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Ocoee commission approves church school plan
West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015 3 years ago

Ocoee commission approves church school plan

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by: Jennifer Nesslar Reporter

OCOEE-Church1

OCOEE  The Ocoee City Commission unanimously approved a special exception for a church, Iglesia Cristiana Sendero De Luz, to use six portables for a school the church is planning.

This is an amendment to a July 1, 2014, special exception, which allowed the church to use three portables.

Under the special exception, the church must remove three portables once it begins construction on a permanent building, which should take place seven years from the date of the original exemption. This gives the church five-and-one-half years to start construction. Once work commences, the church will have 18 months to complete it. At that time, the remaining three portables must be removed.

The timeline differs a bit from Pastor Ricardo Orsini’s original understanding of it.

“It was a surprise for me because my original understanding was that it would be seven years from the time we had our (certificate of occupancy), Orsini said. “Obviously, we’re not using the buildings for that purpose. I felt that to be a little unfair because it took us over a year just to get them permitted. I’m being penalized for following the procedures they have in place.”

The church still has not received its C.O., but Orsini believes he will have it in November. 

Mayor John Grogan understood the challenges the small church faces, especially now that there is five-and-one-half years left before the church must begin construction. 

“Now this puts you back a year and a half, which is pretty tragic,” he said. “We understand, we’ve been over to your place, we understand the whole thing. I want to be very fair with you before you invest in it, because it’s a very large investment for you to proceed with this.”

The church plans to open the school in January. At that time, the preschool portion will be established, with hopes of opening an elementary school later. The location also will facilitate a middle and high school in the back portables, under an already-established educational program. 

Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen wanted to make sure there was a timeframe for all the portables to come down.

“This particular city doesn’t like them,” Orsini said of the portables. “That was their biggest hiccup.”

IN OTHER NEWS

- Dewitt Excavating was awarded a bid for $1,425,549.10 to improve the drainage system on Bluford Avenue from Columbus to Seventh streets. 

- The commission approved the annexation and rezoning of the Asnine & Dukes property on 5907 Ingram Road. The land includes a single-family residence and Joan’s Villa Assisted Living Facility, a minor-community residential home which holds a maximum of seven residents. 

- A first reading occurred for two properties seeking to be rezoned to a planned unit development. One property is Crystal Investments Assisted Living Facility, which seeks rezoning to allow for an assisted living and memory care facility. The other is the Ocoee Landings, which seeks rezoning for mixed-use development. The public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 20.

Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].

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