Proposed Apartments Near Bonneville

Proposed Apartments Near Bonneville
Community Meeting for Proposed Apartments Near Bonneville

Community Meeting for Proposed Apartments Near Bonneville

The community meeting on January 26, 2016 for a 296 Apartment complex on the corner of Bonneville and Colonial was attended by about 25 people, including Emily Bonilla.  All residents in attendance, for the exception of about 3 people (whom many were landowners, developers or in the real estate business) were opposed to the proposed Apartment Complex.   They were opposed for many reasons.

The residents nearby in Lake Pickett Manor wanted a gate around the apartment complex to keep foot traffic and crime out of their subdivision from the proposed apartment residents.  The subdivision residents who lived along the southern perimeter also complained about their view of the 4-story apartment building behind their homes.  They were also concerned about the fire station nearby being overworked by the increase of new residents in the area, causing longer response times.  The proposed apartment complex applicants reassured them of the steps they were taking to prevent students from renting, which was also a concern to the residents.

Other residents complained about the traffic.  The area in front of the proposed Apartment Complex currently has bottleneck traffic due to the access of the 408 ramp and is now under construction to add additional lanes to increase it to a 6 lane highway.  Studies are currently underway to determine if 408 should be extended along Colonial Drive to Avalon Park Blvd.

In addition, if the controversial projects Lake Pickett North and Lake Pickett South are approved this year by the Orange County Commissioners, those new projects will add enough traffic onto Colonial Drive/SR 50 to require 10 lanes in front of this proposed Apartment Complex.  The state only allows up to 6 lanes.  A 6 lane road to hold the capacity for 10 lanes of traffic will cause horrendous gridlock traffic conditions.

According to the county’s traffic engineer at the meeting, the maximum daily trips for the current zoning is about 10,000.  When drilled by the residents at the meeting what that meant, it was discovered that the current zoning is for 50,000 square footage of office space and at the time of the meeting an unknown amount of commercial space and the daily trips for that was unknown.

However, the landowners can ask to increase their office and commercial space to about 1 million square footage of office space, but the kicker is that the  Commissioners would have to approve that. And that was where the 10,000 trip count came in; it was for the 1 million square footage, not the current amount of square footage allowed.  If the residents in the area wanted to compare what choice would have less traffic, this meeting did not provide them with the answers to decide that.

The proposed Apartment Complex will need commissioner’s approval and so will increasing the the office space square footage.  Therefore, either way, the decision to increase or prevent the increase of traffic onto Colonial Drive is up to the Commissioners.  At least this is what you may think…

The State prevents the Commissioners from turning down rezoning requests based on traffic conditions.  Therefore, it will be very easy for the property owners to get the increase in office and commercial square footage because it will still be in the same type of zoning.

However, to rezone it to Apartments, they will need to go through a tougher process that does allow the Commissioners to prevent the rezoning due to traffic.  But this will not prevent them from asking to increase the number of apartments later from their request of 296 apartments if they do get their rezoning approved.  If they get their rezoning approved for the apartments, they will be able to ask for up to 50 residences per acre and the acreage is 9.99 acres – that is a total of 499 apartments.

Other information that wasn’t shared by the applicants or the staff members there, but was shared by another real estate professional at the meeting, was that the zoning currently allowed is about to expire.  This means that they will lose any office/commercial space development rights if it expires and the Commissioners do not approve to renew it.  Therefore, if the Commissioners choose, they can deny the office/commercial space that is currently there as well, unless the landowners develop it before the expiration date.  However, with the way things have been working, it is highly unlikely our current Board of Commissioners will deny renewal.

If any of this information seems confusing to you, you are not alone.  But the basic information is that it is up to the Commissioners to decide what gets approved and what doesn’t.  Please, do your research on the candidates for the upcoming elections.  This election is very important to get into office the people who are going to stand up for what is right and represent the people who put them into office.

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