July 25, 2018
By: Eric Gutierrez
An assisted-living facility could be coming to Horizon West.
Orange County leaders hosted a community meeting regarding a change determination request pertaining to a 6.55 acre parcel at 8498 Seidel Road.
The property is located in a “townhome district” of the existing Horizon West Village F. The requested change would allow for the development of a 75-bed assisted-living facility instead of townhomes. The property is currently entitled to the development of up to 19 townhomes, Orange County Planner Jason Sorensen said.
“They’re amending the PD (planned development) to change that (current entitlement for townhomes) to allow for ALF — the assisted-living facility,” Sorenson said. “Our code allows it, because it considers it a special exception.”
Tara Tedrow, of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster Kantor & Reed, P.A., spoke on behalf of the applicant for the project. She said only 2.8 acres of the property’s 6.55 acres are developable and that the 75-bed assisted living facility would be housed in one building.
“We are seeking to have our development standards in line with what would be permitted in Horizon West,” Tedrow said. “In our opinion, this provides a needed amenity for a community. There’s certainly … a demand in the market for these types of services for a certain demographic that lives in Central Florida, and we’re hoping to be able to provide them a comfortable, safe place to live.”
Many residents that attended the meeting voiced concerns of traffic that this project would bring. Tedrow said the traffic impact of building an assisted-living facility would be no different than building townhomes.
“We had our team run the numbers and look at what would residential (traffic) generate as opposed to an assisted-living facility, and there’s no difference,” Tedrow said. “What we’re asking for does not generate any more traffic based on the numbers our engineers ran versus what would be allowed — by right — today on the property.”
She said some residents at assisted-living facilities don’t own a car and added the project would have no impact on schools.
“If we had townhomes or single-family residential, that certainly has an impact on schools,” Tedrow said. “In terms of the use we (are asking for) there is zero impact on any of our public-school facilities.”
John and Ginny Rivielle live in Lakeview Pointe, near the subject property. They said they were opposed to the facility and cited traffic and potential effects to their property’s value as their biggest concerns.
“What is this going to do to our property values?” Ginny said. “It just doesn’t belong there. … I didn’t pay the price I did for my house to live next to a nursing home.”
“Summerlake Parkway can be backed up north of Seidel (Road) a quarter of a mile without any exaggeration to get down the parkway,” John said. “It’s not going to help (with traffic).”
Brian Johnson is the lead pastor of Citrus Church, which meets at Bridgewater Middle School. He said he believes there is a need in the community for the proposed assisted-living facility.
“In my mind, there is a need in this area for how we care for the older generation — those who invested in us to get us where we are,” Johnson said. “We can’t just be a young community; we need all ages.”
District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey reminded residents that just because a developer makes a request does not mean the County Commission will approve what is requested. She added that if the request is denied, the developer still has current entitlements.
“If this doesn’t go through, they still have the vested right to build the townhomes there,” VanderLey said.