SEMINOLE – The next phase of construction on the Bay Pines property moved forward Jan. 22 when the Seminole City Council voted unanimously to give preliminary approval to a development agreement.
The deal, between the city and KE Bay Pines Properties LLC, if passed during a second public hearing on Feb. 12, will open the door for Kitson and Partners to submit a site plan for city approval later this year.
The development agreement sets the parameters for the commercial and residential development of the 40-acre parcel. Just who will build on the site remains to be seen.
Walmart has discussed the possibility with city officials but has not agreed to build according to the Mediterranean architectural style the city requires. Unless Walmart gives in, the city will not approve the chain to build on the site, said City Manager Frank Edmunds.
The agreement covers a 30-year span.
“It follows the master plan agreement the City Council approved in July 2011 as well as the apartment agreement approved in 2012,” said Edmunds. “The agreement before you allows for the continuation of the multi-use development of the remainder of the site, including residential as well as commercial. It also provides an assurance to the city of Seminole that ultimately a hotel can be constructed as proposed as a part of the development.”
A 2-acre site on the east side of the project, next to 100th Way North, has been set aside for the future construction of a hotel.
The agreement also sets aside a 3/4-acre location on the northeast corner of the site for the construction of a city fire station.
The agreement addresses perimeter fencing on the northern property line and states it must be consistent in style with the PVC fences used on the north side of The Courtney apartments.
The deal also says all utilities must be underground and all free-standing signage must be monumental style.
Councilor Patricia Plantamura expressed concern over the number of trees that have been eliminated from the site but Community Development Director Mark Ely said the city would ultimately benefit.
“Kitson and Partners has paid (the city) more than $164,000 to take down trees on the property,” Ely said. “They’re preserving 68 of the 400 trees that were there and they’re bringing another 1,000 to 1,500 trees.”
Edmunds said the $164,000 paid to the city would go toward a special city fund for planting trees in other areas of the city.
“City staff has dedicated a significant amount of time on this property, which will be a re-landscaped property,” said Edmunds. “I can assure you this will be a well-landscaped project when it is complete.”
Two residents of unincorporated Seminole expressed concerns to councilors about the potential impact to their property from the construction of the The Courtney apartments on the Bay Pines site.
Dennis Phillips, who lives on Woodland Drive west of the site, expressed fear over potential flooding during a tropical storm or other heavy rain. He wondered if Altamonte Springs-based ContraVest, developer of the apartments, was within city code.
“The city engineer needs to come out to the site and make sure they’re in code,” said Phillips. “They’ve built a 30-foot wall so the bottom of the apartments are even with the roof lines of our homes. They’ve also slanted the property, instead of toward the street, toward the northwest corner toward the creek.”
Phillips said it could lead to serious flooding for himself and his neighbors during a heavy rain.
Mary Burton Roberge, who lives north of the construction on 104th Way, said she and her husband have issues getting to sleep at night due to construction noise.
“I can’t get any sleep from noise at all hours of the night,” she said.
Roberge also complained of cracks in steps leading from her home to a patio. She said the cracks have developed since the construction began and could be a safety hazard.
She threatened a lawsuit against the city and ContraVest should she fall. Roberge said Ely has been working with her to help solve her complaints.
In other action, councilors:
• Approved spending $6,400 from the Capital Improvement Fund for eight computers to be used by the city clerk’s office, finance section, code enforcement division, city manager’s office, library, community development and recreation.
• Reappointed Sharon Estigo and Ann Pici to three-year terms on the Tree Advisory Committee.
Also, Edmunds announced that the city was awarded a 14th consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in financial reporting for fiscal year 2011 by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada.