Osceola County staff went back and forth for nearly an hour Wednesday with officials from Mattamy Homes and its consulting engineer to try to resolve differences on their design plans for the Celebration Boulevard extension.
Mattamy, which inked a deal this year with Disney's Celebration Company to develop the last residential village of Celebration, has filed a Developer's Agreement to extend the road for mobility fee credits.
Mattamy wants to build a traffic circle at Celebration High School and then extend the boulevard as a two-lane road for a mile to the new Island Village. The extension would include a 300-foot bridge with a decorative trellis over Reedy Creek that is already at the 30 percent design stage.
But Development Review Committee Chairman Mahmoud Najda told Mattamy the proposed bridge was too narrow to allow emergency vehicles to pass through if traffic stalls on the bridge. He said he would not sign off on the plans unless engineers widen the bridge by two feet.
"When you have a bridge with such high density and the school, we typically require a bridge with two emergency access lanes," Najda said.
Fire Marshal David McAvoy concurred. "This is not something I would approve," he said. "There’s so many things that come into play here besides the design and what looks good."
Island Village is entitled for 1,310 residential units. Phase 1 would include about 300 homes plus a 296-unit apartment complex. It also calls for a new K-5 school and a town center with restaurants and retail.
Najda and county engineer Jose Gomez also voiced concerns about Mattamy's plan to reduce the boulevard from its current four-lane configuration to two lanes for the extension. They told the developer to scheduled a follow-up meeting for a more lengthy discussion.
"Based on the number of units you're proposing and the uses, I don’t see how a two-lane spine road could work," Gomez said. "I think phasing the road into four lanes is the next conversation we need to have."
The feedback caught the developer by surprise. Project Manager Doug Crook with Atkins said he was under the impression those discussions had already taken place between the county and The Celebration Company.
He said Mattamy is counting on Osceola County to acquire right-of-way, possibly through eminent domain, for a secondary road connection between Island Village and C.R. 532.