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Tell City Officials: Scale Back the High-Density Apartments Planned for Smith & Princeton in College Park

This petition had 1,411 supporters

A 226-unit, multistory apartment complex has been proposed for a small piece of land currently zoned for only 26 dwellings near the busiest traffic intersection in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood—Princeton Street and Edgewater Drive. You can help stop or modify this project by signing this petition.

The proposed complex, called The Princeton at College Park, would clog the business district’s major arteries and nearby residential streets with vehicles from a parking garage that includes 390 spaces for tenants. It also would set a dangerous precedent by extending high-density development beyond the Edgewater Drive commercial corridor.

This petition seeks a smaller project in keeping with the property’s current zoning and College Park’s century-old charm. This development is NOT a done deal! It still has to be considered by Orlando’s City Council, including Mayor Buddy Dyer (who lives in College Park) and city Commissioner Robert Stuart (who represents the neighborhood). 

Please sign this petition. Let your elected officials know you are dissatisfied with the land-use and zoning exceptions (described below) sought by the project’s developer, Pollack Shores Real Estate Group of Atlanta. Tell them you want this apartment complex scaled back to a more reasonable size based on current zoning, so that it contributes to College Park’s growing, vibrant business district without looming over adjacent residential areas or further taxing already heavily used roads such as Edgewater, Princeton and Smith Streets.

Some background: The Princeton at College Park would be built on the 3.43-acre “island” created by Edgewater, Princeton and Smith near the heart of the Edgewater Drive business district. The western portion of the island—the CVS-Tijuana Flats retail block fronting Edgewater—is already zoned for high-density development but would not be purchased or developed. Instead, the apartment block would be constructed on the 1.97-acre eastern portion of the property, which is currently zoned for low-density residential and office use. That eastern parcel—from a visual standpoint the main gateway to the neighborhood’s commercial center for traffic coming from Interstate 4, Winter Park and much of downtown Orlando—currently contains fewer than a dozen one- or two-story dwellings, and much of it is surrounded on three sides by long-established single-family and duplex homes.

To boost the number of dwelling units allowed on the land from 26 to 226—a nine-fold increase—Pollack Shores has requested three changes to the property’s current planning status and zoning designations:

Exception No. 1: Obtain a Future Land Use amendment to change the eastern end of the island from low-density residential and office to “Community Activity Center,” which would allow Pollack Shores to increase the number of dwelling units from 26 units to 79.

Exception No. 2: Create a new “subarea policy” that would treat the entire, 3.43-acre island as a single Planned Development, which would allow the developer to increase the number of dwelling units on the eastern portion further, from 79 units to 139. 

Exception No. 3: Obtain a “density bonus” of 26 dwelling units per acre in exchange for optional construction such as streetscape amenities, underground utilities and excess storm-water capacity, which would allow the developer to increase the size of the apartment complex even further—by another 65 percent—from 139 units to as many as 228. 

If it obtains those three exceptions, Pollack Shores intends to build a three-, four-, and five-story structure with 226 apartments and 390 parking spaces for tenants—on land currently designated for no more than 26 dwelling units, such as multistory town homes. Packing that many people and vehicles into such an area would aggravate the traffic backups that already occur on Smith, Princeton and Edgewater every weekday morning, midday and evening. That would promote the unwanted use of “cut through” routes in adjacent neighborhoods by both Princeton tenants and others; taking University Drive and Harvard Street to reach Publix, for instance, or Elizabeth Avenue and King Street to reach north Edgewater Drive. Together with the Wellesley condominium across the street, it also would turn the main gateway to College Park’s business district center into a concrete canyon rather than presenting residents and visitors with a welcoming view more in keeping with the neighborhood’s brick-street and oak-tree charm.

Commissioner Robert Stuart and the rest of Orlando’s City Council should instead instruct the developers to scale back the density of the project and consider alternative approaches that would limit the business district’s high-density development to land fronting on Edgewater Drive, where such projects belong. For instance, the new College Park Neighborhood Arts & Theatre Center is looking to build a facility, which could be combined with a lower-density residential project on the site targeted by Pollack Shores. As the city of Orlando’s comprehensive development blueprint, its Growth Management Plan, notes: “Although some Community Activity Centers may be composed of a single type of use, a mixture of land uses is specifically encouraged.”

Please sign the petition and let your elected officials know that the land-use and zoning changes requested by Pollack Shores would set a dangerous precedent, and that The Princeton at College Park needs to be scaled back!

Today: Rethink the Princeton is counting on you

Rethink the Princeton needs your help with “Mayor Buddy Dyer: Tell City Officials: Scale Back the High-Density Apartments Planned for Smith & Princeton in College Park”. Join Rethink the Princeton and 1,410 supporters today.