SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Dozens of people, all wearing red, packed Seminole County Commission chambers in downtown Sanford Tuesday evening to protest a proposed three-story affordable housing complex.
Neighbors who live near the 4.6 acre site proposed for development at Alafaya Trail and Beasley Road near Oviedo tried to convince commissioners to vote no on the project.
A vote was postponed from two weeks ago after the developer of the Enclave at Alafaya said he needed more time.
Tuesday night, commissioners voted 3 to 2 in favor of the project after hearing hours of public comment from concerned neighbors.
Mike Bianco, who has become the spokesperson for the neighbors, said it's not that they're opposed to development. They understand a prime piece of property near Oviedo covered by woods will eventually be bulldozed.
"It's not about workforce housing, it's about packing people in like sardines," Bianco said. "It's about over development and unreasonable development. We're not opposed to development, we're just wanting it be reasonable. Compatibility. What's proposed is three-stories high surrounded by one-story single family homes."
Bianco said the three-story apartment building would overlook all of the single-family, one-story homes that it would surround.
Bianco gathered more than 1,100 signatures in an online petition protesting the proposed development, which he delivered on Tuesday night to commissioners wrapped in a bow.
He and his neighbors are frustrated that the project sailed through Seminole County Zoning and made it in front of commissioners for a vote.
"It doesn't make sense, it's not a smart choice for development," Bianco said. "People are worried about what happened to them, what is happening to them, or what will happen to them. This will set the precedent of what's to come."
Planners have said the project is appropriate and the surrounding schools and roads, already congested, can handle the impact of as many as 92 units.
Bianco said students who move into the development might have to be bused elsewhere because schools are at or near capacity.
"They're wanting to put 300 people in the space where 30 people live right now," Bianco said. "And Lake Hayes Road is going to turn into a parking lot and we'll have 500-600 more car trips on these little roads."
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