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Waters of Paradise, a proposed 31-acre townhouse development, is being revived after laying dormant for more than a decade.
Waters of Paradise, a proposed 31-acre townhouse development, is being revived after laying dormant for more than a decade. (Kissimmee)

Engineer Don Hughey has one word to describe the process of bringing the long-dormant Waters of Paradise project into compliance with Kissimmee's townhouse ordinance: painful.

The 31-acre project on John Young Parkway is part of a planned unit development (PUD) approved in 1999. It was originally approved for 245 townhomes but Hughey is asking for 234 units in his application to replat the project.

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"They're finally ready to move forward, but it's so old it doesn't comply with current building and zoning codes," Kissimmee Senior Planner John Hambley said. "We passed a townhome ordinance and it wouldn't have complied, so they had to do a replat."

The 2008 ordinance changed the requirements for open space, block length and building setbacks. "The open space has to be central and it has to be accessible to all the residents," Hambley said. "Before, the developer could just set aside some land back in a corner and put a playground on it."

He told GrowthSpotter that Askey-Hughey had to make several major revisions to the site plan since their initial meeting in February. The city's Development Review Committee still wasn't prepared to greenlight the project on Tuesday.

One of the holdups is the old Huntington PUD itself. Hambley said the property owners have sold some parcels over the years and new owners have either rezoned or changed the use. But the PUD boundaries were never revised to reflect those changes. Now it must be updated before the Waters of Paradise project can move forward.

"This project is being held hostage by the PUD," Hughey said. "It sounds like we need to get some land owners together and figure this thing out."

One thing complicating matters is that the current owners, Neelam Narula and Rekha Nischal, have no intention of developing the townhomes. Hughey said they're simply trying to get the plat approved so they can sell the project to a developer.

"It's complicated because anything on this plan will govern what happens from this point forward," Hughey said. "I've got a lot of work to do. My goal is to be able to submit before the end of the year, but that may be pie in the sky."

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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