Ravenous Pig to Move
Will There Be Enough Parking?
P&Z found itself in a ‘Catch 22’ Tuesday evening when James and Julie Petrakis, owners of the Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder and Swine & Sons, announced they would be moving The Ravenous Pig from its present Orange Avenue location to the Cask & Larder site at 565 W. Fairbanks.
The Petrakises have bought the property at the corner of Pennsylvania and Fairbanks Avenues where Swine & Sons and the Cask & Larder are now situated. Since the lease on the current Ravenous Pig location is about to expire, they seek to combine the two restaurant operations, with The Ravenous Pig in the dining room and the Cask & Larder in the tap room.
What’s the Catch?
As with many businesses in the Orange/Fairbanks corridor, the issue is parking. The property includes a small, vacant, unpaved lot at 520 Pennsylvania which has for years been used for overflow parking for patrons of the restaurant on that site. This goes back to the days of Harper’s Tavern and the Cordon Bleu.
Property Needs a Facelift
As part of a facelift for the property, the new owners want to re-do the parking lot, add landscaping, upgrade the paving and lighting and add a small outdoor dining area behind the restaurant, away from the Orange Avenue frontage where now the chairs sit empty because of traffic noise and glare from the setting sun.
Pave the Parking Lot
This would include paving and landscaping the small lot at 520 Pennsylvania to make it a proper parking lot. Currently, the lot is muddy when it rains, has an uneven surface and has holes that are hard to see in the dark. The difficulty is that 520 Pennsylvania Avenue sits within the southern edge of the Hannibal Square neighborhood and is zoned single-family. In order to pave and improve it, the lot must be rezoned to “PL” (for Parking Lot), requiring a change in both the Comprehensive Plan and the Future Land Use Map.
As benign as it first appears, this is the kind of commercial creep into the single-family residential Hannibal Square neighborhood the people who live there are trying to prevent. They point out that this sort of commercial incursion would never be approved in other neighborhoods — say, in the “Vias.”
In a letter to members of the Planning & Zoning Board, sent in advance of the meeting, west side resident Mary Daniels wrote, “We are asking the board and staff to preserve what is left of R1A zoning in this community, to stop the inching encroachment process of another block of zoning changes to PL or higher density zoning based the commercial surrounding and not the residential zoning in the adjacent area.”
Historical Use is for Parking
City Planning Manager Jeff Briggs pointed out the reality that, historically, none of the restaurants that had occupied that site had ever had sufficient parking. He said if the lot at 520 Pennsylvania is not used for parking, that will drive the patrons to find parking out on the residential streets. Briggs said, without the long history of the property as a restaurant, the staff would have come with a very different recommendation.
“Our Objective Is to Make that Corner More Attractive.”
There is no question the junction of Fairbanks, Pennsylvania and Orange Avenues is unattractive and dangerous, and that it could use some love. Petrakis spoke about his desire to provide a way for patrons to enter and leave the restaurant safely – by directing traffic to enter from Pennsylvania instead of from Fairbanks. He also noted the need for an improved aesthetic. He stated he was willing to enter into a developer’s agreement stipulating that if he ever sold the lot on Pennsylvania, the zoning would revert to R1A.
Why Amend the Comp Plan?
Maria Bryant, another resident of the Hannibal Square neighborhood, agreed with Petrakis. She said she did not understand why the zoning and the Comprehensive Plan needed to be amended. The purposes of both the community and the property owner would be served with a development agreement that allowed Cask & Larder to improve and continue to use the lot for parking, but if the lot ceased to be used for parking, it would revert to its original R1A zoning and would retain R1A status on the Future Land Use map.
Future Land Use Important
Bryant’s sentiments were echoed by Mary Daniels, who pointed out not only should the Comprehensive Plan and zoning for this property remain unchanged, but the Future Land Use map should also reflect R1A status. Daniels expressed her appreciation for Petrakis and his effort to share with the neighbors in advance his plans for improving the property.
How Do We Keep Our Businesses Viable and Our Neighborhoods Safe?
Kim Allen posed an essential question when she pointed out that many businesses in major commercial corridors of Winter Park lack sufficient parking.
P&Z to Petrakis: Back to the Drawing Board
P&Z Board member Peter Gottfried solved the problem, for now, by ending the discussion. He made a motion to Table, advising the applicant to flesh out his plans and bring back a more comprehensive description of what will happen to the property at Pennsylvania and Fairbanks, and to two of the region’s most popular and respected dining establishments.
Haven’t you heard? Everyone is going to be walking, riding bicycles, and taking SunRail in Winter Park. Nobody will be driving cars anymore.
This is the insanity we have been fed by our local politicians going on eight years now. All for the purpose of granting parking exceptions to increase the value of the commercial real estate. Then a “need” is created for more parking, which leads to more parking garages, which leads to even more commercial high density construction, more traffic jams, etc., etc., etc.
Hungry diners aren’t the only ones lining up at the trough in Winter Park. Commercial interests are bellying up on a binge to eat residents’ lunch.
Lol, eventually we’ll all have to walk or bike to get around. Build it (poorly) and you’ll create the intended result. We can all use more exercise as long as WPPD keeps us safe at after night of drinking.
If you’re going to post tired cliches insinuating there is a grand scheme out of your control behind growth in C. Florida (imagine that, growth in Florida!) at least have the fortitude to sign your name.
Well said Pitt!
Anyone commenting on here, either advertising their own name or using a pseudonym, care to tell us about your real estate investments on the West Side of Winter Park?
Personally, zero. Our company has brokered sales and leases of properties that are owned by owner occupants and investors. But I know you’re looking for some deep dark financial conspriacy. Sorry to disappoint.
1) Personally zero
2) No ownership interests, partial or full, in any companies, partnerships or LLC’s that own property in part or in full
3) No income generated from real estate sales commissions
4) No income generated from real estate management
5) No “consulting” fee income
6) No interest income or guarantees from real estate related lending
7) No “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” business referrals
8) No relatives in real estate related businesses
9) No employment in real estate business
10) No boss who wants the city to build an art museum in MLK Park
And if I was in the Westside up to my elbows, what difference would it make? No P&Z or City Commission is going to allow residential properties to be re-zoned commercial. Noone is going to tear down home after home and build townhomes. This narrative being pushed for politics is absurd and untruthful. Reality is that property owners of all races are going to buy, sell, lease or will to their relatives, the homes in Westside. Trying to control their actions through blatant untruths is discouraging.
You’re right about a lot of what you say. But I think you may be overlooking what is now becoming clear to many of us. A majority of the Winter Park City Commission suffers from a chronic condition known as, “Orlando Envy,” which is fitting given the title of the above article. Commissioners appear to have a ravenous appetite to emulate Orlando.
Here are some of the symptoms of “Orlando Envy:”
Orlando has no restrictions on tattoo parlors, so Winter Park doesn’t either. Orlando likes multi-level parking garages, so Winter Park does also. Orlando re-zones single family to multi-family, so Winter Park does too. Orlando has red light cameras, so Winter Park has red light cameras. Orlando builds large, expensive gathering places used by a small fraction of its residents, so Winter Park builds large expensive gathering places for the benefit of others at Winter Park residents expense. Orlando does nothing about its traffic congestion problem, so Winter Park does nothing about its traffic congestion problem either. Orlando tolerates crime, so Winter Park tolerates crime. Orlando increases taxes, so Winter Park increases taxes ($). Orlando encourages more bars, so Winter Park encourages more bars. Only difference is Winter Park calls its bars “fine dining.”
So, what’s next? Just look at what happens in Orlando, and if the same attitude stays in place on the Winter Park City Commission, you can bet the same things will come along in Winter Park sooner or later. Orlando has been re-zoning residential to commercial for a long time now. All those sole proprietor law, architect, accountant, etc. offices south of Colonial, along the side streets running perpendicular to Mills Ave. were once single family homes later converted to commercial. Orlando even approved zoning changes of churches in downtown to massive condominium projects and high rise office projects and entertainment facilities. Church Street was named that because there were once many churches standing shoulder to shoulder all along it and throughout downtown.
Winter Park Commissioners mock residents by claiming a “brand” for Winter Park that in practice is nothing more than slapping a picture of a peacock on anything Orlando has already done. You know what the real Winter Park brand is becoming, do you? Orlando’s little brother. That’s what.
I have no evidence of single famy homes being turned multi-family or residential turned into commercial. Both are zoning changes that may have happened, but I am not aware of 1.
Parking garages are in our codes. ?If you don’t like parking garages change the codes. The problem is the codes have been in place for many many years and owners will sue if property is down-zoned. If you want to fight that battle, try and change the code. I’d prefer limiting the size of the main building, hiding the garage behind or within the building and having more open green space.
I agree that taxes are an issue. Pete Weldon tried earlier this summer for commisisoners to consider reducing taxes by $500,000 out of a $700,000 surplus. He didnot get a second vote to consider. One commisisoner wanted to raise the millage.
I serve on the Civl Service board and I asked a leader in our police department about some of Orlando’s recent police decisions regarding pot. He told me WP has the complete opposite approach to Orlando regarding crime. The WPPD has meetings open to the public to ask any question they want.. Or you can attend a meeting of the Civil Service Board and ask them. It’s an open book.