Oviedo development plans prompt big pushback from residents

Resident: Don't look down on us. We are your neighbors

OVIEDO, Fla. – Residents with concerns over a proposed development on Mitchell Hammock Road packed City Hall on Thursday night to let the city's planning agency know how they felt.

As News 6 first reported on Wednesday, a developer is proposing to buy 60 acres of undeveloped land behind Oviedo City Hall to build stores, restaurants, a bank, a hotel and as many as nearly 1,000 residential units.

The developer, Richard Lewellyn, is seeking a Comprehensive Plan Amendment for 40 of the 60 acres zoned as rural to allow for up to 150,300 gross square footage of retail commercial space, a sit-down restaurant, a fast-food restaurant, a drive-in bank, an 80-room hotel and 927 units of multifamily residential housing.

"Please listen to us. We are your constituents. We pay the taxes here," said Belinda Ewen who spoke during a long public hearing.  

"Don’t look down on us. We are your neighbors. We go to the same grocery stores, we go to the same restaurants, we go to the same churches."

Many residents were concerned about increases in traffic to the area, which would sit across the street from the Oviedo on the Park shopping center.

"You’re going to cannibalize businesses that we have been losing," said resident Betsy Joel. "We’re watching them close one by one."

Lewellyn told the planning agency he wants to work with the city and with residents to determine what they want to see in a new development.

Other ideas offered by his team during the meeting included a permanent farmer's market and new streets that they said would help alleviate the traffic congestion.

"This is our town," said Joel. "We are the residents here. The people of Oviedo are the heart and soul of this community. Talk to us. We'll tell you what we want. "

The process of creating this development is just starting.

According to Oviedo city officials, many more public hearings will be held on zoning, planning, and it will ultimately be up to the full Oviedo City Council to approve or deny any project.

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013. He is one of the station’s lead reporters. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.