Editor’s note: This article was edited after publication. The subject property discussed in the article is surrounded by a mix of residential and commercial properties within Winter Springs city limits.
A controversial storage facility will be up for a crucial vote next Wednesday, and Winter Springs’ mayor says he has secret “ammunition” to stop it.
“I think that’s going to be a very important meeting,” Mayor Kevin McCann said during the April 24 City Commission meeting of the first major hurdle for the proposed 3-story storage facility that could be built in the middle of Winter Springs.
The meeting, which will be held by Seminole County’s Planning and Zoning Commission, could see the first official vote on the project. The reason that Winter Springs’ mayor is going to fight a development in the middle of his own city? The proposed site, on Tuskawilla Road just south of Michael Blake Boulevard, is not in the city at all.
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The proposed planned development rezoning application that could allow it to be built is for a small tract of land, less than 5 acres total, that’s within an enclave of Seminole County. The rectangle of county land is surrounded by both residential neighborhoods and commercial properties within Winter Springs city limits.
The prospect of a large industrial development being built a few yards west of a residential neighborhood rubbed commissioners and residents the wrong way when first proposed, with Deputy Mayor Rob Elliott calling it “an abomination.”
Real estate agent Dave Axel, who represented the seller of the property and potential buyer when he led a presentation on the project at Winter Springs’ Foundry Church on March 14, fielded questions and angry comments from residents regarding the property.
“It’s pretty evident the community doesn’t like this there,” resident Art Gallo said, imploring Axel to find a better way to develop the property.
The development’s timeline for moving through Seminole County’s development hurdles appears to be moving as Axel had predicted, with its first vote coming up in, as he had stated, early May. During that same March 14 presentation, Axel said that if the rezoning application is approved by the Seminole County Planning and Zoning Commission, it could be up for a vote with the Seminole County Commission by the end of May.
McCann said he would be skipping an inter-governmental CALNO meeting the same night in order to address the P&Z Commission in person. Commissioner Matt Benton said he would attend CALNO in McCann’s place.
“That potential project on Tuskawilla Road I believe we may have some ammunition to stop that,” McCann said. “I think it’s important that I’m there. I think that that will have a far larger impact on the future of our city than the one CALNO meeting.”
What ammunition he had, McCann would not say.
“I am all for allowing somebody else to attend CALNO in your presence next week, however, this ammunition you keep speaking about, does anyone else know about this on the dais? Can you share?” Commissioner Victoria Colangelo asked.
“I would rather not,” McCann said. “Quite frankly I do not want to give ammunition of our tactics…and I hope that that’s allowable.”
City Attorney Anthony Garganese did not object to the idea.
“I’m not trying to keep it a super secret right up until the last minute,” McCann said. “Once I have everything in writing that I’m seeking, I’ll share it with [City Clerk Christian Gowan] who can put it out to the dais.”
“Go forth and conquer,” Commissioner Cade Resnick said.
“I do believe that we have legal reasons that would prevent that storage unit from being built, and if I can do that legally I’m going to do it,” McCann replied.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 3, at the Seminole County Commission Chambers, 1101 E. First St., Sanford.