Oviedo on the Park housing/office project gets approval

A development consisting of 25 townhomes atop office space was approved within Oviedo on the Park by the Oviedo City Council Tuesday night.

The 3 acre lot at the corner of Center Lake Lane and City Walk Lane will soon house 25 buildings where the top two stories will be three-bedroom townhomes with a small courtyard and an attached two-car garage with a one-bedroom guest apartment above the garage. The ground floor of each townhome could either be built as 700 square feet of office/retail space or be built as a third story within the townhome, adding a fourth bedroom and home workspace.

“I think it’s a great project. It’s a product we don’t have in the city right now,” Deputy Mayor Bob Pollack said. “It’s bringing the density and the intensity that we’re wanting for the downtown corridor.”

The Local Planning Agency, which reviews many of the developments before they come before the City Council, denied recommending this project for approval during a Nov. 7 meeting, saying the lot was too small for the plans, that the project will create parking issues within Oviedo on the Park and that the use flexibility for the office space would limit the city’s control over what would be in the space.

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Councilman Keith Britton double checked with staff that the project’s density was under the allotted amount for the space and that it exceeded the number of required parking spaces by planning for a total of 182 spaces. Staff confirmed both.

“I want to make sure because we get beat up for building new stuff and we aren’t building as densely as we could,” he said. “Our citizens need to know that. We’re not overdoing it at all.”

Mayor Megan Sladek added that the Council is not legally allowed to deny projects that match what’s laid out in the city’s comprehensive plan, which is a document that guides the way a municipality develops, and meets the area’s zoning rules.

“We’re not allowed to just willy nilly say, ‘We don’t like that. We’d rather not,’” she said.

Sladek suggested that the developer mix up the appearance of the buildings so they’re not so “monotonous”.

“I don’t think a city should regulate what a city looks like. From a marketing perspective, I think the project would do better if each unit looked substantially different,” she said. “That’s my two cents.”

The project also includes a small .11 acre corner lot, located at City Walk Lane and Center Lake Lane, that is planned to be retail/restaurant space. The property’s owner, Michael Collard, proposed a possible coffee shop during the November LPA meeting.

During the LPA meeting, Collard said that he already has several interested buyers. One buyer, Collard said, wants to buy two units to convert both ground floors into a music school.

“We believe [this project] is central to the plan the city put together when they envisioned Oviedo on the Park,” Collard said. “It’s a really interesting mixed bag of uses on the ground floor.”

Oviedo on the Park is the city’s new downtown development that includes a splash pad, an amphitheater and cultural center, dog park and restaurants, apartments and businesses, all surrounding Center Lake. Some approved projects coming to Oviedo on the Park include The Food Factory, a 14,500 square-foot food hall and bar that’s been in the works since 2019 and Ford’s Garage restaurant, which is planned for the northwest corner of E. Mitchell Hammock Road and Oviedo Boulevard.

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