Orange Ave. Steering Committee Formed

As Part of Planning Process for Orange Avenue Overlay

Orange Ave. Steering Committee Formed

What do we do with 54 and one-half acres of valuable, under-developed business/commercial parcels — land along the segment of Orange Avenue that runs from 17-92 up to Fairbanks? The area contains 103 parcels, more than 90 percent of which are less than an acre. The largest is around 6 acres.

What’s an Overlay?

One thing we can do is a Zoning Overlay. An overlay is basically new zoning district that sits atop the existing zoning map, one that adds special restrictions and incentives to make a discrete, identifiable district, a district that can create cultural consistency and equilibrium and avoid piecemeal development.

According to the Center for Land Use Education (CLUE), “. . . regulations or incentives are attached to the overlay district to protect a specific resource or guide to development within a specific area. . . .Potential uses might include: Create a walkable community, connect pathways; Preserve and enhance a special district; Encourage economic development; Protect the quality of surface and groundwater and manage storm water. . . .”

‘Blight’ on Orange Ave?

According to Planning and Community Development Director Bronce Stephenson, the Orange Avenue corridor has been economically stagnant for a number of years. Those of us who make the daily drive up and down Orange Avenue have become accustomed to the vitality of disconnected stretches of it, like Designers’ Row and the area around Foxtail’s and the Brewstillery. Interspersed among these hubs of activity, however, are parcels that have produced little more than weeds and first responder training facilities since the 2008 recession.

Big Three Stakeholders

Most of that unlovely, under-used land belongs to three large landholders. The Big Three are Demetree Holdings, Holler enterprises and the City of Winter Park. Although most of us wouldn’t call Orange Avenue “blighted” – it’s ours, we’re used to it — Stephenson brings a fresh pair of Okie Eyes (Bronce hails from Tulsa) that see an exciting opportunity for redevelopment that will integrate redevelopment with the culture, spirit and ambiance of Winter Park.

Creation of a Third Place

Toward that end, Stephenson has formed a steering committee where citizens from across the political spectrum will come together, find common ground, and proffer recommendations for a reactivated community that will form a new “Third Place” in Winter Park. For the sake of discussion, a First Place is your home; the Second Place is your work place; the Third Place is where you go for recreation and social interaction. It’s your Fun Place. Stephenson wants to put that place on Orange Avenue.

Give Some to Get Some

A recurrent theme at the first Orange Avenue Overlay Steering Committee meeting was the perceived necessity for the larger stakeholders’ redevelopment plans to include infrastructure assistance for the many existing smaller stakeholders. In return for some increased density, large stakeholders would be expected to provide enhanced storm water retention. Many of the smaller businesses along Orange Ave. experience damaging flooding when there is a significant rain storm. This is caused by inadequate storm water management which, because of the size of their holdings, the Big Three have the opportunity to mitigate for the entire area. Another contribution the major landowners could make would be shared parking and what Stephenson calls “meaningful greenspace” – space everyone can use.

Community-Driven Project

Stephenson sees the Steering Committee as a useful tool to create a community-driven project instead of a developer-driven plan. “This will not be a project where everyone gets every single thing they want,” said Stephenson, “but the hope is that we will have enough people involved who feel like they have a voice and that everybody gets some special part of this . . . . To have an opportunity like this in a built-out city like Winter Park . . . is a unique opportunity and if we don’t get serious and do this now, we may miss the opportunity.”

Opportunity for Public Input Still Exists

Unique to this project is a robust page on the City website devoted entirely to the Orange Avenue Overlay. There you will find a 16-question citizen survey where you can share your thoughts. In addition, the Steering Committee meetings are posted on the City website under ‘Boards and Public Meetings.’ June meetings will be held in Commission Chambers at 5:30 pm June 12 and 26. Public participation is encouraged.

Steering Committee Members

To assist the Planning staff with this project, Stephenson requested the formation of the Orange Avenue Overlay Steering Committee. The mayor and each commissioner appointed one member. In addition, a representative from each of 5 Advisory Boards and the original Winter Park Visioning Committee were asked to participate.

Bill Segal – Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB)

Jill Hamilton Buss – Transportation Advisory Board (TAB)

Laura Turner – Planning & Zoning (P&Z)

Lambrine Macejewski – Community Redevelopment Advisory Board (CRAB)

Bill Ellis – Keep Winter Park Beautiful and Sustainable Board (KWPB)

Bill Sullivan – WP Visioning Committee

Lamont Garber – Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel appointee

Sally Flynn – Commissioner Greg Seidel appointee

Sheila DiCiccio – Commissioner Todd Weaver appointee

Michael Dick – Commissioner Carolyn Cooper appointee

Phil Kean – Mayor Steve Leary appointee

The Timeline

Stephenson has set an ambitious timeline for the Planning staff and the Steering Committee, though he cautions the schedule is fluid. March and April were devoted to the initial public input meetings. Based on the input received, the team will use the summer months to draft plan documents, perform mobility studies and create renderings.

Fall 2019 should see introduction of draft documents for public review and comment. Draft documents will also go to various boards for their review and recommendation.

In late Fall 2019, the team hopes to bring the final draft of the Orange Avenue Overlay to the City Commission for a vote.



  • 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

13 replies
  1. Randy Vance says:

    The secret sauce buried deep in this story is two words that have blighted Winter Park: Increased Density.

    • WP Anon says:

      Agreed Randy. My confidence in our City visioning is waning. We are a low density community, or at least we were. It seems that the current City administration leans too heavily toward allowing / encouraging high density projects in our little burg. Hopefully the voting block shift on the Commission will help move us back to a lower density thought process. I am positive that improvement is a good thing and that growth is not always a good thing for a Village such as ours.

  2. Cigar says:

    They call it a “steering” committee for a reason, folks.

    Same way you steer your car.

    You have a destination in mind – and so do they.

    It appears to be nothing more than a thinly disguised density committee, with perhaps one or two “token” quality of life people thrown in the mix to distract from the rather obvious stacking of the committee.

    Humorous that the article says Mayor Leary has only one appointee, when in fact, he has appointed nearly every member to at least one City board during his years on the City Commission.

    If you ever want to know where Winter Park is headed, just look at the composition of these boards they create to make it appear to the residents to be an inclusive process.

    The “Nobody will get everything they want” approach is clever. But it only proves that the process is rigged, because it means THE RESIDENTS won’t get everything they want, and perhaps ANYTHING they want. And isn’t that’s what a democracy is supposed to ensure?

    How about a committee re-do with direct voting of the residents in the neighborhood selecting the steering committee members?

    I suppose there’s more chance of that happening than Mayor Leary recusing himself from the final vote on the overlay. And we all know what the chances of that happening are.

    Winter Park residents woke up at the April City Commission election.

    Have they gone back asleep already?

  3. How things work around here says:

    What they said:

    “If we don’t get serious and do this now, we may miss the opportunity.”


    “We became skitterbrooks when we saw how many votes Weaver REALLY got. And we know that the residents are getting fed up with our density schemes. We also know that next year is another election for Commission Seats 1 & 2, and we know we’ve got Seidel and Sprinkel’s votes now to do whatever we want with Orange Avenue. So, bottom line is we created this fake steering committee, and we’ll hold some fake public input sessions. Then the Commission will vote, and the vote will be 3-2 to approve the new density. Any questions?”

  4. The Canary says:

    Don’t be afraid. Be very afraid.

    When the word “blight” is used to describe Orange Avenue, the disconnect with reality comes into sharp focus. No other corridor is as attractive and sensibly developed as is this one. Drive it for yourself. Walk it, jog it…many do.

    Highly desirable redevelopment has occurred here all by itself. Black Bean Deli moving into Winnie’s. A new bank at the Orange / Minnesota fork. The Brewstillery, FoxTail, etc.

    There is an adage which normally would apply here: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Dori Stone told us we have to “fix it”. The 2 major, private land holders told us we have to fix it. They are Demetree and Holler. So fix it we will do. Bronce Stephenson was hired to “fix it”.

    The owners of the smaller parcels including the small number whose properties flood from time to time had a right to expect the city to address this issue by virtue of the fact that they are tax payers in the city. It is the most basic plank in the tax payers’ bill of rights. Pay taxes, get services.

    But now we are being told that we must bargain away our basic rights to receive what we ought to get anyway.

    Many acres are held by Demetree and Holler. They want to go bigger, denser, taller.
    Parking garages and shared parking will be the order of the day to make more room for the buildings. BIG buildings.

    Why do their voices matter more than yours? Or mine? Ask yourself why.

    As we revise and adopt new zoning which will allow an additional hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail, office and residential space on the corridor -which also includes portions of Fairbanks Avenue– ask yourself what the impacts will be on traffic, quality of life, schools, infrastructure.

    Holler and Demetree are not acting out of the “goodness of their hearts”. You won’t believe your eyes when you see the final “reveal”. Years of development friendly commissions have brought us to this day. Holler and Demetree must be salivating. Can they do for Orange Ave what Bellows has done for Lee Road at Ravaudage?

  5. An Inclusive Illusion says:

    C.S. Lewis, in his book “The Screwtape Letters,” (1942), foretold the Orange Avenue overlay.

    “I like bats much better than bureaucrats. I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of ‘Admin.’ The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint.

    It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result.

    But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”

  6. Leary Abruptly Ends Meeting to Hide Truth says:

    At the June 10, 2019 City Commission meeting, The Residents’ Commissioner, Todd Weaver, proposed scheduling a City Commissioners’ Workshop to discuss The Canopy project.

    His proposal was seconded by Commissioner Cooper.

    Immediately following Commissioner Cooper’s second, Mayor Leary abruptly adjourned the meeting before any other commissioners had a chance to support or even discuss Commissioner Weaver’s workshop proposal, thus killing the proposed workshop before it could be approved.

    Why is Mayor Leary so afraid of residents knowing the truth about The Canopy?

  7. Seidel Secrets says:

    The $640,000 Question around Winter Park is why Commissioner Greg Seidel voted to move forward with construction drawings for The Canopy project at that cost to City taxpayers , when according to facts presented by Commissioner Weaver, the project isn’t ready to move forward to the construction drawings phase.$64,000_Question

  8. Freedom of the Press says:

    Congratulations to United States of America for placing # 48 in the nation rankings for Freedom of the Press.

    Only 47 countries have more Freedom of the Press than the United States.

    We can all be proud as we wave our flag this 4th of July that we live in a free country.

  9. Kate Reich says:

    I drove down Lake Sue Avenue, when it hit me: Lake Sue Ave is morphing into “Bauhaus”

    Avenue.. I like “Bauhaus” buildings in Weimar and Dessau, but not necessarily in Winter Park.

    We are loosing our small town character in some of our residential areas. Obviously, some

    people like bright square buildings, and the Architects especially like them, but should we abandon

    what made Winter Park special?

  10. WP's Orange Blossom Trail says:

    It looks like City Commissioners want to make Orange Avenue into another Orange Blossom Trail.

  11. 54 Acres in 4 Months? says:

    Does anyone really believe they haven’t ALREADY planned what they want for Orange Avenue?


    It says they are bringing it up for a commission vote THIS FALL.

    How can anyone plan 54 acres within the city in only 4 months?

    How can the residents give the overlay the kind of careful consideration it deserves in that time frame?


    Who do they think they’re kidding?

    This is nothing more than pre-packaged nonsense – no different than the “Library” Task Force was.


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