If the state approves the rezoning plans that the Seminole County Commission approved Tuesday night, it will then go back to commissioners for final approval. (Jeff Allen, staff)
Residents fighting a proposed apartment complex near the Seminole-Orange County line faced a setback Tuesday night.
The proposed development would be at the corner of Aloma Avenue and Tuskawilla Road, not far from State Road 417.
Eric Cappa says his family’s home backs up to a horse farm on the property.
“It’s about 11 acres, and we’re still able to feed the horses today,” Cappa said.
But Cappa fears the horse farm could soon be replaced by three-story apartments. A developer asked Seminole County commissioners to approve a rezoning that would allow them to build Alta Seminole, an almost 250-unit apartment complex on the land.
Cappa fears if the development is built, it will make traffic in the area worse.
“We’re going to be adding an additional 200 to 300 cars, which will have to cross over three lanes to U-turn to get back on the 417,” Cappa said.
Cappa was just one of several dozen people who got up in front of Seminole County Commissioners on Tuesday evening and urged them to deny the developer’s request.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost been hit and that I’ve seen people being hit,” resident Paul Wolbert said.
“I feel it’s not appropriate, and I also feel it will negatively affect the residents and businesses in this area,” District 1 Commissioner Bob Dallari said.
Dallari and Commissioner Lee Constantine voted against approving the measure. But three commissioners — John Horan, Carlton Henley and Brenda Carey — all voted for it, passing the land-use change 3 to 2.
“If we tried to buy every piece of property and protect it that people didn’t want us to rezone, your taxes, you wouldn’t be able to afford to live in Seminole County,” District 5 Commissioner Carey said.
The developer, Bryan Borland with Wood Partners in Orlando, did not speak publicly. But his representatives said they’ve met with neighbors and promised commissioners they’ll spend money to create traffic adjustments to keep people safe. They also said the apartments won’t create as much traffic as commercial development.
“The previous approved uses were commercial and office uses that were far more intense than what we’re proposing here today,” said Gregory Lee, an attorney for the developer.
Homeowners in the area aren’t happy with the commission’s decision.
“They need to reconsider it,” David Alexander said. “They need to look at this intersection, sit here for days or weeks and watch this intersection and see how much traffic is going in and out of this intersection on a daily basis.”
The land-use change now goes to the state for approval. If the state approves the plans, the development plans will then go back to the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners to give their final approval.