MOUNT DORA, Fla. – On Tuesday night, Mount Dora City Council voted 5-1 to approve the development of a $50 million project next to historic downtown.
The approval allows for the developer to proceed with negotiations with the city for layout, costs and other plans.
“Most of the residents that stood up with concerns were concerned about traffic and just the overall size of this, that it’s gonna be 55 feet tall in a downtown where everything else is 35 to 37 feet,” said Crissy Stile, the owner of Barrel of Books and Games. “The vote last night was 5 to 1, one member had to recuse himself from the vote because he’s the son of the developer, he’s a city council member.”
Stile has been a resident of Mount Dora for 15 years and is a former city council member who disagrees with plans to build the gaslight district at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Baker Street -- a project proposed by G3 Development.
“The proposal, however, was much larger than what was requested so the city was looking for roughly 500 parking spaces and what is proposed is 753 parking spaces along with 60,000 square feet of residential, office space and more retail space around the garage,” Stile said.
And the concern, she said, isn’t just about the new development. The former city council member started a petition that has gathered about 300 signatures at her bookstore and more than 1,140 online opposing a proposal to change a city building code that would allow for taller commercial buildings. Currently, they can only be 35 feet high.
“They’re looking to increase that to 55 feet just for the same thing for mixed-use of condominiums and apartments on the top of retail and office space on the bottom,” she said. “Really probably the biggest issue is gonna be traffic. We’re historic, we’re charming, we’re so different than anywhere else you’ve been in Florida. It’s just totally undoing everything that Mount Dora is by going up with the heights.”
The mayor of Mount Dora said she’d hold a town hall on June 14 at 5:30 p.m. to allow for public comment.