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Diocese preps land south of Bishop Moore High for expansion, traffic impact at issue

Diocese preps land south of Bishop Moore High for expansion, traffic impact at issue
Highlighted in blue are the eight semi-contiguous parcels totaling 1.856 acres now owned by the Diocese of Orlando along Edgewater Drive, directly south of Bishop Moore Catholic High School. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

The Diocese of Orlando is readying expansion plans for Bishop Moore Catholic High School that involve redeveloping adjacent homes and a nursery site bought last year, with two homeowners left exposed to a potential deluge of new vehicle traffic.

The Diocese acquired eight semi-contiguous parcels in May 2017 directly south of the school's entry point on Edgewater Drive, totaling 1.856 acres that included six single-family home sites and the Blodgett Gardens & Nursery.

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All the properties surround what is the small Rockmount Court, which dead-ends into the school's southern boundary.

At time of sale, it was anticipated the assemblage would become another entry point south of campus, and was preceding a Master Plan for expansion of the school's footprint, either for added parking and vehicle access or new ancillary office space.

Fast forward one year, and on May 22 administrators of Bishop Moore held a private community meeting with a handful of surrounding property owners to affirm that intent.

School officials shared conceptual plans during the meeting to open Rockmount Court as a new southern entryway to Bishop Moore in order to alleviate traffic on Edgewater Drive, said Julia Leissing, one of two remaining single-family home owners on Rockmount Court.

Home lots along Rockmount that the Diocese owns would be paved for parking, and the former nursery site would be home to a new administration building, she told GrowthSpotter.

Leissing owns one of two home lots totaling 0.29 acres on the southeast corner of Rockmount Court that aren't under Diocese control. Another two commercial lots are independently owned at the intersection of Rockmount and Edgewater Drive.

Leissing said she's concerned about increased vehicle traffic on what is now a quiet dead-end street if Rockmount is opened up to the school campus. She's also worried about the impact on her property value, and has received no offer from the Diocese to buy her land.

Bishop Moore is the largest private Catholic school in Orlando. President Thomas Doyle declined to comment on specifics of the high school's expansion plan.

"We are in the very early phases of our long-range development plan for Bishop Moore High School," he said via e-mail. "We met with our neighbors on (May 22) and are pleased with the feedback. We are taking those comments under consideration."

Representatives of Bishop Moore last met with City of Orlando planning staff in December to discuss expansion plans for the campus. No formal submittals have been made since, and city staff declined to speculate on the traffic impact until a Master Plan is filed.

Baker Barrios and Alberto Bustamante of BakerHostetler have consulted for the Diocese thus far on Bishop Moore's expansion planning.

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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