After talking about it for years, Osceola's W192 Development Authority is considering new design standards that could transform the look of the 15-mile tourism corridor by focusing on unique neighborhoods instead of mandating a one-size-fits-all streetscape.
Planning consultants from Logan Simpson have drafted a set of guidelines for the entire corridor and each of its eight subdistricts. Those regulations will go to the County Commissioners in September, and if adopted will be incorporated into Osceola County's Land Development Code.
While the new guidelines will regulate building form and placement, it won't take away some of the kitschy architecture -- like giant oranges or wizard topped gift shops -- that give W192 its character. Some of the distinctive streetscape materials, such as the blush-colored sidewalks and mile-markers, will remain, as will the recently-installed monument signs.
But the purple and teal color palette will be toned down. The purple streetlights will be phased out with black LED lights as new streetscapes are installed in each segment, and the bus shelters will be neutralized.
"We'll continue the blush-colored sidewalks. That's really the foundation or framework, and we're going to build from that," consulting planner Jennifer Gardner said.
One exception could be in the Four Corners district. Since the blush sidewalks have never been installed that far west, Gardner suggested using a gray sidewalk instead. The goal of the guidelines in this segment is to select materials that can easily be duplicated by the other three counties as part of a Four Corners overlay.
"It's a simple, elegant landscape palette -- nothing too terribly flashy," she said.
That changes once you cross the S.R. 429 interchange and move into District 2, the Paradise District. Home to the new Margaritaville Resort, this segment would extend the Key West theming to the benches and waste receptacles. The landscape would consist of clusters of palms and lush planted mounds and tropical foliage.
District 3 -- Imagination -- extends from Formosa Gardens to Disney property. Here the guidelines call from family-friendly, whimsical design touches, such as animal shaped topiary and public art. Oversized entertainment signs are encouraged, and the metal benches are sleek and contemporary.
The goal of the Celebration District is to extend the green and white color palette and iconic features, like the white post and rail fence with grand stone columns, to the other side of W192.
The plan takes another turn as it moves into Segment 5, the Entertainment District. This section includes Old Town, as well as the new Magic Place by Pininfarina and the redevelopment of the old Roomba Inn property. The consultants included some features that have been used on the Las Vegas Strip.
"Here's where it gets a little wild and crazy," Gardner said. "This is our true entertainment district. In-ground lighting is an option, and larger-than-life landscape planters," she said.
The Lake District, which encompasses the Lake Cecile area and Storey Lake Resort, would transition to a more residential zone where mixed-use and multifamily development would be encouraged. The theme would be water features and water-based elements incorporated throughout the sites to mirror the surrounding lakes.
District 7 is tabbed the Neighborhood District. Here the focus is on creating an authentic eclectic neighborhood experience with sidewalk cafes and corner markets. Small scale apartments and brownstones would be encouraged, and the street furniture is classic black iron.
The final segment ends at Hoagland Boulevard. The Creek District takes its inspiration from Shingle Creek Regional Park, so the themed buildings would pay homage to natural landscape. The streetscape calls for water features and nature-inspired benches. Here the oversized-sidewalk would have connections to the park and Shingle Creek Regional Trail.
"Here we will coordinate with city of Kissimmee," Gardner said. "We’re looking at a plant palette with a lot of blues to bring that water theme."