Aloma Townhome Development Reverts to Single Family

Ansaka LLC Does a Graceful Pivot

Aloma Townhome Development Reverts to Single Family

Ansaka LLC, the developer who made bright yellow ‘No Density’ signs sprout like daffodils from lawns along Aloma last April, returned to P&Z July 10 with a request to subdivide 1.45 acres of the property into six single-family building lots.

Neighbors Balk at 18 Townhomes

In April, Ansaka appealed to the City for Comprehensive Plan future land use and zoning changes to build 18 residential townhouses on the north side of Aloma Avenue between Lakemont and Phelps. City staff and the Planning & Zoning Board gave the project a thumbs up. When the project came before the Commission on April 9, however, neighbors’ concerns had manifested in the form of bright yellow “No Density” signs, and 24 residents spoke in opposition to the project. The Commission voted to table the item, giving the developer, Andrew Ryan, time to regroup.

Application Tabled

Ryan subsequently met individually with each Commissioner and with the design team to come up with an alternate plan. Ryan also heeded neighbors’ concerns in coming up with what he called “the most conservative pivot plan available.”

Graceful Pivot to Plan B

Ansaka now proposes to replat the entire property, which includes 1.45 acres zoned R1A, single family, and approximately 17,700 square feet of land zoned O2, office. The R1A portion of the property, measuring 250’ x 250’, will be subdivided into six single-family building lots. The office zoned portion will be developed at a later date, but was included in the replat so that future users would have access to the common drive, which provides safe access to Aloma.

The six-lot single-family subdivision will have three lots to the south, toward Aloma, and three lots directly behind them to the north. The lots will have shared driveways and parking.

Approval Recommended

The City Planning staff recommended approval of the redesigned development, stating it will be “. . .good for Winter Park, its residents and the neighboring community.” The plan maintains current zoning, allows an access easement for the commercial property to improve future traffic patterns, preserves existing heritage live oak trees and incorporates street trees that will enhance the Aloma frontage.

In the next step, Ansaka will request approval from the Winter Park City Commission.

Local Developers Make Good Neighbors

This is the second developer this year – the other being Zane Williams of Z Properties — to run the gamut of public scrutiny and come to the City with an application that takes into account the needs and wishes of the entire community. Served well are the neighborhoods in which they seek to build, the neighbors, the City, the Comprehensive Plan – and the developers themselves. Both developers are Winter Park residents who exhibit an understanding for and sensitivity to what Winter Park is all about.

See the entire plan here. Graphic above is on page 32.

  • author's avatar

    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

  • author's avatar

7 replies
  1. Lisa Everett says:

    I’m happy beyond measure to see developers working with the City and its residents to think betond the profit box and come up with plans that everyone can get behind. It’s unlikely this ever would have happened without a vocal, involved, small but mighty group of residents safeguarding the qualities that make Winter Park unique. You know who you are. Cheers! I also admire the developers who see Winter Park as more than a place to make a nickel.

    Reply
    • Ed Sabori says:

      Kudos to the ‘mighty group’ and Beth Hall, not to mention Ansaka, City staff and Commissioners. Good to see that citizen’s concerns in Winter Park dont always end up in constant shouting at Commission meetings and personal accusations in this forum. Sure hope I didn’t speak too soon.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic news!! Thank you to the developer.

    I hope the developers at the Con-opy on Denning will follow suit ….so Winter Park isn’t like the Canyons at Maitland or Baldwin.

    Reply
  3. WP is Losing Ground says:

    Winter Park is falling behind other Central Florida cities in terms of forward thinking regarding land use.

    Minneola, FL in nearby Lake County has recently said no more residential development will be considered until 2023.

    Winter Park outdone by a Lake County city? Here’s the video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knAEK1l5MKQ

    Reply
    • "Last Night I dreamt I went to [Genius Preserve] again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter for the way was barred to me." says:

      Many thanks for sharing an excellent local news report. Going to follow this reporter.

      The issues Minneola elected political officials and their constituents are addressing, similarly to those in WP, are widespread throughout the U.S. There are grassroots local movements pitting longtime residents with elected officials who represent the interests of developers and outside industry, at the detriment of communities at large.

      This is a rare example of local government responsive to their constituents, working in concert with their input and interests.

      Appreciated past informative posts by WPV on resident-centered, preservationist movements in other places, and hope to see more.

      Many neighbors and I do not consider WP a pleasant retirement community any longer. Virginia Heights and a few other neighborhoods are nice enclaves, but not worth the struggle of growing traffic congestion, increased crime (burglaries), and increasing density.

      Some have already moved to NC, north GA, Hawai’i, and abroad. The rest of us are traveling to and sharing info on other communities.

      For those of us who grew up here, went away for university and work, Winter Park until 20 years ago was a beautiful community that we thought we would return to for retirement. It was like a dream because of the vision of the founders, brilliant, cultured local philanthropists like the McKeans, and gracious, engaged residents working to preserve historic architecture and culture. I was proud to bring my European and Japanese friends to visit here. They were stunned to see a city like this in the U.S.

      But I no longer invite people here. Traffic is unbearable, and so much of the historic architecture, sense of gracious living is gone.

      Hoping the WPPL offers another tour of the Genius Preserve and more of WP’s West Side. The Hannibal Square Heritage Center is a gem, as is the Morse Museum.

      Minneola won’t work out for us, but we’re glad to know there are places where participatory local government is a reality in Florida as well as in other states.

      Thank you again for sharing the clip, and thank you to WPV for some good news about local govt-development decisions.

      Reply
  4. Beth Hall says:

    What I would like to see happen when the formal replat comes before the city commission is for this proposal to be evaluated anew and on its own merits. Will that happen?
    (Recall that the Commission voted to table a previous request by the developer to build 18 town homes on the 5 parcels he owns to give him a chance to regroup.)

    In some ways the new proposal mimics the old. It will forever change the character, scale and appearance of what has been up to now a single row of single family homes. The 6 new homes in the proposed subdivision will sit two deep, rather than one deep. (There is nothing like this within 500 feet or even 1000 feet.) This violates Comp Plan Policy 1-3.6.8.

    Approval will mean a new precedent is set. Other land owners with sufficient lot width/depth on the block will for the first time be motivated to build 2 deep wherever they can squeeze the homes in. It is in this way that a nighborhood changes forever.

    Despite holding what is an abundance of land in these 4 contiguous lots (1.45 acres) the developer seeks to deviate from standard setbacks – i.e. 20 feet where 25 is required, 30 where 35 is required. He also seeks to cover more of the land than what the code permits. This is due to the fact that he wishes to exclude from lot coverage calculations the five paved visitor parking spaces and a driveway to connect to the 0-2 parcel which he will develop next door to this proposed new subdivision.

    The neighbors will never complain. They’re so relieved not to be subjected to EIGHTEEN town homes that they’re grateful. Amazing what asking for 18 town homes in a SF neighborhood can do to change hearts and minds about what comes next.

    Article VI, Section 58-377 (b) of the Comp Plan states, in part, “…This provision is specifically intended to allow the denial or revision by the city of proposed lot splits, lot consolidations, plats, replats or subdivisions when those are not in conformance with the existing neighborhood density or standards, even if the proposed lots meet the minimum technical requirements of the zoning regulations.”

    Somehow this provision as well as Policy 1-3.6.8 were omitted from the packets for the P & Z hearing. Somehow, I think they matter.

    But the fact that ANSAKA previously sought build 18 town homes here does not mean that his proposal to build only 6 on a smaller parcel is wonderful.

    Reply

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