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Orlando, Orange acting to curtail development in Lake Whippoorwill area

The density of development along Narcoosee Road has steps being taken to tone down construction in the Lake Whippoorwill area.
The density of development along Narcoosee Road has steps being taken to tone down construction in the Lake Whippoorwill area.

With Narcoossee Road having become a magnet for development now that it has been widened, the City of Orlando is taking steps to set parameters for future development in the nearby Lake Whippoorwill area.

The targeted zone is the six lane stretch from south of S.R. 417 to the Osceola County line, with the city acting in cooperation with Orange County.

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The plan comes as Orlando is in the midst of a building boom and demonstrates some restraint as to what kind of buildings will be able to go up where.

"There are reasons to be concerned about future development, which is why this policy would provide the framework to ensure that development is compatible across jurisdictions," said Elisabeth Dang, a chief planner for the city.

City planners, working with the county and local property owners, are proposing a subarea policy that outlines low density development on the west side of Lake Whippoorwill, which is on the east side of Narcoossee Road, running 1.3 miles from Tysons Road to Kirby Smith Road.

Most of the area the proposal encompasses is in unincorporated Orange County. But the City of Orlando has been getting requests from property owners in the area about annexing into Orlando, said Dang.

The development policy is needed "as this area is formerly rural area that is facing development pressure due to the Narcoossee Road widening," Orlando planners' proposal states. "A transition area is needed as the scale of development across the street is more urban. The goal is to maintain rural character on the east side of Lake Whippoorwill."

Under the proposal, anything within 100 feet of the lake is part of a buffer where development would not be allowed, as a way of protecting the shoreline. Any building within four hundred feet of the lake would be limited to two stories and anything beyond could be four stories.

The county's own land uses for the area are mixed and the city is in close communication with the county about what Orlando hopes to do, Dang said.

She added that their goals are similar. An Orlando City planning staff memo said the city's policy is consistent with an interlocal agreement between Orlando and Orange County that was adopted in March of last year.

A representative of the county's planning department did not return a request for comment.

Next, the policy proposal must go before the municipal planning board before going to the Orlando City Council for action.

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