West Orange Chamber of Commerce Facilitating Opportunity
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Mon, December 14, 2015

Colonial West Moves Forward for Positive Impact

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Stina D’Uva

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The West Orange Chamber in partnership with Orange County government met with stakeholders along West Colonial in between Apopka Vineland Road and Pine Hills Road to talk next steps for the possible creation of a Neighborhood Improvement District.  A tool that could be used by property owners to make improvements that will continue to emphasize economic development opportunities along this roadway. 

SUMMARY – Colonial Drive Stakeholder’s Meeting – December 2, 2015– 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Commissioner Victoria Siplin, Orange County Commissioner District 6 and Bryan Nelson, Orange County Commissioner District 2- Both commissioners made opening remarks.

Stina D’Uva, President/CEO West Orange Chamber – reviewed the purpose of the group and history of the West Orange Chamber and the community of Pine Hills.  Stina explained that the Chamber was present during the BCC hearing to support the adoption of the change in criteria for the formation of an NID on June 30th. It was passed.

Lavon Williams, Manager of Neighborhood Preservation & Rehabilitative Services - Lavon shared a map of businesses fronting on West Colonial in between Apopka Vineland and Pine Hills who would be impacted if an NID was created along this route.  Notices were mailed to property owners in that area. 

The next step is to send marketing information the benefits of an NID to the property owners.  After this outreach is done, a work session for the BCC will be scheduled to advise them of progress in contacting the property owners and gauging interest.  After the work session, which may take place in the first quarter of 2016, the BCC will schedule a public hearing on the creation of the Colonial West NID.  At that time, a Neighborhood Improvement Plan would also be presented to the BCC.  Even after the formation of an NID and the development of a development plan, property owners would vote on whether or not a special taxing district would be implemented.  It would require a 51% vote of the property values to pass.  This tax could be a special assessment (flat rate dollar amount) or an increased millage based on property values.  A board would also be appointed by the BCC which currently allows only for a property owner to serve, not a registered agent.  A bill may be submitted for consideration by the legislature by Rep. Bracy but it is not on the Orange County position paper. 

Orange County Sheriff Department – Acting Captain Lt. Parks Duncan – Lt. Parks discussed the crime rates which fluctuate from month to month, yet have been quiet in the area.  Melvin Spear reported on camps alongside roadways and the possibility of seeking an ordinance similar to other municipalities which would help regulate these.  Measures could include permitting and recouping costs to shut down.

Update on Pine Hills NID- Executive Director, Michelle Owens – Michelle reported that they printed marketing material on the NID and a business directory.  She reported that the Development Plan was presented to the BCC in September.

They are currently in the process of beginning the process to get 20% of the property owners to see a special assessment of a maximum of $500/property.  Even after 20% property owners get this on a referendum, it would take a super majority of the property owners to approve the assessment. 

Additionally, the county is considering an administrative rezoning for some residential parcels along Pine Hills Road since the corridor is predominantly used for commercial/office.  This would waive the $1,500/parcel fee that is prohibitive to small businesses.

Next Steps, Next Meeting

Bal Gautam, Holiday Inn GM stated that the marketing material for the PH NID should be used in the materials sent to the Colonial West property owners to show them the positive impacts of an NID.

Tenants of the property owners are encouraged to get the word out to their landlords so they may learn of the NID and its benefits.

The group will be informed of the date of the BCC Work session.

File under: Government Policy

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