Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Baldwin Park Getting Senior Living Facility

Baldwin Park Town Design Review Committee will review the application about Westminster Baldwin Park on August 28, 2014 at 2pm in the Agenda Conference Room, Orlando City Hall, 2nd Floor.
"Specific Parcel Master Plan for Westminster Baldwin Park – request for a Specific Parcel Master Plan Amendment for a 205‐unit Senior Living Facility located on Lot 1764 in Unit 10 of Baldwin Park. Lot 1764 is the site of the former North Shore residential condominium project and The Parc at Lake Baldwin Senior Living Facility. The site is located along Lake Baldwin Lane between Ridley Avenue (east) and Raymond Street (west and north). The amended project is known as Westminster Baldwin Park (MPL2014‐00026)."

Will the Citizens Police Review Board Show Up This Time?

The agenda for the September 7th meeting of the  Citizens Police Review Board includes a review of investigation and appearances involving 6 Orlando Police Officers who were under internal investigation for use of deadly force. 
  1. Officer James Falbo - Exonerated
  2. Sergeant Phillip Clough -Exonerated
  3. Officer Bradley Bakeman - Sustained
  4. Officer Rafael Ospina - Not Sustained
  5. Kelvin Vidro - Exonerated
  6. Sergeant Sammy Stites - Exonerated
But will the meeting even take place? The most recent meeting of the Citizens police Review Board had to be adjourned before it began in July because not enough of the board members showed up. The absent included the following: 
  1. Richard Crabtree [8/2]
  2. Corey Douglas [6/2]
  3. Jason Hopkins [6/2]
  4. Pati Howard [9/1]
  5. Beverly Jackson [8/2]
If enough board members don't show up, a quorum cannot be made and the meeting has to be canceled. The next meeting after that is Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. in City Council Chambers

Mission of the board: The mission of the Citizens’ Police Review Board is to be an independent, citizen-run oversight committee of the Orlando Police Department’s Internal Affairs and determine whether or not Internal Affairs has properly investigated cases brought to its attention. Additionally, the Board fulfills its mission by reviewing policies, procedures, rules, regulations and general or special orders pertaining to the use of force and police conduct toward citizens.

Milk District Duplexes Defended by Their Developer Adam Wonus

Photo Credit Google Maps


Adam Wonus, the Millenial developer who recently garnered local notoriety for crashing his thoughtlessly-designed, front-loading duplexes into a (not officially designated by City of Orlando) historic district, was interviewed this week by WMFE Orlando, the city's local NPR affiliate.

The interview was rambling and self serving, with sentences at times trailing off into separate unrelated thoughts. For example:
"This is not a project for Adam Wonus to go in and change the Milk District. This is a project for the citizens of Orlando that love the Milk District to now come in and take what we've started..."

The interview did not begin by mentioning why it was taking place: the bleak Orlando Sentinel article, our own eye-opening (we hope) article, the negative Facebook comments left everywhere and the overall awful feedback from practically everyone interested. Instead, the interview existed in a floating aura of a pleasant developer-friendly vacuum: Wonus jammed about his ill-conceived duplexes to the radio protest of none.

Wonus explains the goal of his project:
"My goal was simply to take vacant lots and run down homes and put something new in its place."
That explains a lot.

As for the look of his projects, which are front-loading, far-set-back suburban duplexes with front yards covered in driveway, he Ryan-Lochtes the duplexes' clear disdain for the older homes to the left and right of them saying,
"I totally understand. I don't have the best plan for everything. It's not something where I said 'This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
He's the developer and he admits he's constructing buildings even he doesn't like!

The City of Orlando has worked with Wonus on his duplex projects. The design is so poor, he says, "They want us to change the face of some of those buildings."

The issue of poorly designed duplexes has become such a hot-button issue with downtown dwellers that the City is hosting a public meeting at which they can voice their concern. Read about that here.

There's also a group discussion being put on by Rethinking the City. Read about that here.

Wonus places the burden of making improvements at the feet of others:
"If there are people with ideas of what they want it to be I'd love and welcome them to reach out to me and let's do this together. This isn't an Adam Wanus' project."
Yes, yes this is an Adam Wonus project. It's got Wonus all over it. He screwed up, he was called out in local media, he went onto WMFE to explain his side the story because the blowback was so monstrous, and he wants others to fix it for him. #wonustown

He also wants others to fix his tree problem, the problem being his duplexes don't have them. They all resulted in downed mature trees and one lone palm tree in the center landscaping pit that separates the two entrances. As for the trees,
"We go by with what the city asks us to do. I would love to do more. If people can come together and come with me to put something together to put more trees I'm all for it."
Wonus finished the ramble-thon by explaining why all his duplexes are rentals:
"The reason that they're rentals right now is because.. to be honest I love yards... I love nice yards... I spend a lot of money to make sure my grass is green... so when people ask me Adam why are you holding these... it's important to me that when new homeowners are coming in, they look across the street and say 'Hey that yard is taken care of and that yard is in excellent shape. This would be a good place  for me to buy a home and fix it up as well.... so the point behind keeping and holding these properties is to help the area maintain the level that I would like it to have as far as from a yard appearance. Trees..."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

City's Duplex Design Policy to be Altered

The City of Orlando will be hosting a public meeting to discuss proposed changes to the rules for duplex and tandem development.  

Based on previous community outreach and continuing conversations, City staff has prepared a preliminary set of recommendations that will be presented for public input at a community workshop.

View the Duplex and Tandem Draft of Proposed Recommendations (PDF)

Duplexes are only allowed in certain areas of our downtown neighborhoods that are designated as allowing multiple families to live on one lot within that district. These are either One to Two Family Districts (R-2A) or One to Five Family Districts (R-2B).

View the Zoning District Map

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 21 at 6pm, City Council Chambers, 2nd floor of City Hall, 400 S. Orange Avenue.

For more information, including a list of proposed changes, visit:

City of Orlando Draft Proposal for New Duplex & Tandem Development August 18, 2016

This information sheet provides a summary of opportunities regarding tandem and duplex development in R- 2A & R-2B neighborhoods and proposed staff recommendations for possible amendments to the City Code.

All recommendations are subject to change as part of the public participation process.

1. Mass and scale: By reducing the visual impact of larger homes, these developments will appear more compatible in scale with single family homes and the neighborhoods they’re built in.

Proposed staff recommendations to help achieve this are:

  1. a)  On corner lots in the R-2A district permit only tandems, not duplexes.

  2. b)  Require at least 1 canopy tree in the front yard. (Currently a minimum of 2 trees per lot, but both could

    be in the rear yard.) By ensuring landscaping is a part of these new developments, this can be an

    effective way to reduce the visual impact of a large building.

  3. c)  Keep maximum floor area ratio (FAR) at 0.50 for duplexes, and require maximum FAR of 0.50 for

    single family. The current maximum 0.50 FAR for duplexes & tandems still allows for large buildings; single family homes have no FAR limitation. New development is typically significantly larger than established homes, and typically includes multiple garages, which add to the size of the building but are not subject to FAR limits.

  4. d)  Permit tandem dwellings in R-2A & R-2B districts wherever duplexes are permitted, except where Historic Districts or Special Plan Overlays restrict tandems. (Currently, tandems are allowed only on corner lots.) Increase the tandem rear yard setback from 15 feet to 20 feet, to better match surrounding lots. Tandems can help reduce the appearance of mass because they are two separate buildings.

  5. e)  Allow court homes (four units with a shared driveway) for both tandem and duplex development.

2. Accommodating parked cars: By utilizing different techniques, new development can accommodate the additional space needed for multiple cars, but also ensure that the character of the neighborhood is not compromised by protecting on-street parking, ensuring better access for large vehicles like trash collection and mail delivery and ensuring that driveways and garages aren’t the dominate feature of new homes.

Proposed staff recommendations to help achieve this are:

  1. a)  Delete the exception to the Traditional City garage standards for duplexes. Currently, the City’s Traditional City garage standards for duplexes allow for up to a 24’ wide garage on a 40’ wide duplex, resulting in a 60% maximum garage width. For all other residential uses, the maximum garage width is 50% of the front façade.

  2. b)  Revise the curb cut standards to match single family: For most lots, only one curb cut is allowed. A second curb cut is allowed only if there is at least 42 feet separation. Increase the maximum driveway width from 16 feet to 18 feet for duplex and single family.

  3. c)  Require a second parking space for each unit greater than 1500 sq. ft. (Currently 2000 sq. ft.)

  4. d)  Prohibit “tuning fork” driveways that start as a single drive at the property line and split into two

    separated drive lanes adjacent to the building.

  5. e)  Require garage to be set back at least 5 feet from the front of the house. 

    3. Building Types and Appearance: It’s important that new development build on the aesthetic personality of our neighborhoods through architectural detail and variety that blends in with the existing character and single family homes.

    Proposed staff recommendations to help achieve this are:

    1. a)  Create an “anti-monotony” standard, prohibiting the same building from being constructed on two adjacent standard-sized lots. This is required for most large single family subdivisions, and should be the standard in the R-2 neighborhoods as well.

    2. b)  Units with a front loaded garage may not be a mirror image (symmetrical). Each unit must be differentiated from the other.

    3. c)  Provide for an administrative appearance review process for duplexes and tandems, with specific design guidelines. Guidelines will focus on creating a cohesive architectural style, preferably one that is commonly found within the Traditional City. Guidelines will include a menu of architectural elements, and applicants will need to demonstrate that a minimum number of elements are included (examples: porch with a railing, bay window, window banding detail, etc).

    4. d)  Require a minimum 10% transparency (windows) for side walls. Require appearance review for side elevations subject to the standards above.

    5. e)  Allow variances to the duplex and tandem standards through the design variance process. This provides an opportunity to present an alternative design that meets other goals such as tree preservation, while giving staff and the public an opportunity to review the design at the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

    4. Providing Homeownership Options: Duplexes and tandems can provide attractive, affordable homeownership opportunities in some of Orlando’s most desired neighborhoods.

    Proposed staff recommendations to help achieve this are:

    1. a)  Allow duplexes and tandems to be sold and owned in fee simple by platting or lot split (current code does not allow for developers to separate each unit into a fee simple lot). By allowing for this, owners would no longer need to go through a cumbersome process to set up a 2-unit condominium association.

    2. b)  Add standards for maintenance of common improvements which would help to ensure the exteriors of these homes are maintained.

    5. Colonialtown North Special Plan District: Over the years, this unique district, which was once largely comprised of smaller single family homes, has seen one of the largest influxes of duplexes in Orlando. It’s important to continue to protect the special character of the neighborhood and while ensuring new development is compatible with single family homes.

    Proposed staff recommendations to help achieve this are:

    1. a)  Reduce FAR for all uses (duplexes, tandems & single family) to 0.40 in R-2A, keep as is for R-2B district (duplexes currently have a maximum 0.5 FAR).

    2. b)  Permit tandem dwellings in the R-2A district wherever duplexes are permitted (tandems are currently prohibited). 

Disney Employees Told About Alligator TWICE 45 Minutes Before Attack

Photo Credit: US Magazine/Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images

No criminal charges have been filed against Disney for the death of a 2 year old boy who was dragged into one of their lakes and killed despite the following being true: 
  1. Disney had no warning signs alerting guests to alligator presence
  2. Disney did not provide barriers to keep guests out of waters known by the company and by Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to have alligators. 
And now this...

Daily Mail reported that a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report released Monday August 22nd revealed that just 45 minutes prior to the unfortunate Disney lake alligator attack this summer, a Grand Floridian employee was warned about the gator's presence according to the
"... Shawna Giacomini, a old North Carolina tourist, reported that he had seen the creature close to the shore at around 8.15pm, a separate Orange County Sheriff's Office report revealed. His daughter told a Disney employee about it and the Giacominis went to a nearby store. By the time they returned at 9pm, the boy had already been attacked."
CNN reported a second Disney's Grand Floridan employee was warned about the alligator:
"A South Carolina tourist spotted the alligator from his hotel porch about an hour before the attack. He said he pointed out the animal to a Disney employee. Just before the attack, he saw children in the ankle-deep water and was going out the door to warn them when he heard the mother screaming."
LA Times said an additional two 7-foot-long alligators were found near the beach where the tragedy occurred during the after-incident search:
"Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers captured, examined and killed six alligators during the search for Lane's body. Two females, both about 7 feet long, were caught near the beach, according to a commission report also released Monday."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Orlando Lunch Bargain Expose: How to Get 2.5 Pounds of Lunch from this $8 Salad Bar

The best lunch deal in Orlando is available at Jason's Deli. The to-go version of their salad bar costs eight dollars and gives you up to 2.5 pounds of food. We allow our OCD flag to fly in this tip-filled work lunch expose!

BEGIN: Place the empty box horizontally with the box at the upper portion of your tray. You don't want any side of the box to flap over and crash with a serving ladle or stray tong. At the bottom of the tray, place the two empty cups at the lower left. Place the tops and silverware packet at the lower right. The tops must go atop the silverware as you will use the tops prior to using the silverware. 

LAYER ONE: The to-go salad box *is not* to be used for the creation of a finished product. You're harvesting select ingredients and placing them in a surprisingly tall container for a mega-salad to be thoughtfully assembled later at work using your dish ware. Place your broccoli, red peppers (those are the most expensive and most healthy of the three available peppers), zucchini and cherry tomatoes in units so you receive visual cues as to the amount of each you've taken. You can fit in a dozen hard boiled eggs, but just get six: don't be obnoxious and wham bam there's your animal protein. 

LAYER TWO: Pre-mixed salads and/or cottage cheese is good for the second layer rather than the first: the two can ooze, filling in the nooks and crannies in between the contents of layer one. Mushrooms are gangly so can be placed on any layer, including layer three (which you weren't expecting right? Right?). The larger of the two side cups is to be used for the nuts, berry/rainin mixes and snack mixes. You will snack on this cupped combination later in the day or the following day. They will be fine left on your counter. 

LAYER THREE: More lettuce than you'd expect can be squeezed into this box once it's closed, so pile it on. (Correction: bacon bits belong on layer two.) Pickles tuck into the corners. Place the tops on your side cups. Close lid, grab 5 Organic Pumpkin Cheddar Flatbread crackers (they're low carb and crunchy), bag the three containers and you're off. You're welcome. 😊

Spooky Totem to Misery Waves in the Wind in a State of Splayed-Frond Death

Why's this tree dead? 

A few years ago, the Mills50 Main Street District and the area's Commissioner, Patty Sheehan, split the cost of 8 trees as part of a new streetscape improvement within the Mills50 District.

The total cost of the improvement was $8,000, split between the two entities. 

An agreement was put into place stating that the Mills50 District would maintain the trees. 

One of the eight trees was planted in front of the Orange Studio, a live event rental space. 

It was struck by a car. 

Because it was a City of Orlando street tree, it fell under the City's insurance and was replaced. 

The tree that replaced is now dead as well. 

Unfortunately, according to City of Orlando Deputy Chief of Staff Heather Fagan, the "tree did not take." Why? Fagan explained that "it could be for any number of reasons including not enough water during a very hot and dry summer."  

The splayed frond-topped totem of despair (being silly here) is going to be replaced by the City's Economic Development Department which includes the Main Street program. 

The tree replacement job has not gone out to bid yet so the cost is unknown. 

The Daily City's Food Truck Bazaar Tour

Every Month Rain or Shine
  • CASSELBERRY 2nd Fridays - 15 trucks, 6-9pm, 200 North Triplet Lake Dr
  • CELEBRATION 2nd Fridays - 13 trucks, 5-9pm 851 Celebration Ave
  • KISSIMMEE 1st Fridays - 17 trucks, 6-9pm, 201 E Dakin Ave
  • LAKE MARY 1st Wednesdays - 7 trucks, 5-9pm, Central Park, 100 N Country Club Rd
  • LAKE NONA 2nd Tuesdays - 7 trucks, 5-8pm, Behind Courtyard Marriott, Town Center
  • MELBOURNE 4th Sundays - 12 trucks, 5-8pm, 1405 Highland Ave
  • ORLANDO 2nd Sundays - 20 trucks, 5-8pm, Fashion Square Mall, 3505 East Colonial Dr.
  • ORANGE CITY 1st Sundays - 12 trucks, 5-8pm, KMart, 810 Saxon Blvd
  • SANFORD 3rd Saturdays - 12 trucks, 5-9pm, 202 S Sanford Ave
  • ST CLOUD 3rd Fridays -7 trucks, 5-8pm, 1221 12th Street
  • WINDERMERE 4th Fridays - 17 trucks,  5-9:30pm, 520 Main St
  • WINTER GARDEN 3rd Thursdays - 15 trucks, 5pm-8pm, Three neighborhoods at once: (1) Orchard Hills - 14441 Orchard Hills Blvd. (2) Summer Lake - 8016 Pond Apple Drive (3) Independence - 14213 Pleach Street
  • YOUR CITY Call Mark Baratelli 407-308-1417 to tell him about a venue. 

Banning After-Hours Downtown Orlando Clubs is Goal of City's Nightclubs Task Force

The City of Orlando has a Nightclubs Task Force for Downtown Orlando. It was created after an after-hours nightclub opened in our Downtown prompting City Council to place a moratorium on after-hours clubs and appointed the Nightclubs Task Force to research these types of establishments and present findings of fact to City Council. The after-hours club that opened prompting the afterhours moratorium has since closed, leading the Task Force to believe these types of establishments are not currently in demand from residents.

At the Monday, August 29, 2016 City Council meeting, the Nightclubs Task Force will recommend revisions to City Code that will prohibit afterhours clubs. 

In addition, the Task Force believes afterhours nightclubs could place additional strain on our public safety resources, cause additional noise impacts and create additional pressure on City resources.

At Mayor Dyer’s direction, the Task Force will continue their work as it relates to looking holistically at the City of Orlando's nighttime economy and come back to City Council in the coming months with recommendations on how we can continue working with the industry to diversify our nightlife offerings, improve safety, cleanliness and overall experience for our residents and visitors.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Winter Park Shopping Center Across from Trader Joes Walk-Around

The shopping center at the corner of Morse & Mills across from Trader Joe's in Winter Park looks like it's going to open this Fall. Some storefronts are active and working toward opening and others have no signage or even a floor. Here's what the center looked like August 28th.