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Oviedo’s 25-year plan moves to the next step

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How to grade roads so that developers pay for improvements and turning dead-end streets into new routes for traffic were part of the Oviedo planning board’s last leg of discussions before it gave the final OK to the city’s 25-year plan on Tuesday night.

The city’s comprehensive plan must lay out where the state-approved estimated 2045 Oviedo population of 57,000 will live. That future population is estimated to need an additional 5,400 residential units, homes that could be single-family structures, apartments, or something in between.

The plan puts much of the city’s anticipated growth into four areas of Oviedo – Oviedo on the Park, the historic downtown area, the Oviedo Mall area and the Mitchell Hammock corridor.

The LPA has spent more than 10 hours discussing the comprehensive plan in public meetings since March 8.

“I think why we struggled so much with this is, I think this comprehensive plan turns a page from Oviedo’s history towards Oviedo’s future,” LPA board member David Pollack said.

“Personally, I know I’m sad to see some parts of Oviedo go,” he said. “I’m optimistic for what the city will become, and while we might not have so many ‘great days in the country’ remaining, I think we certainly have a lot of great days in the city to come, so with that, I support this comprehensive plan.”

The plan is expected to reach the city council on April 18, when they’ll consider whether to submit it to the state for review. Once submitted, the state can send comments on the plan, which the city will have to respond to. The final adoption by the City Council is expected in June or July.

Failing roads upgraded to help in the long run

In the comprehensive plan, roads that would be considered to be failing because of the capacity the city deems acceptable are given an “E+15%” grade instead of an F.

Some members of the LPA showed concern over labeling roads that way, but Oviedo’s traffic consultant, Kok Wan Mah, explained that because of rules adopted by the state Legislature in 2011, new development can still be approved when the roads it would rely on are considered to be failing and, if the roads are already failing, the development would not have to chip in to improve the roads.

If a development is approved on a road that’s rated above failing and the development causes it to exceed capacity, then the developer would have to mitigate that.

“That seems totally wrong,” LPA member Bruce Kavenagh said during an April 7 work session meeting. “This is personal opinion but if a road does not meet service I would think that’s a reason to say, ‘You can’t build’. This is saying they don’t have to add to it because the road was already bad so what difference does it make, in essence. Whereas I think it should be the other way around.”

This chart shows Oviedo’s Level of Service Standard (LOS Standard), which represents the city’s tolerance for capacity, not the actual level of service on the road. A level “E” means the road is at 80% of the capacity. The image is courtesy of the city of Oviedo. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Rules for connecting dead-ended neighborhood roads

The comprehensive plan has language that lays out specific criteria to be met in order to extend Pine Avenue to State Road 434, such as possible traffic calming measures and certain surrounding roadway projects that must be completed first so traffic doesn’t flood the street. For example, S.R. 419 would need to be widened to four lanes from S.R. 434 to Lockwood Boulevard.

This image shows the Pine Avenue dead end that’s referenced in Oviedo’s comprehensive plan. The image is courtesy of Google Maps. Click on the image to enlarge it.

These criteria were added after a crowd of concerned residents attended a public traffic planning meeting last year.

The comprehensive plan encourages connecting future neighborhood roads and those that currently dead-end to one another to add more travel options throughout the city. Pollack asked that all neighborhoods get the same treatment as the neighborhoods along Pine Avenue.

“Are we going to tell the community that if you show up in big enough numbers we’re going to carve out specific things just for your neighborhood? We can’t do that,” he said.

“All of those issues that would affect Pine if it were opened, would affect other people if we opened their area so we need to apply those factors everywhere. We should have a set of criteria we would need to apply before we consider a connection.”

The discussion on adding general criteria was postponed until the Land Development Code rewrite takes place, which is an 18 month process that starts after the comprehensive plan  update is approved.

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