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During a public hearing to send Oviedo’s 25-year plan to the state for approval, the city’s traffic engineer consultant showed the Oviedo City Council a projected 2045 map where almost all of the main roads, with all the planned improvements in place, were over capacity.
“The goal of that map was not to find a way to get rid of all the red,” Kok Wan Mah said, but rather to show the city where deficiencies will be in the future so they can prioritize roadway projects.
After two years of planning and discussion, the Council unanimously approved sending the city’s 2045 Comprehensive Plan update to the state for review on Monday night. The city must update this plan every 10 years to show where the state’s projected 25-year population will be housed, educated, and equipped with public services such as water and sewer. It must also prove that the city is not contributing to urban sprawl and account for environmental protections and financial sustainability.
The update focuses the projected growth to a population of 58,000 into five areas in the city: the historic downtown, the new downtown, the Oviedo Mall area and the Mitchell Hammock corridor. Read about how many residential units will be allowed in these areas in OCN’s previous report.
With this approval, the council sent the comprehensive plan to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which will also send it to other Florida agencies for them to approve it and give back any comments to the City Council. Council is expected to hold an adoption hearing for the comprehensive plan in July.
Councilwoman Natalie Teuchert said the 2045 traffic map made her concerned about future traffic in the city.
“The map had the Slavia Road extension on it and it had it in red in 2045. The road hasn’t even been built yet,” she said.
Mah said the city will revisit the plan every five to ten years to make necessary changes and, using Slavia Road as an example, might decide to make that road four lanes instead of the current plan for two lanes.
Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek asked if the city could say no to a developer if their project would worsen the current level of service of the roads.
In a March Oviedo Local Planning Agency meeting, Mah explained that according to state statute, 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.
To address this, the comprehensive plan update changed the way the roads are graded. The lowest possible rating a city road can have now allows for some capacity but less than was allowed in the previous plan before it reaches its ceiling.
“So if the road is currently under capacity and there is a new development that would add trips to it that will bring over the level of service threshold,” Mah said. “Then the deficiency will fall upon that developer and they will need to mitigate.”
Nobody in the public had any comments about the plan, making the mayor wistful for more public feedback.
“Man, this is the land use constitution of Oviedo guys. No feedback?” Sladek asked.
Sladek also asked the Council members if they were interested in adding a residential transition zoning, not to actually have anything on the map, but to create a bucket that a future council could consider. That way, if a small scale developer wanted to do a project that would be smaller than the current mixed-used zoning requires, they could consider it.
Deputy Mayor Bob Pollack would not support the request.
“I think it would delay the process and I don’t think we want to do that right now, Also, I don’t know enough about the proposal to add that to my motion right now,” Pollack said.
City Attorney David Hall said that since the zoning would not be on the map, it would have not created any delays in the process but the other Council members were still uninterested in Sladek’s proposal.
Sladek also requested to make the Marketplace designation for the Oviedo Mall area to be the same as Downtown Core but no one else on Council was for it.
“I think it is confusing to developers who may be coming in, and it kind of treats the mall property as the red-headed stepchild,” Sladek said. “And I’m not sure that’s an attitude that we would want to codify in our Comprehensive Plan.”
The city staff explained to Sladek that the Oviedo Mall was designated as the Marketplace and the Downtown as the Downtown Core because there were different parts of the city with different characteristics.
“The Core has other layers; there is a historic element to it, a cultural element to it,” Development Services Director Teresa Correa said. “It is not only matching entitlements; it is the character that we want to have as the main area of the city, as the core of the city.”
Councilwoman Natalie Teuchert thanked the LPA Board and the city staff for all the hard work throughout the process.
“It’s a lot of change bringing 16,000 people into the city over 25 years. That is actually a little slower growth than what we have seen, so it sounds like a big number but it sounds realistic,” Teuchert said.
Other council members agreed.
“I agree with Natalie that we are at about that 700 people a year growth rate, which we have been at for quite a few years and I don’t see it slowing down or speeding up,” Councilman Keith Britton said. “I think we have been pretty good at managing the growth here and that’s the number that fits us.”
Upcoming Oviedo City Council meetings
Monday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. (work session)
Monday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m.
Monday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m.