Massive 60-acre Oviedo development under review

Residents say development would be 'a lot of what we already have'

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

OVIEDO, Fla. - 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.

According to a memorandum from the Oviedo City Local Planning Agency, the developer 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.

Currently, 20 acres of the property is designated as downtown mixed use.

Lifelong Oviedo resident Megan Sladek, a former Oviedo city commissioner and current mayoral candidate, said many residents don't want the development because the city already has too much.

"It's a lot and a lot of what we already have," Sladek said.

Sladek said residents who moved here were promised open space by the city's current Comprehensive Plan.

"A lot of people in Oviedo came here because we do have rural areas and open space," Sladek said. "To change that and say, 'We're going to expand and do a lot more of what you see'-- I wish we could keep our promise."

The memorandum acknowledges that schools in the proposed area of development are at capacity and students would have to be bused to other schools.

"The capacity considered for this development was not available in the School Concurrency Service Area where the development is being constructed ... As a result, the student assignment may not be to the school in the closest proximity to the proposed residential development," the memorandum said.

Sladek believes traffic congestion would also worsen, especially on already congested Mitchell Hammock Road, even though the developer is proposing to extend Oviedo Boulevard as an alternate route to busy Mitchell Hammock Road.

The memorandum claims that traffic would not worsen beyond the "level of service standard."

"It is anticipated that in both the short term and long term evaluation years, Mitchell Hammock Road will remain congested with or without the proposed project," according to the memorandum. "Net change in vehicular trips from the proposed development program does not result in the affected roadways falling below the adopted level of service standard... and does not create any additional roadway deficiencies beyond those anticipated in the long-term horizon year."

Sladek said she doesn't believe it.

"I just don't understand how that's possible," Sladek said. "Even if they punch through additional roads to go to other places, there will be more traffic in this area and the population will go up."

The memorandum lists Rick Lewellyan as the applicant for the project, BML Investments and PRN Investments as the property owners, Abdul Alkadry, with Harris Civil Engineers, and Tara Tedrow, of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor and Reed, as consultants.

Tedrow and Alkadry did not return calls for comment.

Oviedo Mayor Dominic Persampiere said he must keep an open mind because he'll likely have to vote on the project.

"I can definitely say there are concerns," Persampiere said. "We're a growing city, and we'll just have to wait and see until we have all the facts in front of us and whether this works or not."

The Oviedo City Local Planning Agency will consider the proposal Thursday night at a public meeting at City Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m.

After that, the council will likely hold its first public hearing next month, and if the proposal passes, the state will review the project, and then the council will hold its second and final public hearing.

The undeveloped 60-acre land is made up of ponds that currently store Oviedo's treated wastewater allowing it to percolate.

Persampiere said the city is planning to make the ponds, or water hazards, at the Twin Rivers Golf Course the future treated stormwater holding site that the City now owns. The water would be used to irrigate the golf course.

Persampiere said the city's current Comprehensive Plan allows for an additional 10,000 residents. Currently, Oviedo is home to around 40,000 residents.

Persampiere said state roads 419 and 426 are being widened into four lanes to help relieve congestion on Mitchell Hammock Road.

The west side of Mitchell Hammock from State Road 434 to the Greenway can be widened in the future and that will be considered, Persampiere said, but the east side cannot be widened without considerable expense.

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