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An Orlando developer plans to build a mixed-use project on 42 acres near Oviedo, but needs approval from Seminole County for future land use changes, in part because the property sits in an area county leaders had hoped would become a high-tech corridor.

JEL Land Development LLC wants to develop 61 single-family homes, 250 apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space on 42 acres between SR 417 and SR 426, south of Chapman Road.

The company owns 21.06 acres and needs to buy four other parcels, including 12.32 acres owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Bryan Potts of Tannath Design Inc., an Orlando-based engineering firm, told the Seminole County Planning and Zoning Commission at its November meeting that JEL has an agreement with FDOT to purchase the property.

The property has a Future Land Use designation of Industrial, and would require a large-scale amendment to allow the proposed development. In addition, the land is within the SR 417 corridor county leaders had designated as SeminoleWay more than a decade ago.

During their November meeting to consider the Future Land Use change, planning and zoning commissioners debated whether allowing a mixed-use project in an industrial area would negatively affect the county’s inventory of industrial land.

Brian Walker, senior planner with Seminole County, said the site includes significant wetlands and would be difficult to mitigate for commercial or industrial uses. He noted that those same wetlands could become amenities if the property is developed for residential.

While properties nearby have industrial designations, many remain vacant, and development in the area has been residential and mixed-use. The JEL proposal is about a mile south of where A. Duda & Sons Inc. plans to develop a 42-acre parcel for office, retail and residential uses.

It also sits across from a 25-acre expansion of Lutheran Haven, an age-restricted community.

Planning and zoning commissioners have also debated whether a mixed-use development was appropriate in the SeminoleWay corridor. When it was first created, SeminoleWay was intended to be an economic development engine that would create a hub for high-tech companies.

However, there has been little progress in recruiting high-tech companies to the corridor. In fact, a 2011 study presented to the county’s business and planning leaders points out that the creation of SeminoleWay has “yet to effectuate a market response to the notion of a high tech corridor in East Seminole County.” Furthermore, the county’s SeminoleWay website is currently out of service.

A number of nearby property owners spoke against the land use change, arguing that property values would decline, traffic would increase and that schools would be overcrowded.

The Planning and Zoning Commission denied the land use change and referred the issue to the Seminole County Board of Commissioners. They were expected to consider the matter at a Jan. 24 meeting, but the issue has been reschedule to the Feb. 28 meeting.

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