Orlando aims to reduce regulatory barrier to Parramore housing redevelopment

Bob Moser
GrowthSpotter

City of Orlando planners want to add flexibility to a key development standard in the Parramore neighborhood that could make it easier to redevelop lots for single-family homes. 

"This will reduce regulatory barriers to developers," chief planning manager Paul S. Lewis told GrowthSpotter. "Residents told us they wanted to see more residential, increased home ownership and positive redevelopment of the area. We had to translate that into how we address the code."  

Staff filed an amendment earlier this month for flexible development standards in the Downtown Orlando neighborhood. 

It's a logical followup to the city's Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan, adopted in January 2015 to help guide redevelopment and infill of the area. This set of land development codes applies only within the Parramore Heritage Overlay District, which is bounded by Colonial Drive on the north, Gore Street on the south, Interstate 4 to the east and Orange Blossom Trail to the west. 

Most of the residential land in Parramore was platted back in the 1910s through 1940s, before the city updated its land development code in the late 1950s to introduce more modern zoning.

The result today is a majority of Parramore's lots are classified as non-conforming, with substandard width or depth.

For example, a typical single-family home lot (zoned R1) in the city must have a minimum lot area of 6,000 square feet. Of 45 such lots in Parramore, all are non-conforming. 

Of the roughly 750 residential lots in Parramore about 60 percent are non-conforming, making those lots harder to redevelop, Lewis said. This amendment will provide new flexibility for setbacks in the front, side and rear yards, and street side. 

A developer will still have to take a property through the modification of standards process with Orlando's zoning department, but that will be easier than the current norm, which involves getting a variance for setbacks that costs more money and time, up to three additional months on average, Lewis said. 

The amendment for flexible development standards could take affect by mid-year. Planning staff are expected to produce their final report on it in late February, followed by a hearing before the city's Municipal Planning Board on March 21. 

If recommended for approval, those MPB meeting minutes go to City Council for two readings. The amendment could then get its first reading by City Council in mid-May or June.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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