- The Winter Springs City Commission is expected to consider a 132-unit townhome project on Feb. 28.
- The project would consist of 28 two-story buildings located behind the Winter Springs Town Center.
- Residents attending the Winter Springs Planning and Zoning Board meeting, where it was approved on Feb. 10, raised questions about parking, water use and unit size diversity.
The full story
The Winter Springs City Commission is expected to consider a housing project on Feb. 28 that would put 132 townhomes behind the Winter Springs Town Center, at the corner of Central Winds Drive and Tuskawilla Road.
The project, named Hickory Grove, was approved by the Winter Springs Planning and Zoning Board on Feb. 10 after an hour-long discussion that addressed parking concerns, water issues and the types of units that would be offered.
Most of the units are planned to be three bedrooms with a loft and a two-car garage. The project consists of 28 two-story buildings. There are plans for some floor-level units, which Mary Cibulsky, who currently lives in the nearby Jesup’s Landing townhomes, said she’s been waiting for.
“I would love to see this come to fruition,” she said. “It is a walkable neighborhood, which I’ve done that for the past four years while living here and would hate to give it up once I can no longer do the stairs.”
During the meeting, residents raised concerns about how this project could impact the city’s water use, which has been an issue of concern in the city for years. The city’s failed water plant has caused it to rely on drinking water for uses like lawn irrigation. This, plus a reduction in the amount of water the state allows cities to pump out of the aquifer, or its consumptive use permit limit, caused Winter Springs to exceed its CUP limit by about 100 million gallons last year, resulting in the city’s declaration of a water emergency.
“I’m not against people building on their land or anything like that, however I live in the Winter Springs Village and when the water issues hit our community, they hit them really bad,” Gina Shafer said during the meeting. “We had just laid sod and we lost it all in the common areas of the development. We’re right down the street from this, I’m just saying. I lost my garden of roses.”
City staff said the project design for the connection between developments and the reclaimed water source is complete and is scheduled to go to bid “shortly”. If the Hickory Grove project is approved, the developer, Project Finance Development LLC, would be required to connect to that line within 90 days of project completion.
The developer said Hickory Groves will use an on-site irrigation well to limit its impact on the city’s drinking water capacity. It also plans to incorporate xeriscape landscaping and Florida-friendly plants so that the project is drought tolerant.
Residents, as well as Planning and Zoning Board members, raised concerns about parking availability. The developer said that because the project would be located within the town center, there were no parking space minimums but, based on studies of nearby housing projects, they plan to offer 220 total parking spaces for the property.
The project includes a pool with a cabana, a dog park and a connection to the Florida Trail.
Juanita Blumberg owns the 12-acre property that makes up the Hickory Grove project. It was part of a 30-acre parcel but Blumberg conveyed four of those acres to the Seminole County School Board to build Winter Springs High School and almost six of the 30 acres to build a public linear park along Blumberg Boulevard. The townhome project got its name from a stand of hickory trees that was found on the original 30 acre-property.
There was a community workshop on this project on Aug. 26, 2021. Listen to the full Feb. 10 PZB meeting.