SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - A group of concerned residents is fighting against a proposal to build a multifamily apartment complex in the middle of their residential community.
The proposed facility would be built on 4.6 acres of wooded land at the corner of Beasley Road and Alafaya Trail in Seminole County.
Mike Bianco is leading the charge and working with other concerned residents who are against the developer's proposal.
"The property owner has the right to sell, a developer has the right to develop and we have the right to maintain a safe way of life," Bianco said.
The developer, Atlantic Housing Partners, is asking the county to rezone the land so it can build the apartment complex.
"Ninety-two to 99 units of three story-tall buildings, all by one-story (houses) -- some of which are rural houses -- and it's just not an appropriate place for it," Bianco said.
The developer plans to offer low-income housing.
"The demand for affordable workforce housing in Central Florida is at an all-time high," Scott Culp, with Atlantic Housing Partners, said in an email to News 6.
Some residents said that doesn't bother them and they are not against growth.
But many residents, including Yanina Genao, are worried the apartment complex would increase traffic in the area, lower their property values and ruin their quality of life.
"Majority of us live on at least an acre, about half an acre, and we all decided to move here for that privacy, that little bit of country feel and we're losing that," she said. "It's OK to grow, but it's the right amount of people in the right amount of area."
The neighbors said they're also concerned this could set a precedent for rezoning future areas of development throughout the county.
Bianco said they have collected more than 700 signatures on a petition against the proposal. Concerned residents are also expected to pack the chambers this week when the county commission takes up the issue.
"Any kind of giant use is not appropriate to this location," Bianco said.
Culp adds the developer is working with residents to alleviate their concerns. He sent this statement to News 6:
Atlantic Housing Partners focuses on development of quality affordable housing communities that serve the needs of these families. We also recognize and respect the concerns of the neighboring residents that are accustomed to this vacant, wooded, undeveloped parcel in their community. However, the current approvals for this property allow commercial uses of greater intensity and greater traffic generation then our proposed multi-family rental community. The current approvals include access for those uses of greater intensity directly onto Beasley Road. In our efforts to address the concerns of the neighboring residents, we have agreed to eliminate all access to Beasley Road, increase all perimeter landscape buffers, increase the minimum open space, and access the community only from Alafaya Trail (SR 434). The County staff has confirmed the adequate capacity of public facilities to serve the needs of our proposed development and has confirmed that our proposed use is compatible with the County’s governing regulations. Our desire is to provide a quality multi-family rental community that will increase the available affordable housing opportunities for the workforce of the Orlando MSA.
According to county documents, county staff is recommending the commission approve the rezoning. Staff said that area can handle the high-density apartment complex and it would have little impact on traffic.
The Seminole County Board of Commissioners meets on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and is expected to discuss this issue.
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