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Our Take is where Bungalower lays out the facts on a specific issue and then shares with our readers what our take is on the topic. Today we tackle The Princeton at College Park.

We’ve been telling you about the new apartment complex being planned in College Park along Princeton St and Smith St. The project has garnered a number of opponents who are asking the City to “slow down” the process and have placed no density signs in their yards.

You can imagine that if the Princeton at College Park project does not get approved by City Council it would be a good idea for our community to work with the planners at the City of Orlando and put together a vision for Edgewater Drive. That way developers and property owners can better understand what types of development the community would support.

The problem is we have already done this. Our community has built a vision plan for Edgewater Drive. A vision plan that this project, for the most part (more on that later), fits within.

A plan is created…30 years ago

But before we even get into the vision plan it’s good to have some background. In 1985 the state of Florida passed a law requiring each municipality to establish growth management plans. As part of the City’s plan, they established “activity centers” including where there should be density within the city and specifically where mixed use development should be focused. This means smarter growth for the city. As part of that original plan, which passed the Orlando City Council and has been applauded by the state for our smart growth planning, the core of College Park, (the blocks along Edgewater Driver near the intersection at Princeton and Smith Street) were designated as a community activity center. Prior to this designation you could put buildings in that area that were up to 75 feet high.

To be clear, a community activity center is not the same as what we have throughout the central business district in downtown. In this area there are limits on building height and density/intensity. The maximum density allowed is only 20% of what would be allowed downtown.

In 2005 a condo complex was proposed similar to The Wellesley on Edgewater between Yale St and Harvard St. Residents organized and spoke out on the project and started a petition called “College Park Neighbors for Sensible Development”. The residents said they wanted things to slow down so that a true plan for Edgewater Drive could be put together. In 2006 a second Wellesley building was proposed and approved on the front third of the island where the Princeton is being proposed today.

Both projects stalled and gave the city time to put together a citizen task force to address the vision plan for Edgewater Drive.

That plan, which was based on the work of the ten-member resident task force, regular meetings with the community and even going door to door to neighbors in the immediate area, was passed by City Council.

The plan calls for the largest mixed use buildings to be built in the core blocks of College Park and to blend the development into the neighborhood both from a north/south perspective along Edgewater Drive and east/west into the neighborhood.

The plan itself specifically addresses the island where the Princeton is being built. The plan divides the island into three parts. The first part is the largest along Edgewater and is called Urban Core and allows for buildings of up to seven stories. The middle part of the island is Urban Center and is limited to five stories and the remaining part is General Urban and is limited to three-stories.

Current Zoning
There’s a lot of talk about how the property is zoned for 26 units and they are trying to build 226. The truth is the island is currently zoned for 84 units and if the developer meets certain requirements they could build 147 units on the island. So without any changes and with the approval of the planning board for the developer checking off the required boxes to get a bonus, as it is a mixed-use project, (the term bonus is a little misleading…it’s really just another step to ensuring smart development) they could build 147 units.

But what matters more than current zoning is what the most recent Vision plan says. It anticipates that properties would be re-zoned to the allowable height transitions above. Based on this plan the island would allow up to 274 units with the bonuses.

So where does the 26 unit number that is printed on the posters, petition and flyers come from? Well, my only guess is that it’s because there are 26 units on the property right now.

How The Princeton Fits Into the Plan

The Princeton at College Park as proposed is a 226 unit building. The building starts as a five-story building and then goes to a four and then three-story building. And while the five stories is obviously less than the seven the plan calls for the five-story portion goes into the middle area that the plan only allows for three stories and this also causes the four-story area to also be in the part that only allows for three stories.

This is really the only exception the developer is asking for and the city’s planning staff have put forward that as a recommendation. The reason is that the project could come in strict compliance with the plan by removing the top one or two floors where it’s over and move those units to the part of the building that is closest to Edgewater Drive and make the building seven stories in that portion.

Here’s a rendering the City of Orlando put together to illustrate the two options. It’s also possible that the extra height or the lack of units would make the project not financially feasible for the developer.

Courtesy City of Orlando
Courtesy City of Orlando

Our Take

We believe very strongly that connecting residents and our readers to what is happening in their city is the most important component to building a stronger city. We think it’s important for residents to be informed and have an opportunity to share their views and have an impact in their community. Furthermore, we believe that property owners have a right to know what development rights they have on their property and that our City should not be in the business of flip-flopping on what a developer can or can’t do. That’s why we stand very strongly behind the Edgewater Drive Vision Plan.

We, as a community, should have a conversation about if we want the developer to shift some of the building height from the middle of the project to the front of the project which would result in a potential seven story building. While that would mean the plan fits 100% within the plan, it may not be what the community would want.

As someone who moved to College Park to raise my family I can understand the concerns around increased traffic and the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

There’s an ongoing debate on if the project will create traffic problems. After reading the traffic studies done for the vision plan and this project, we don’t think traffic will be an issue.

And if the project does create more traffic and congestion, that may not be a horrible thing for College Park. We time and again have said we don’t want people speeding down our streets. More traffic coming in and out of these areas and making the core of College Park a destination will help to slow traffic down. The developers are also using traffic calming measures in their street scaping to help this. The more this happens, the more College Park moves away from a thoroughfare and into a true main street with slower speeds making safer for pedestrians.

We think that every resident has a right to share their thoughts on this project and the broader vision plan, however we think those opinions should be based on facts. We strongly encourage those behind ReThink the Princeton to re-write their material to correct that there are 26 units on the property but that the development rights on the site allow for 274. It may not be as convincing an argument but it would be better to focus on the specific concerns of the vision plan or the project and not just be anti-density in an area set aside specifically for density. If the site was intended for only 26 units and they wanted to put 226 we would be leading the charge to stop the development.

Editors Note: This is our first opinion column for Bungalower. We made a decision to do this because we think it’s important to our mission of Building Stronger Cities. It was also highly requested by you, our readers, in our most recent readership survey. We always welcome your feedback both in comments and by contacting us.

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  1. Harriet Duncan your not very good at this I see ? I mean making a sensible argument of comparison ! How about Walmart as to Saks fifth Avenue ! Lol now I would have taken you seriously if you tried McDonald to Burger King .

  2. When I first moved here, 30 years ago, I lived in an apt complex called Verandahs, in Wekiva area; 1300 sq ft, big wrap around verandahs in the back & big porticos in the front, they were lovely for the purpose. We don’t want that island that greets everyone who travels through College Park to have such an awful look. Scale back with a better design.

  3. We want something that matches our community, something we can be proud of, but this is not a quality project;. Bring on some visionary architects. Less units, higher prices. No more than three stories, preferably 2. Build nice townhouses, in a style that reflects the bungalow origins of this community. Step up to the plate, this is garbage that belongs somewhere else, not here.

  4. This one is ugly, there is no vision, only ugliness. Get better architects, scale it back, charge more. They will be living in a prime area, no need to cheapen the look and size.

  5. What I fear is that this will somehow pass with all the ‘restrictions’ that the developer has to abide by, but once it is built the restrictions will somehow dissolve and an even bigger building will replace the Edgewater drive portion. It is time to put our foot down now. These guys are winking and nodding at each other while we ‘peasants ‘ fuss among ourselves. I hope that the community’s Sampson finds their way to the City’s Goliath.

  6. Live here for 37 years and see the changes over the the years then come talk to me. It’s a mistake and if they go through with it and u live here u will see chaos. It’s a bad idea.

  7. I was a senior planner working for Maitland’s CRA. I don’t think either project was/is a great fit for either community. That’s just my opinion and I’m “somewhat” informed.

  8. Both sides have compelling arguments. Think back to the time (2003?) when Edgewater was reduced (yes, reduced) from 4 lanes to 2. People were saying it was the end of College Park and traffic would be gridlocked etc. Well, 11 years later I imagine most, if not all, would agree that that was one of the best things to happen for College Park. My point here is that traffic in urban areas is always a good thing. I know that sounds odd, but it means people want to be there. That means businesses, residents, etc. This development should be designed with ground floor retail I do agree-that is main issue.

  9. It looks nothing like The Village and Maitland is far from ruined. I often wonder where people get their information from.

  10. I for one loved the good at a certain establishment on edge water . But for there prices the quantity was insufficient so we no longer eat there ? This means they lost business to a competitor

  11. I have commented on the Bungalower’s article. Today I read the letter (Orlando Sentinel) from the gentleman from Indiana with interest. It’s true Smart Growth projects are being built in record numbers across the nation. Cities and towns are changing comprehensive plans, building regulations and zoning hoping to make Smart Growth possible. Proponents of The Princeton at College Park are touting the project as an example of Smart Growth. However, a closer look shows that is has many flaws.
    Poorly designed density feeds frustration. High-rise projects with no retail on the street are unsafe.
    To create great communities neighborhoods must work together to combine density and great design of the space. Here is what Smart Growth looks like. If it looks like the proposed Princeton project, people should be in favor. Decide for yourself.
    * Smart growth strategies make walking and bicycling easier.
    * Smart growth strategies engage the community. Neighborhood revitalization works best when community members have a say – what services they need, what areas need help (where crime rates are growing, or valuable historic assets need preserving), and what they can do to help .
    * Smart growth strategies reduce congestion and air pollution.
    * Smart growth strategies ensure difficult development decisions are made inclusively.
    * Smart growth means ensuring that people of all income levels have a say in what gets built in their backyard and that neighborhoods are not unfairly burdened with harmful development.
    * Smart growth makes streets safer and easier to use for all kinds of travelers, including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit riders, as well as children, the elderly and travelers with disabilities.
    RTP is about Smart Growth and about community. We are asking for another look and for compromise. We are not No Growth nor are we NIMBYs – the gentleman from Indiana’s take in the paper notwithstanding.

  12. I read today’s letter (Orlando Sentinel) from the gentleman from Indiana  with interest.  It’s true Smart Growth projects are being built in record numbers across the nation.  Cities and towns are changing comprehensive plans, building regulations and zoning hoping to make Smart Growth possible.  Proponents of The Princeton at College Park are touting the project as an example of Smart Growth. However, a closer look shows that this development has many flaws. 
    Poorly designed density feeds frustration.  High-rise projects with no retail on the street are unsafe.
    To create great communities neighborhoods must work together to combine density and great design of the space.  Here is what Smart Growth looks like.  If it looks like the proposed Princeton project, people should be in favor.  Decide for yourself.
    * Smart growth strategies make walking and bicycling easier.
    * Smart growth strategies engage the community. Neighborhood revitalization works best when community members have a say – what services they need,  what areas need help (where crime rates are growing, or valuable historic assets need preserving), and what they can do to help .
    * Smart growth strategies reduce congestion and air pollution.
    * Smart growth strategies ensure difficult development decisions are made inclusively.
    * Smart growth means ensuring that people of all income levels have a say in what gets built in their backyard and that neighborhoods are not unfairly burdened with harmful development.
    * Smart growth makes streets safer and easier to use for all kinds of travelers, including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit riders, as well as children, the elderly and travelers with disabilities.

    RTP is about Smart Growth and about community.  We are asking for another look and for compromise.  We are not No Growth nor are we NIMBYs – the gentleman from Indiana’s take in the paper notwithstanding.

  13. Bungalower David B Roadcup 
    No… I think Developers, Architects and City Planners have a responsibility to  to design and create environments with a sense of place that are respectful of their community and the context of its surroundings.  Projects of this magnitude and extended vision plans that push the limits of zoning and its residents have long range impacts on the environment and community and need to be carefully planned. Trader Joe’s is a perfect example of a supposedly well planned city approved project that has been a traffic fiasco.  I think the “Princeton / Smith Island” is a prime location for developing a mixed use low impact 2-3 story bungalow style town home community that becomes the gateway statement to College Park.

  14. MaryTravis Bungalower It is so frustrating that the ReThink people are completely ignoring the facts.  Matt you have put forth a well researched and concise article.  The ReThink people don’t understand that the owner of the property is allowed – currently as it is now zoned – to put something much worse on this property.  If the City of Orlando votes against this PD do you think the owner will sit back and try and work with a bunch of complaining residents that have sidelined this project?  No!  The owner will simply build something that they are allowed to build without needing any approval from the City of Orlando.  Be careful what you wish for Rethink people…a WalMart just may replace the Princeton.

  15. Agreed Kaley,

    Density can bring diversity, and that can be good…, however not for this small project site and proximity to the already busiest intersection in College Park. I find it hard to believe that this is the ONLY location for this project or the ONLY thing that can be developed on this site to enhance or stimulate business and growth in College Park. As I stated before, the value of the property is driving the size of the development for a quick return on investment by the Developer.  Developers will always overdevelop and push the limits of the site envelope when proposing a project, requesting rezoning to best fit their interest in hopes that the community will compromise for something less developed or dense [still knowing that they are meeting their minimum density level to still make a profit] as opposed to designing for the minimum in the first place.  Again, the bottom line is about MONEY not vision…..2/3rds of an iceberg is under water which most people never see.

  16. nedpopkins Hi Ned. Yes I had to take a guess because I ran the numbers many different ways and no where does 26 come out. 

    It’s all considered one mixed use development. It is quite common to combine an existing building and have the two interact to create a mixed use project.

    Even if you exclude the current retail strip but include the Old Florida property (the apartments will go on that property) you are still at 48. If for some reason you remove the Old Florida property (which as far as I can tell will have apartments on it), you are at 31. And again that doesn’t include any bonuses they are allowed. Still not 26.

    Also, this leaves out the fact that the Growth Management Plan and the Vision plan, which are considered more specific plans, call for community activity center. The property owners just need to request those zoning changes.

    Not trying to discredit anyone just trying to get the facts out. As you know, I’m a fan of your work and I know that you support good journalism and facts (good journalism schools do that to you). I’m happy to share my spreadsheet with you on the breakdown based on the current zoning and property appraiser.

    Thanks for reading and sharing.

  17. This is an important issue, and i too, appreciate the discussion.
    As a 15 year CP resident, firstly, i believe its critical that we pause, and not bicker. This is where we all live, and i assume, are happy that we do.
    College park does need important change. Some should be thoughtful development & some should be a re-thinking of what CP is and should be.
    I’ve no issues with apt complexes, per se, but i have an issue with one that is cheaply built (stick, not masonry), and the scale is incorrect for the apron, i.e., the size is wrong therefore the design is wrong.
    The properties there currently, do us no favor. That is clear, but if a stick-framed couple hundred unit complex is constructed, neither will that.
    In the long run, our properties will continue to appreciate most, and CP quality of life will also appreciate, with a different & better structure.
    Those of you expressing we currently have no traffic issues, concern me, because clearly we do along commuting hours.
    As a side mote, I would like to see more support for the edgewater drive vision plan, with wider sidewalks – more like Park Ave, and tall Royal palms instaed of the junky mix of East Palatka Hollies (too short – people bang into them) and also too short Crepe Myrtles and ugly Cabbage Palms.
    That one reletively doable change would greatly beautify Edgewater drive and make CP truly something special to visit, creating much more beneficial long term returns.
    One thing is clear to me, we all love living in CP, and i wouldnt live in any other community in CF.
    The developer, probably another story.

  18. It really makes me sad how many people are concerned with car traffic and where to park. Have you all considered getting out of your car and walking and/or biking? This project isn’t creating traffic, you and your vehicle are creating traffic. You are traffic. THAT’S the bottom line. Density is good. It boosts the local economy, increases community fabric and togetherness, and decreases the impervious footprint. This community needs more people who will go out and spend their money; maybe some of our restaurants and shops will actually have a shot at surviving. Density brings diversity, and diversity is good.

  19. Matt: In attempting to discredit the Rethink The Princeton petition, you have misstated the facts. You are correct in stating that “the island is currently zoned for 84 units,” but you are wrong in suggesting that the petition is incorrect when it states that the apartment-complex site is currently zoned for only 26 dwelling units. The entire island is 3.43 acres, but the developer proposes buying (and building on) only the eastern 1.97 acres. According to the city of Orlando’s staff report to the Municipal Planning Board (GMP2014-00011 & GMP2014-00012) about The Princeton at College Park, that 1.97 acres is currently zoned mostly Residential Low Intensity (which allows 12 units per acre), with a little bit of it zoned Office Low Intensity (which allows 21 units per acre). Put the two together, and you get 26 or 27 dwelling units allowed on the 1.97 acres. So when you “guess” (your word, not mine) that Rethink The Princeton is using the 26-unit figure because perhaps there are 26 units on the property now, you’re wrong. Not a good way to start off your first editorial.

  20. We have a good business district.  Our shops are unique and certain businesses and restaurants  do quite well.  Many of them are thriving.  I think this poorly planned density will backfire in that the traffic snarls, lack of diversity and green space will cause consumer frustrations. What we hoped would bring customers ultimately drives them away.  This project needs to be scaled back, and we need to take another look.  A well designed  traffic study would be a good first step.

  21. David Roadcup
    Here’s the bottom line:…. MONEY.
    1. The entire project is driven by the value and Sale
    of the property.
    2.We have a Landowner that wishes to sell his property
    for a profit.
    3.A Developer with “no vested interest” in the
    College Park community, who needs to make a profit from the purchase. [A bonus allowing
    226 apartments will guarantee this]…. They walk away.
    4.A community that will have to live with and “pay
    the price” for a big mistake [Traffic,
    Density etc…].
    5.Who’s Vision
    for enhancing the community in that?

  22. Eat out a lot . With more establishments more competition lower prices . Affording it is an individual challenge !

  23. Bungalower MaryTravis We are urging city officials to reject the land-use and zoning changes requested by Pollack Shores.  We suggest Rethinking the plans and negotiating with residents and city staff to diversify and scale back the project. 
    The goal:  A development that contributes to the neighborhood’s charm and its vibrant business district without looming over adjacent residential areas and further taxing already heavily used roads.
    We are focused, committed and going one step and one day at a time. Right now we need people at the council meeting on the 29th at 2:00 PM wearing red, we need “street walkers” distributing flyers and getting signatures, and we need to be confident that we did our due diligence and are presenting a valid argument.
    In the city’s organizational chart the Citizens are at the top – we are appealing to our public servants to listen to the community voices and Rethink the Princeton.

  24. That is correct Harriet. Without a good business district this community would go downhill. We are directly 100% tied to the success of the businesses along Edgewater. I hope you see that?

  25. This big scale building was not designed well for CP & traffic is already bad enough as it it. Publix is so small you may never get in there with so many people & I can’t see any dining place on edgwater that is doing that well when prices & rent are so high.

  26. Edgewater can handle many more vehicles. It will, thankfully, slow down traffic and make walking and biking much more attractive. Have you ever noticed how enjoyable and business friendly busy corridors are. Density in the urban core (which this is) is a great thing. The benefits outweigh the costs almost always. Ideally, the folks living here won’t (or shouldn’t) need to drive their cars to get to work or shop. They should walk a few blocks to both. That is what this community should become and having dense residential complexes along the Drive and urban core is what it takes. This is why I moved here 13 years ago. This community is ripe for this type of development. I don’t mean to sound pushy, but this is just the tip of the density iceberg. There will be many more developments just like this proposed now that the market has improved. Bring it on. Build.

  27. Do you dine at anything on edgewater drive. Eating out is a big thing to us & we can’t afford anything there more than once a week if that. Rent is so high no wonder they can’t last long.

  28. Bungalower, why did you choose that name? Seems you are anti bungalow communities. If we wanted to live amongst high rises, we would be living downtown, not in this neighborhood.

  29. MaryTravis I’m confused. ReThink The Princeton is or isn’t OK with the vision plan? I’ve heard from many people who have signed the petition or are part of the group that all you are asking is that the project doesn’t get any exceptions from the vision plan. Is that correct? Or you want to throw out the vision plan and create a new one?

  30. I totally agree.  It seems that we, as College Park residents, have been asleep at the wheel since sometime in 2008.  I’m sure many of us were just trying to keep our heads above water during the crash and recession.  Much of the set up for this happened in 2009 – I am just happy to see the community wake up and get energized around College Park again.  
    I am so grateful to the WP residents and their No Density signs.  They stood up and were heard.  Let’s hope our city officials will hear us – this project needs to be scaled back and thoroughly vetted before coming to our community.

  31. Actually if completed as planned there will be a couple of additional spots. But true, that is only after the project is finished. I’m certain that will be a staging area for the majority of the time.

  32. aaroncpowell I’m going to double check on the three story limit but if that’s in the PD it would not be able to be changed without updating the PD through City Council. Also at that point the rest of the units would be occupied and the community would be in a much better standpoint to determine how the project has impacted the community. There are lots of things that are possible that’s why the City asked for a PD to restrict what they could do in the future. Let me get the specifics on what they would be able to do. Thanks!

  33. Allen is right on point.  The entire rezoning plan allows for the western part of the island, owned by Mr. Kersey, to be considered as the retail portion, even though that strip is not slated to be developed along with this project.  He and Pollack Shores have an agreement so Mr. Kersey can generously hand over his additional density, bumping up the density in the back of the island, and not include any additional retail space.  So these are apartments, nothing else.  And the Vision Plan clearly wants multi-use on a project anything near this size.

    Moreover, what many of us expect is that Mr. Kersey will simply return, once the leases are up on CVS and Tiajuana Flats, and go up 5-7 stories on Edgewater.  Despite assurances there will be no additional zoning changes, should we really expect the part of the island right on Edgewater to stay at 1-3 stories with a 5-story apartment just behind it, a bizarre camel’s hump?  The question begs, Why would Mr. Kersey give up this density to begin with?

  34. What seems to be broadly
    overlooked is the portion on Edgewater Drive. There appears to be a gentleman’s
    agreement between Pollack Shores and Mr Kersey. If the Princeton is built as
    currently proposed (on the eastern two thirds of the island) there would not be
    the ability to build anything more than three stories on Edgewater Drive (a
    statement from the City Planning Department, Dean Grandin). Why Mr. Kersey
    would agree to this is unknown, but that would not follow the theory of
    tapering down from Edgewater.
    The argument seems to remain focused on
    whether or not they can or should build this as planned. Yes, they can. But the
    problem remains that the undeveloped portion (CVS, Hair Salon, Subway & Tijuana
    flats) on Edgewater Dr will eventually be redeveloped and only to a three story
    building. So the whole block will be short along Edgewater Dr. and then jump to
    the five story (or even seven story as some suggest) in the middle and then taper
    down. That certainly does not follow the Vision Plan.

  35. Matt, excellent article and a much need factual approach. I found absolutely no errors in your reporting…… unfortunately neither the developer nor the opponents have been as careful to stick to the facts. I have no opinion on the project but do think the community is best served when we can have a conversation based on reality. Thanks ! ! !

  36. What’s there now is not a good fit. I’d rather see more retail on the ground level with housing on the upper stories. Revenue without the overnight parking.

  37. I’m for building but not a 300 unit apartment complex. Upscale row houses, french country town homes but not a giant apartment complex

  38. Bungalower They will e-mail you or jump in on this conversation.  I have to run but I’ll give them a shout out in the morning.  Thanks and have a great evening!

  39. Bungalower MaryTravis You will have to go to our zoning person for a better conversation.  I can set up a private e-mail exchange.  He knows this inside and out, and will be able to help you understand our position and understanding.
    Let me know if you’d like that,  
    Really, all we as a group are saying is that we want this project thoroughly vetted and we’d like all the issues addressed before these exceptions are approved.
    Reject it as proposed – take a step back – Rethink the issues – I guarantee you that as a united community – we can do better.
    Got to go – good dialogue and let me know if you want to have private conversations with our traffic and zoning team.

  40. MaryTravis Thanks I would hope that the petition gets updated in the mean time.

    Yes. Have them post here what exceptions to the vision plan the developer is asking for outside of the one we identified. Not exceptions to current zoning but to the vision plan which is the most specific document the city can use when determining if a development is suitable.

    Thanks for all your input and your commitment to helping us build a stronger city!

  41. Bungalower MaryTravis You have to talk to our zoning person when we get technical.  As I understand it, this development is asking for exceptions to the Vision Plan.  I know there is the Vision Plan – The Vision Plan Support Document – revisions.  In our estimation, this project does not fit the Vision Plan nor does it follow the intent of the Vision Plan. 
    I really want to refer you to our zoning person who knows this inside and out. It would be a private e-mail exchange(?)  so if that suits you, let me know. 
    From the sounds of it you two will be talking the same language (and understanding one another, too).
    I have gotten somewhat of a handle on it, but I don’t have the depth of understanding that he does.  He can explain it very well, and I think you’ll see there have been some twists and turns and spins with the Vision Plan and its interpretation.
    Great discourse – thanks!

  42. MaryTravis The entire island as stated in the article it is zoned for 84.27 units (I am happy to share the spreadsheet I built after analyzing the property appraisers maps). Because of the project they are eligible for a bonus (bad term as I mentioned because it’s there to encourage smart development) with the bonus it’s zoned for 147. So at the very least it needs to include the 84 number not 26. Again it serves everyone if we are all accurate.

    The Activity Center is what is in the Vision Plan. The city doesn’t typically change zoning due to a vision plan or growth management plan but instead waits for the property owner to request. That is happening now. So if you are OK with the plan this change should not be an issue. 

    The exception they are asking for is in relation to the transect and how many stories are OK in the middle of the project. As I stated, if we as a community want the developer to shift the middle portion to the front and add two more stories to the front then the City should require for that.

    The third part is making this a planned development. I didn’t have time to address this in the story above but the City actually requested this. If this wasn’t done the developer could come back and get 70,000 square feet of commercial space on the island because of the way the bonus works. The PD restricts that to 44,0000. Don’t think you want to remove that restriction.

    I have spent the hours research this because I know everyone can not and the more facts we can get in front of people the better positioned everyone is to make their own decision.

    I hope this helps.

  43. Well done article. I live here too. And work here. I often must drive from Stetson to Par at busy times. The Princeton/Smith/Vassar/Edgewater traffic is ridiculous. Traffic study or not, adding more traffic to that area demands ameliorative measures. My suggestion: no turns on red with camera enforcement.

  44. Bungalower MaryTravis Thanks for asking for more information.  I will do my best although I am not our expert on these issues (we have them, but they aren’t me!)  As I understand it- it (the petition) isn’t inaccurate.   *The city’s existing development plan, nearly all of the 2 acres is currently designated low-density residential so 12 du/a.  *A small slice of the proprety (Florida National Bank and the dumpsters roughly) is designated “low-density office” which limits residential density to 21du/a. *The westernmost portion of the “island” parcel roughly 1.42 acres that the developer does not intend to buy, consists of the CVS – Tijuana Flats commercial block and the parking lot behind it, which is designated as Community Activity Center – the densest development designation limited to 40 du/a. * So under the current development plan for the Edgewater-Princeton corridors, the parcel could hold no more than 25 – 30 dwelling units.The developer wants to get around this and build 226 du – nearly 10 times as many as currently allowed by getting redesignations to Community Activity Center on the Eastern tip of the island, combining the eastern and western portion of the island ( in terms of development map designations) and getting a “density bonus” from the city to boost the maximum allowable density.The current development plan calls for high-density development where appropriate, and under the current plan calls for 25-30 du/a.
    When you look at the Transects, you read that in T-4 General Urban there is a maximum building mass and density and intensity bonuses are discouraged.  It is in T-6 that density and intensity bonuses may be used and you can have 6 – 7 stories.  T-6 as you know sits on Edgewater Drive where the commercial corridor and density are allowed and encouraged by the vision plan.
    As we read it, the developer is asking for 3 exceptions in order to build this project as proposed- 2 land use and 1 zoning.  We have had the Vision Plan for only 5 years and much of that was during the economic recession.  We may want to take another look at it as a community, but I don’t think we should make these substantial changes to the Vision Plan for a single use project.  We would like to see a mix of uses and much more interaction with the larger community. 
    Traffic and cut through traffic needs to be studied.  The traffic study that was done was not thorough.  It looked at 3 intersections.  It took a sample of 2 hours in one day in April.  A thorough study would have looked at more intersections, for a longer period of time.  We aren’t saying we know 100% that the traffic will be awful.  We ARE saying that it certainly could become a Trader Joe’s debacle, but we don’t know because there was an inadequate study of traffic.  Again, slow down, take a good look at the proposal, the Vision Plan, the traffic, the infrastructure.  Reject so the community can rethink.Thanks for asking.

  45. Any traffic study that says that Edgewater and Princeton as currently configured could handle 300 additional cars was done by these same people!

  46. Article in the paper today said it best! Quoting Steve Isham. How can we trust traffic studies that continually result in gridlock? Look at Trader Joe’s in Winter Park. Surely there was a “thorough” study behind that fiasco.

  47. Was it a real traffic study? I went to a dog and pony show about the Sodo development where they touted their traffic studies by some alleged consultants. When asked real questions, as it turns out, it was completely worthless information. As I recall, the traffic study – that the city apparently paid a lot of money for – was based upon the existing traffic (mind you it was essentially empty land at the time) and not the traffic that was expected to be generated by the new stores, etc. Irrespective of the traffic or anything else, this building is nightmarish looking. Having grown up in College Park, this just makes me sad. Not to mention, its an apt complex, have you considered what this place will look like in 5 or 10 years?

  48. MaryTravis Thanks for reading and the feedback.

    I’m glad to see that the flyer was updated to remove the part that says it was zoned for 26. What about the petition? It’s still inaccurate. As written I would have signed the petition so it’s tough to tell who really is against a project when the petition leads with an incorrect fact. 

    You stated “Rethink the Princeton is asking city officials to reject the land use and zoning exceptions and keep the Vision Plan as it is written for now.” The only exception they are asking for from the vision plan is the one regarding the transect. So if they move those units to the front part of the project and make it seven stories you have no issues? That would put it 100% in compliance with the vision plan.

    What would help address the cut-through traffic?

    Thanks for clarifying.

  49. Kevin, The shops will maintain their parking. More retail parking is going to be added with the development. They are adding not only more parking on the development but also on the street. They are going to be making street improvements with the project that the developer will pay for. Including a bus stop across the street for a potential Bus Rapid Transit/Lymmo expansion.

  50. Thank you for the article about The Princeton in College Park, and the Vision Plan for Edgewater Drive and our community efforts.  I would like to clarify some of the statements in the article.  

    Rethink the Princeton is asking city officials to reject the land use and zoning exceptions and keep the Vision Plan as it is written for now.  We are not against growth.  We are not against Pollack Shores.  We have reached out to them, and asked for compromise.

    We have asked Pollack Shores to scale down the project.  We know 26 units is what exists at present and that is not the maximum allowed.  We have asked how much the company can scale it back so they still make a profit.  We want to compromise on density and number of units which is why we have reached out to Pollack Shores and are petitioning city officials.

    The traffic study was not comprehensive.  We requested and have received the study.  It was not done in-depth and did not fully address the cut-through traffic that will be generated.Traffic needs more study.

    We believe granting land-use and zoning exceptions sets a dangerous precedent.  The Vision Plan may not be perfect, but it was completed and voted on and is the document intended to guide growth in the area.  Smart growth will bring density and the Vision Plan has a place for high-rise buildings and high density. New urban design projects that serve as models for smart growth have a mix of uses, they are pedestrian and bicycle friendly, they have green spaces parking alternatives, and are a result of collaboration between developers, the larger community and city officials.  Many of these pieces are missing from this project as proposed.

    We are sincerely concerned that this project has not been thoroughly vetted; nor have other concerns been adequately addressed. We are urging  Mayor Buddy Dyer and our commissioners to reject this plan in its current form.
    Bring it back to the drawing board. We can do better.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.  Our group is happy to answer any questions your readership may have. Just go to Rethink the Princeton on FB or to Nex tDoor College Park.

  51. College Park Community Paper, the parking lot for CVS etc is where the parking garage is getting built for the complex, then once built the developer said it would be parking for those building the complex. So, where do those park that want to go to CVS/Subway etc?

  52. There is an entire parking lot behind CVS and Tijuana that is gone! The tenants of that building are going to struggle! No?

  53. Glad to see the 1st editorial from the Bungalower. Well thought out. Don’t think many will agree, but thoroughly researched.

  54. Not every city and neighborhood needs to become a fully-developed wasteland with unattainable housing and commercial rent prices for small business owners. That’s where College Park is heading: chain restaurants and retail giants, (more) bumper-to-bumper traffic, no parking, and no soul.

  55. The moral of the story: City of Orlando residents, and more specifically, College Park residents need to prevent this from happening again. College Park doesn’t need any more ‘activity centers’ approved for high-density development. Edgewater Drive has everything residents need already. Further development at this point is only beneficial to the developers. Winter Park residents have been loud and clear about this to their mayor, it’s time for Orlando residents to do the same.

  56. Dungalower, What/where are people going to park when this thing is being developed? this is clearly a 1yr or more project and are the local shops nearby getting any help from the city? I know for a fact when a road gets wider and its an extended project some help in way of $ is given. Is this an option? I can say if UCF gets a downtown location the crappy apts we will have all will have student flags hanging off them or in windows…LOL

  57. We will agree to disagree – respectfully. Speed limit? I’ll be able to walk home faster than traveling on Edgewater with 300 more cars. Not to mention ANOTHER poorly built apartment complex in Orlando! At least some of the others are attractive to begin with which is more than I can say for this one!

  58. Dawn, What support system? the roads? Our roads are no where near the capacity they are designed for. Sure you won’t be able to go too far above the speed limit and you might hit a traffic light or two but that’s part of being a main street and not a freeway. I would hate to see a business leave for any reason especially because there are too many people. But I imagine that there will be plenty of business owner who would want lots of people in their business to fill their spot.

  59. There are already plans in the works for a new grocery store that will be used by many College Park residents. I don’t think overcrowding at businesses (which most business won’t say are overcrowded) is a reason to not have more people in the neighborhood.

  60. Thanks Thomas. And. there is tons more to add but I was trying to keep it shorter…well somewhat shorter 🙂

  61. I have one question – where are we going to put 300 more cars on Edgewater or at Publix or at the post office, etc.?!?!?!?!?

  62. What was created 30 yrs ago, or even updated in 05/06′ is still dated. We need to protect what little is left. I will say I’m for development! What I’m not for is an apt complex in downtown college park. If they were condos/townhomes/ etc then yes. But because there is a stigma w/apt’s such as crappy construction and careless ownership I’m not for this project. what about the condos from the Wesley? I know for a fact it will effect value at least the units on that side. I want to see buissness flourish but not sure this is the right plan of attack. Scale it down make it truly upscale like the developer was trying to swagger us on at the first meeting then i may go for it. At the size/scale no way. I went to school/grew up here so I’ve seen change over time and in short. I can say without a doubt traffic will be effected as what is backed up will get re-routed through other streets nearby. I don’t like seeing speed bumps on brick streets…there’s more but this should be enough for now to share why I’m not for this project. Make it a park and the land owner sell back over time to city…smaller is better!