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Osceola hires local firm to draft design standards for E192 by October

Anything and everything is on the table, according to Rj Whidden Vice President John Adams, whose firm has been tasked with developing design standards for the E192 corridor.

County Commissioners voted Monday night to hire the Kissimmee firm, which is under retainer to the county, for $154,000 to develop a design standard ordinance for approval before the six-month building moratorium expires in late October.

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The moratorium applies to the 1,852-acre E192 Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) district. Commissioners said they want to create a "global vision" for E192 so it develops as an "attractive urban corridor." The district includes Osceola Heritage Park and the future Judge Farms research park, which is home to the $100 million Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center now under construction.

"It's pretty aggressive, yes, but it's pretty necessary as well," Adams said, referring to the timeline. "Because of the moratorium but also because of the investment the county has made in the research park."

The design standards could regulate everything from building form, architecture, landscaping, to signage. "I don't know how far the county is willing to go," Adams said. "It could be all of the above. But the county declared a moratorium because, in my opinion, they identified a problem with what they've been doing for 40 years, and they're not satisfied with the corridor as it exists."

He said his team has already met with some county commissioners to discuss their goals for the corridor. The consultants will meet with all five commissioners individually, as well as members of the senior management and key stakeholders -- including city of Kissimmee -- over the next few weeks. Adams said they will work closely with the team from Perkins+Will, which is developing a master plan and design stardards for the research park.

"There will be coordinantion with them, absolutely," he told GrowthSpotter. "The goal is to create a vision plan for the entire area. Certainly their task is going to fit in with that."

"We'll have our first report within a month," Adams said.

Adams said the firm's local knowledge will allow it to fast-track the process and bring an ordinance to the commission before the moratorium expires. In 2009, Bob Whidden chaired the E192 Redevelopment Committee that led to the establishment of the CRA district.

"Although it's an aggresive schedule, I'm confident we can perform, because we have before," he said.

The firm will deliver a formal vision plan to the commissioners in a workshop setting by mid-August. The design guideline ordinance will be built from the vision plan and delivered no later than Oct. 29.

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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