Fellow Winter Park Residents,
Strategic issues are at the top of my mind as I serve as your city commissioner.
As the central Florida area grows, I hear complaints from some Winter Park residents about density (more people) and increased traffic. Some of this is politically motivated badgering and some is genuine frustration.
Turns out there are facts that can give us a clear picture of reality. I propose we discuss reality as a community, rather than accept ranting and dogma as a substitute for facts and well thought out policy. Here are a couple of starting points.
Density: Winter Park Population
This from the 2002 Winter Park Comprehensive Annual Report: “The City currently occupies a land area of approximately nine square miles and serves a population of 26,377.”
This from the 2017 Winter Park Comprehensive Annual Report: “The City currently occupies a land area of approximately nine square miles and serves a population of 29,317.” Total area has recently been updated to 10.4 square miles to fully account for prior annexations, of which 1.7 square miles is lakes.
Winter Park population has grown by about 3,000 people over the past 15 years, 11% total growth. Where did this growth come from?
- Annexations since 2002 have added approximately 1,275 people when they occurred, primarily along Lee Road and adjoining neighborhoods.
- Development of the Wind Song area, Pennsylvania Place, and Hamilton Place brought approximately 700 new Winter Park residents.
- The balance of about 1,000 people can be attributed to population growth in the annexed areas, two recent apartment buildings on Denning Drive, single family lot splits, and downtown condominiums.
Your city commission last year removed High Density Residential Zoning (R4 – 25 units per acre) from the Comprehensive Plan (see page 1). Property already Zoned R4 can apply for this level of residential density. For example, The Mayflower community off Aloma is currently expanding on its existing vacant land with R4 zoning.
Medium Density residential zoning and Low Density residential zoning apply to some properties. Medium Density is up to 17 units per acre resulting in a maximum average floor area per unit of 2,500 square feet. Low Density is up to 12 units per acre resulting in a maximum average floor area per unit of 3,600 square feet. Thus, the remaining multi-unit residential zoning categories will most often result in high value units with fee-simple ownership, not in rental units. There are only a few properties in Winter Park with existing R2, R3, and R4 zoning that are not currently developed to their full residential entitlement. Approvals dating back to 2011 in Ravaudage at Lee Road and 17/92 will add about 1,000 people in apartments currently under construction.
- Population growth in Winter Park has been and will continue to be very gradual.
- Given existing R2, R3, and R4 zoned properties, we can expect some build out over time that will add marginally to our population. In 15 more years Winter Park population might grow another 11% given these current residential zoning entitlements.
- Population growth surrounding Winter Park has been and will continue to be substantial, expected to grow from 2,500,000 to 3,300,000 by 2030.
Traffic: Winter Park Traffic Counts
Orange county maintains a GIS database that allows you to quickly see the historical traffic counts at various locations. Click here to see the map and zoom in on Winter Park. Here is a sample location on Aloma about a half mile East of Park Avenue:
Check out the historic traffic counts and trends on various roads in Winter Park. What is your conclusion?
The Winter Park City Commission has no say over population outside the city limits of Winter Park and related traffic impacts.
I am focused on managing what is within our purview and welcome your input and insights.
Please comment on this post! What do the population and traffic realities tell you about policy for Winter Park? What should your commission do given these realities?
Regards, Pete Weldon
Vice Mayor, City of Winter Park