Split-lot proposal meets opposition

Lake Avalon Rural Settlement residents spoke against a neighbor’s request to divide the lot at 5521 Beta Ave., Winter Garden, to allow for an additional home.

The 4.98-acre lot is located at 5521 Beta Ave., Winter Garden.
The 4.98-acre lot is located at 5521 Beta Ave., Winter Garden.
Courtesy photo
  • Southwest Orange
  • News
  • Share

During an Orange County community meeting Tuesday, April 2, at Hamlin Elementary School, residents in the Lake Avalon Rural Settlement voiced their displeasure for an applicant’s request for a split-lot in the area. 

Owner and applicant Angelo Fiorino is requesting to amend the Future Land Use Map designation from Rural Settlement 1/5 to Rural Settlement 1/2 to allow for minimum two-acre lots to provide one additional home.

The 4.98-acre lot is located at 5521 Beta Ave., Winter Garden. The amendment would allow for one additional single-family home to be built on the property.

The current zoning for the property is Citrus Rural District, which allows for half-acre lots, and the proposed zoning is restricted A-1 “to ensure that a home will not be built on less than two acres, because the A-1 zoning designation does allow for half-acre lots,” Sara Haid, Orange County case planner, said.

“We’re trying to keep the integrity of the neighborhood and the rural settlement by restricting it to two acres,” she said. 

The area surrounding the subject property primarily consists of single-family homes, with Orange County-owned land to the south.


Laurie Forrester, resident of the Lake Avalon Rural Settlement, said the one thing she always tries to communicate is that the settlement is different from any other rural settlement in Orange County. She said she pulled up every parcel in the settlement to find the exact acreage of the properties, and she believes if the applicant's proposal was approved, it would set a precedent from which the community will never recover. 

“Our ordinance to become the Lake Avalon Rural Settlement states, ‘The predominant designation shall be one-to-five to reflect the existing development is compatible,’” she said. “Predominant is, meaning as far as parcels, the greater number of parcels must be one to five. Currently, it is not. … Here’s the scary thing. Of all the parcels we have here, less than five acres represents 342 parcels. Greater than five acres is 96 parcels. … I took the land mass of all the greater parcels … The reality is that if everybody who had an eligible parcel split the parcel … that would mean that there would be 130 five-acre parcels in our rural settlement. That is still substantially less than 342 parcels. We’re the only rural settlement that says our predominance must be one-to-five. So, to turn around and tell me that you’re going to take a predominance of one-to-five, per say, and turn it into one-to-two is a major issue with all of us. … We will no longer be able to have the same quality and character of our rural settlement, because no one will be able to stop the next request and the next request and the next request.”

“Most of the rural settlement is A-1, even though everybody is one per five” another resident said. “So, we’re all going to build a home on a half-acre; that’s not going to happen. The whole issue of the rural settlement is to be predominantly one home per five acres. This already has one home per five acres. That house has been there for 30 years. So, now, all of a sudden, they want to split it off and sell a lot, kind of like what everyone else has been trying to do, and will totally degrade the rural settlement, and we’re going to end up like the West Windermere Rural Settlement that you can’t even see as a rural settlement. … We’re desperately trying to protect what we have and not make any main changes to the one home per five acres and become more of an urban development than a rural settlement.”

Fiorino explained his reasoning for the request.

“I actually don’t need those two acres; I’ve never even walked down them,” he said. “So, I feel like I have to get rid of them or build another house for myself.”

Jason Sorensen, Orange County planner, said after speaking with District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson and residents in the Lake Avalon Rural Settlement, it is obvious the area is unique from the other settlements and may need more protection with a possible text amendment in Orange County code to not allow these types of applications.

Fiorino’s daughter said she has been helping her father throughout the process and spoke on his behalf regarding the request

“One thing I can say is from the beginning everyone has been more than helpful,” she said. “Never once have I heard that this wasn’t something good to try to do. I understand it’s our right to put in an application and do everything, but I had not heard anything negative like what I am hearing here right now. Had I had that information to share with him, we may or may not be here right now.”

The proposal next will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing Thursday, April 18, before moving on to a Board of County Commissioners meeting at a date to be determined.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

Latest News