By Marc Crail Mount Dora Councilman, District 4 Representative
There were 2 meetings today, a work session from 3:00 to about 5:15 and then a "regular" meeting from 6:00 to 9:45. It was a long evening!
I'll tell you about a few of the most important items but once again please remember that what follows are my take and I'm only one council member. Not everyone might not agree with me. You've heard that from me before.
The Work Session included discussions about our Strategic Planning process, the proposed new Public Works Building, a downtown parking update, a policy review as well as a proposed Charter Review process. These were all discussions only, not action items tonight.
The "regular" meeting featured 2 new development resolutions.
The first and by far the longest discussion was about a developer's request for changes in the use of property located outside of Mount Dora near the Publix shopping plaza and the Stoneybrook residential development just across the Orange County line along U.S. Rt. 441. You might be wondering why an Orange County development outside of our city limits is any of our business. It is our business due to a longstanding (1996) JPA (Joint Planning Area) agreement we have with Orange County because we provide water, sewer utilities to Stoneybrook Hills. The property is currently approved to be used for 7.5 acres of office buildings and 280 homes on 56 acres of 55+ age restricted homes. Now the developer has requested to change the 7.5 acre parcel from office space to retail commercial space which we eventually approved on a 7-0 vote.
He also wanted to change the 280 homes for residents 55+ on the remaining 56 acres and instead build 500 non age restricted apartments or condos which would nearly double the density from about 5 homes per acre to over 9 homes per acre. The buildings would be at least 3 stories high. Most of us were worried about the density issue and that request was denied in a 6-1 vote with only Mayor Girone voting to approve it. Because Orange County officials have already approved both of the developer's requests, the proposal may well be revised and is likely to come back to us at a later date for reconsideration.
The second development is named Mount Dora Landings. It will include 129 single family homes on 34 acres (about 4 Energy Star rated homes per acre) to be located on land that is currently an orange grove at the top of Grandview. We approved a zoning change from
R-2 (single family or duplex) to Medium Density Residential (only single family homes). The homes will sit on 50' lots. We think this community will be a good addition to Mount Dora. The homes will be at least 1250 sq. ft. and will all include garages and buffered perimeter green space. This passed on a 7-0 vote.
Since yesterday was Martin Luther King Day I thought I'd share a few of my favorite quotes from Dr. King who was my childhood hero.
"The time is always right to do what is right."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." and my personal favorite,
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend."
What a great orator he was! Thanks as always for the opportunity to be your District 4 City Council Representative.