WINTER PARK, Fla. – It is one of the last undeveloped plots of land along South Semoran Boulevard in the Winter Park area, and residents are fighting against a gas station that may potentially move into that space.
RaceTrac has submitted plans to develop and build on South Semoran Boulevard, near the intersection of Hanging Moss Road.
The land is adjacent to the Winter Pines Golf Club and the Golfside neighborhood.
William Estes lives near the proposed spot and is one of several neighbors arguing against the development.
"We're worried about the lighting in our background, and we're worried about the traffic there," he said.
And he's not alone.
"I suspect we're going to have more of a water problem here than we already do," neighbor Thomas Yost said. "Drainage has been an ongoing issue and I suspect it's going to get a lot worse."
One of the biggest concerns for the general manager at Winter Pines Golf Club is not just the lights or the noise that would come from a gas station right off the eighth fairway; it's that golfers could easily hop the fence to go to the gas station and bring unwanted items back onto the course.
That's why the neighbors, the golf course and even the mayor of Winter Park formally asked the city to oppose the project. The ultimate decision belongs to Orange County since the land is right next to Winter Park.
The land is currently zoned for office space, but Orange County's Zoning Commission is set to hear arguments for rezoning the space.
A representative with RaceTrac released the following statement to address the concerns of residents:
RaceTrac is committed to bringing our new store prototype to the best areas and locations, including Semoran Boulevard.
We are continuing to work with local residents and legislators to ensure the new store meets the needs and desires of the local community.
This includes the use of ‘dark sky compliant’ lighting, which will prevent light from spilling beyond the RaceTrac property lines. The new development will also feature additional vegetation and buffer walls designed to reduce the current noise generated from Semoran Boulevard.
We look forward to creating 20 new jobs for local residents and providing the area with high-quality fuel, products and service at a value.
It is now up to Orange County's Planning and Zoning Commission and county commissioners to act on RaceTrac's request in the coming weeks.