Friday, October 7, 2022
HomeNewsWinter Springs Marketplace gets a plat, but with a tit-for-tat

Winter Springs Marketplace gets a plat, but with a tit-for-tat

A vote to finalize platting for Winter Springs’ Marketplace area turned into a Seinfeldian airing of grievances as Commissioners lamented an “eyesore” corner in the city’s downtown, and others considered charging developers for wasting city staff time.

Get trusted, local news from OCN in your inbox every Thursday morning!

The Winter Springs Marketplace is an 8-acre parcel on the southwest corner of the Tuskawilla Road and State Road 434 intersection. It’s part of the overall Town Center concept, which began taking shape more than two decades ago, and is seeing its last bit of land developed.

The final development plat for the Winter Springs Town Center was approved. Image courtesy of the City of Winter Springs.

But while residents wait to see what the Marketplace’s final form will be, residents and city officials agreed that the corner, which saw a handful of large oak trees cut down and a lumpy, sandy plot of land left in their place, is ugly.

“That space is supposed to be the center of our city and it doesn’t look like the center of the city,” resident Mac McLaughlin said. “Even a little bit more greenspace, lawn, sidewalks, whatever, would make this whole place look a lot better than I’m afraid it’s going to come out.”

“It’s an absolute eyesore,” Commissioner Rob Elliott said. “Why don’t we just put a junk car on it and maybe an old toilet or something because it looks flat horrible.”

“We’ve got McDonald’s on one corner, a gas station on one corner, Town Center development on one corner and then we’ve got a vacant lot that looks flat horrible,” he added. “You come into this city the very first time you come in and say ‘Oh you’ve got a big Town Center area’ and that’s what you see. It’s embarrassing that this city has a piece of property in that location that looks like that.”

City blames developer for issues

That line of commentary focused the conversation onto developer Ryan Stahl, who had developed the corner, which has other construction waiting to be completed.

“You guys see this as one development; In our world it’s like six mini-developments, meaning you’ve got Heartland Dental, the Chipotle, the Crunch, Dollar Tree, the Aldi,” Stahl said, adding that a Fifth Third Bank is on the horizon. “We’re about ready to put another shovel in the ground in the upcoming weeks.”

But when Stahl called the area a “challenging plat,” referring to the intricate development plan that maps out how a larger construction project will be subdivided and planned out, City Manager Shawn Boyle was quick to defend the city.

“The reason why it was a difficult plat, Ryan, to be frank, is you sold the lots off before you platted it, which created a matrix which was very difficult to keep up with from the legal end,” Boyle said. “I don’t know anywhere that that’s done. I don’t know any state that you sell off the lots before you actually define them, which is what the platting process is. I don’t know how we got to that state. I can speculate.”

“I don’t want to give the false impression that the city is at fault at all in this,” Boyle added.

Stahl said that he thought that the complicated platting process came from a communication issue. That led to commissioners and city officials lamenting a part of the development process that had beleaguered the city for years: developers causing city staff and attorneys to have to spend extra hours, and city money, to clear up development issues that could have been solved earlier in the process, particularly with platting larger developments.

Tree removal sparks new condition

Deputy Mayor Kevin Cannon said a more visible planning issue that bothered him stares residents in the face every time they pass by the intersection, seeing large stumps where oak trees used to shade a now bare development lot.

“There were several oak trees that were removed on that corner lot that, had I known that corner lot wasn’t going to be developed for a while, I would have preferred that those oak trees that were removed there were right by the sidewalk,” Cannon said. “There’s a number of stumps there, and they were pretty good sized oak trees.”

Cannon requested that City Attorney Anthony Garganese look into adding a condition into development contracts that the removal of trees occur closer to when development occurs.

A motion to approve the final development plat for the Winter Springs Town Center was approved 4-1, with Elliott dissenting.

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
%d bloggers like this: