Please contact the Winter Park City Commission and tell them to stop their current effort to buy the 2 acre USPS property on New York Avenue for an estimated cost of $15,000,000 or initiate a voter referendum to accept or reject their plan.
When the US Postal Service is ready to sell its land on New York avenue, the city can leverage the public use zoning and acquire the property at a fair market value via eminent domain. Why is the city commission trying to pay $15,000,000 for the land now when the latest formal appraisal is less than $2,000,000?
The commission’s plan is to move the post office out of downtown, giving the USPS a turnkey new building on new land all owned by the USPS and constructed at our financial risk to their specifications. The commission estimates this will cost $15 million. Click here for currently known USPS requirements.
This plan contrasts with the 1996 purchase of Winter Park Golf Course land (25 acres) for $8,000,000, financed with $5.1 million in voter approved bonds. How can they spend $15,000,000 without voter approval? Because most of the money would come from the Winter Park Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) controlled by the city commission. These agencies are controversial exactly because they can commit large amounts of taxpayer money without justification and without voter approval, as currently planned in this case.
What is the value of the post office property? The most recent formal appraisal completed in 2014 valued the property at $1.78 million based on its mixed zoning (half Parks/Recreation and half Public/Quasi Public), and $2.35 million if the entire property were rezoned to Public, Quasi-Public. The commission estimates the cost of their plan at $15,000,000 – you can do the math. The actual cost would not be know until the USPS accepts a completed new facility.
I participated in this video where four Winter Park residents discuss this issue: