Property owner backs out of controversial development project in Orange County

Owner withdraws proposal to build 233 townhomes on 48-acres hours before up for a commission vote

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – What was expected to be a big vote at the Orange County Board of County Commission meeting Tuesday ended up being a big win for residents who rallied against a proposed project that would bring 233 townhomes on a 48-acre property in East Orange County.

“We did have a big vote coming up, until about 2 and a half hours ago, when the applicant pulled out last minutes,” Tom Narut, Board Member on the Save Orange County group said.

It’s the latest chapter in what has been a controversial area of development for residents dating back to July of 2016 when the county approved a large development in the Lake Pickett area called “The Grow”

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“Yes it was approved,” Narut said. “It was higher-density than what we would have liked to have seen but it was smarter than where we started at.”

But now, Narut said one of the landowners originally part of the project, Byrdley Realty Co. has decided he wants to develop on his own, proposing the development of the 233 townhomes to the county commission Tuesday.

“This entire property is basically high density,” Narut said. “When you hear the term rural sprawl, that’s what everybody is about, it’s about smart development and that is what this is about. This is absolutely not smart development. This is as dense you can make it dropped in the center of that.”

The residents were ready to rally against the project at Tuesday’s meeting, presenting petitions with more than 2,200 signatures and letters of support from elected officials, like State Senator Linda Stewart.

But before they could present, the property owner backed out.

“We think for pull out today is they didn’t have enough backing,” Narut added. “A win for today absolutely.”

The Save Orange County group won’t be surprised if the property owners come back with another proposal. News 6 called the property owner and left a message with no immediate response Tuesday afternoon.

About the Author:

Nadeen Yanes joined News 6 as a general assignment reporter in 2016. She grew up in Leesburg and graduated from the University of Florida. Nadeen has won three Associated Press Awards for her reporting on the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the trial of the Pulse gunman's wife and the capture of an accused cop killer, Markeith Loyd.