We have good reason to be upset and concerned about our new city commission.
The intent of the Orange Avenue Overlay was to create a new mixed use neighborhood similar to Park Ave and Hannibal Square, extending and re-enforcing the Winter Park character that benefits all residents. This opportunity is now dead.
Two new members of the city commission, Sheila DeCiccio and Marty Sullivan, and two existing members, Carolyn Cooper and Todd Weaver, worked feverishly immediately after the March 17th election to “rescind” the Orange Avenue Overlay (OAO) Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Land Development Code that had earlier received final approval after years of public process. These four obstructionists claim they had to move quickly to avoid legal action against the city. But the city is exposed to legal action regardless, as the “rescission” lacked due process required for Comprehensive Plan changes. As the city attorney put it, “I’ve not seen this. There are no cases on it.” We will need to see what happens on the legal front but “rescinding” the OAO is bad governance and has already proven expensive for our community in many ways.
The most thorough, most public, most debated, and most successful planning effort in Winter Park history has been laid to waste. The four obstructionists “rescinded” years of extensive formal planning and investment by the city that included a formal task force, numerous planning professionals, numerous public meetings, and hundreds of involved citizens. “Rescinding” the OAO mocks those who invested so much of their time and expertise, and demonstrates that Winter Park is ungovernable.
Attempts by the obstructionists to revise the OAO are a performance without an audience. The very act of “rescinding” the OAO acknowledges three votes do not exist to provide for residential units, square footage, and parking necessary to support a new mixed-use neighborhood on Orange Ave. The obstructionists may re-write the OAO in keeping with their personal dogmas, but the result will not create a professionally planned sense of place worthy of Winter Park and will not attract meaningful investment. The opportunity is lost. They destroyed it.
I think the four obstructionists will continue to govern badly, destroy value, and waste our money. Pay attention and let them know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regards, Pete Weldon
700 Via Lombardy