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Oviedo planning board approves more housing

Twenty new townhomes got one step closer to construction across from the Lawton House on West Broadway Street after the Oviedo Land Planning Agency board approved the project on Feb. 1.

Development Services Director Teresa Correa said each townhome unit in Northlake Townhomes is slated to include a two-car garage, a private driveway and four guest parking spaces in addition to the five guest parking spaces required by the Land Development Code for the whole townhome community.

If approved, the townhome development will have two entry points – one off of North Lake Jessup Avenue and the other off of West Broadway Street.

LPA Vice Chairman David Pollack expressed concern that adding more cars to the area would worsen traffic congestion.

“The city hasn’t absorbed the growth on that lot, especially in this capacity,” Pollack said. “(Applicant Larry Jordan) is allowed to build what he wants there, but the access to that neighborhood being right there on Broadway without having more information is problematic, that is my two cents.”

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LPA Board Member Steven Rich and Chairman Darrell Lopez were also concerned with the traffic. Because of that, Bruce Kavenagh, an LPA board member, proposed opening another entry point by Myrtle Street, but that would have required the applicant to change the project layout and come back for another meeting to seek approval.

“In this case I’m trusting that city staff has studied this and has worked with the applicant,” LPA member Brian Smith said. “I even like that the applicant has even worked in extra parking, which has been a concern of mine throughout the city. So, I’m just going to propose a (recommendation for approval) as presented.”

Another concern for the board was the roadway construction that’s currently underway to widen Broadway Street from two to four lanes, which board members said may make the traffic situation worse.

The LPA board ultimately approved the project on a 4-2 vote, with Pollack and Rich opposing it because of traffic and road-access concerns.

The Oviedo City Council is expected to consider this project on Feb. 21.

Affordable homes approved for downtown Oviedo

Two single-family homes, described by the developer as “affordable,” were approved in downtown Oviedo by the LPA on Tuesday night.

According to the city, there are no local regulations for affordable housing so it would be up to the property’s owner, Russell Richards, to follow the state’s guidelines.

According to the Florida Housing Coalition, affordable housing is defined in terms of the income of the people living in the home, and income eligibility is defined in terms of area median income, adjusted for family size.

Also, the FHC says, “in general, the income-eligible household is said to be living in affordable housing when it spends no more than 30% of its income on either rent or mortgage payments.”

OCN reached out to Richards by email to see if he would follow FHA guidelines, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

The one-story homes will be built in the Milton Square subdivision, a community known for more modest homes.

Because Milton Square was developed in 1924, before the city’s Land Development Code was established, the lots are smaller than the code requires.

This subdivision is designated by the City of Oviedo for R-2 zoning, and the modern R-2 zoning standard puts at least 16 feet between newly constructed homes. Because the antiquated lots are smaller, building new homes that are that far apart would be impractical, leaving the owners of such lots to ask for exceptions.

The two single-family homes will be built on First Street only 6.4 feet away from each other when the minimum stated by Oviedo’s Land Development Code is 8 feet. The homes will also have a 7 to 12.8 feet of distance from the back of the property line and the minimum stated by the LDC is 25 feet.

Richards bought the two lots 18 years ago.

“I have done a lot to improve the area as well as other areas in Oviedo and the lots are irregularly shaped, it’s antiquated, it is an old neighborhood… [it is] really hard to do anything with those lots,” Richards said.

Richards said the homes would be walking distance from Oviedo’s historic downtown area and that his homes will fit the aesthetic of the neighborhood.

After a long debate over the approval of the biggest deviation that the LPA has ever considered, the board approved the project on a vote of 5-1 with one opposing vote by Kavenagh.

Upcoming LPA meetings

  • Tuesday, Feb. 15
  • Tuesday, March 1
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