July 25, 2018
By: Eric Gutierrez
Orange County commissioners voted to transmit two large development projects near the Dr. Phillips area.
Both the Kerina Parkside Planned Development project and O-Town West project moved forward during their respective transmittal hearings July 10.
The Kerina project is situated on a 215.67-acre parcel generally located east and west of South Apopka-Vineland Road, south of Buena Vista Woods Boulevard and north of Lake Street.
The applicant representing the property owners, Miranda Fitzgerald, of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster Kantor & Reed P.A., is requesting to change the future land-use map designation of the property from low density residential, low-medium density residential, and rural/agricultural to planned development-commercial/office/medium density residential/low density residential/senior living/conservation.
The change would allow for the development of up to 450 single-family dwelling units featuring a mix of housing types; 350 multi-family dwelling units; 200 senior-living units; 100,000 square feet of commercial/retail; 50,000 square feet of office; a three-acre park; and 93 acres set aside for conservation.
“We’re asking for a mix of uses,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve asked for different densities … (and) for single-family and multi-family, and we’d like the ability to be creative about that. We’d like to have some townhomes. We’d like to have some smaller lots.”
The O-Town West project is proposed for an 84.32-acre property located north of Interstate 4, south of Fenton St. and east of Lake Ruby. The applicant is proposing to amend the future land-use map designation of the property from activity center mixed use, activity center residential, and low-medium density residential to Planned Development-Commercial/Medium-High Density Residential.
Approving the request would allow up to 1,800 dwelling units and up to 415,142 square feet of commercial space.
“We’ve striven very hard on compatibility to keep any of this density away from the neighbors that are to the northwest,” said Jim Hall, who spoke on behalf of the project. “We have everything down near interchange where it always historically has been ACMU (activity center mixed use).”
Although both projects would impact the Dr. Phillips community if approved, it was the Kerina Project that faced opposition. Eleven residents voiced grievances over impacts on traffic, property values and other concerns.
Robert Strong is a member of the Parkside Homeowners Association’s Board of Directors. He said the area in which the Kerina subject property is located is part of a transitional area between the tourist side of town and residential side. He argued that approving the project could disrupt that transitional area.
“Currently, as you travel up the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs-area, you can see a transition take place into the single-family-home areas,” Strong said. “That transition helps as far as noting where the tourist side and where the … resident side is.”
Roy Messinger has been a resident of Buena Vista Woods for 21 years. He also was concerned over the Kerina project’s potential impacts to the transition.
“The plan on the books now with the future land use the way it is now has transitions that should be kept, and we shouldn’t be changing it because anything they’re asking for belongs on Palm Parkway, which has the designation of ACMU (Activity Center Mixed Use),” he said, referring to the project’s current entitlements and the current land-use designations of the area.
District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey motioned to transmit the Kerina project “with a lot of reservations,” she said.
“In its current state, there’s way too many things that we don’t know,” VanderLey said. “I’m going to buy a little bit of time for us to get to the point where we all understand it completely and we understand what they’re proposing.”
Fitzgerald said she is pleased with the outcome.
“We understand we need to show where the specific uses are, and we will,” she said. “I’m very pleased we got it transmitted. We always had a challenge with the homeowners there. … We think the project has merit, and we’ll work with commissioners and neighbors moving forward.”