City explores annexations near Fairbanks and I-4

Bringing properties into city limits would add tax revenue, but also cost in services

By Beth Kassab

Winter Park could grow by more than $180 million in taxable property value and gain a population of more than 1,700 if the City Commission moves forward on a series of annexations near Interstate 4 and Fairbanks Avenue.

The proposed annexations would bring three areas from unincorporated Orange County into the city, which would give Winter Park leaders more control over how the commercial area at the major intersection is developed.

Last month city commissioners brought four properties south of Kentucky Avenue into the city.

Planning Director Jeff Briggs described this small 2-acre annexation as a first step as the city  “incrementally works our way toward an ultimate goal.”

The city plans to annex an even wider swath south of Kentucky Avenue, between Formosa Avenue and Clay Street, over time.

Also up for consideration is a small area known as “Lawndale” south of Fairbanks to Harmon Avenue with about 226 homes.

The largest area being eyed by the city is west of Lake Killarney to I-4 with nearly 600 homes.

The annexations would likely require a vote by residents.

Commissioners considered last month whether it would make financial sense to pursue the annexations. A city analysis showed there wasn’t an easy answer. Folding the properties into the city’s borders would come with costs for increased services and infrastructure – particularly increased police and fire services — but would also yield increased tax revenue.

So far, there is no firm timetable for the annexations, though city staff discussed at the work session looking at the November 2024 ballot for county voters and, if needed, a March 2025 ballot for Winter Park city voters.

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    By: Beth Kassab

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