Development Review Board for review, and a revised plan will be submitted following feedback from the community meeting.

“This has only been through one review cycle,” Villar said. “PSPs usually go through several cycles before they get approval.”

It will be at least January or February before the Orange County Board of County Commissioners sees the project.

The developer plans to build buffers on the west, north and east sides. Several buildings will be situated near the large tree in the center of the community that was saved, and while there are no plans for a clubhouse, a pool and outdoor space could be included. The townhomes will be rear loaded with alleyways to access the garages in back. The homes on the north end of the subdivision will face south so their backyards face the backyards of the neighboring development.

One meeting attendees asked how the developer plans to prevent Nectarine Drive from becoming a runway to Summerport.

“Everyone in Summerport is going to take that back route,” the resident said.

Hannah Gutner, senior aide to Commissioner Wilson, said the county has requested multiple stop signs and added Wilson would support a roundabout as well.

Villar said he planned to talk to the traffic division to see what measures can be taken to slow traffic.



Amy Quesinberry

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.

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