Following the City Commission meeting on May 20th, Community Development Staff put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers regarding the Shoppes at Longwood project. A CAPP meeting is scheduled for June 5, 2019 at the Community Building at 6:00 P.M. The project manager is Senior Planner Anjum Mukherjee, who can be reached at email@example.com and (407) 260-3468.
What is the Shoppes at Longwood?
Shoppes at Longwood is a ~300 apartment unit, ~45,000 retail SF mixed-use project proposed by Elevation Development near the intersection of Ronald Reagan Blvd. and SR 434. The project was initially planned as a ~50,000 SF retail project, for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was approved in December 2018. The developer has not yet announced tenants for the project, but has stated that it will be anchored by a national name-brand fitness center. There are 5 total retail/restaurant spaces shown that could be further subdivided to add new tenants.
Has the City Commission approved the project?
No. The City Commission approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that is an agreement between the City and developer that, in part, includes incentives for the project including a tax rebate, the construction of a traffic light at SR 434, reserved sewer capacity, and other items. The MOU states that the developer needs to follow the site development plan process, which includes a public CAPP meeting component. A CAPP meeting has been scheduled for June 5, 2019. The developer also has a deadline of July 1, 2019 to submit a site development plan for the project. When the site development plan is submitted, the formal review process will begin.
What does staff look at when they review a project? What leads a project to be approved or denied?
The developer will submit a site development plan and will have to meet all applicable codes, including the Longwood Development Code. These codes will include meeting parking and setback requirements, landscaping, stormwater management, a traffic study, and all other relevant elements. Developers are required to meet the standards of the development code before receiving project approval.
Where can I learn more about this project?
The City will host a Citizen Awareness and Participation Plan (CAPP) meeting on June 5, 2019 at 6:00 P.M. in the Longwood Community Building.
Additionally, when the developer submits a revised site plan for the project, notice will go out to surrounding residents and the site plan will be available for members of the public to review it. The City also posts status updates on its “Development Updates” page and includes a site plan and landscape plan for notable projects. When the new site development plan for this project is submitted, it will appear on the Development Updates page.
What is a CAPP meeting?
A Citizen Awareness and Participation Plan (CAPP) meeting is a meeting in which the City invites the developers, surrounding property owners, and the general public to a meeting to discuss a proposed project. This is a requirement that the City puts on developers to introduce a project in its early stages, receive feedback, and potentially resolve controversial issues early in the process.The City has hosted CAPP meetings for a number of years, and they often lead to positive discussions where developers can incorporate resident feedback into a project. The City encourages developers to be good neighbors and to look for solutions that work within the context of a proposed project.
There was a CAPP meeting scheduled in April 2019 but it was postponed. Why?
The developer submitted a site development plan for a single-use retail project to the City and scheduled a CAPP meeting in April. However, the developer made a request to postpone the meeting as the scope of the project was subject to change. The CAPP meeting has been rescheduled for June 5, 2019.
Did the City re-zone this property to a commercial category to allow this project without informing surrounding residents?
No. The subject property has been designated “Infill and Mixed-Use” on the Future Land Use Map of the City of Longwood since 2010. The Infill and Mixed-Use Category allows for apartments, various retail uses, and a density of up to 50 dwelling units per acre at this location. Prior to that, the property carried a “General Commercial” future land use dating back to at least 2002.
Did City staff or the City Commission grant the developer special land use approval to have apartments and retail at this location?
No. Land use is regulated by the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Code (LDC). The Future Land Use category of Infill and Mixed-Use allows residential, including multi-family apartments up to 50 dwelling units per acre, and retail and restaurant uses are allowable without any special conditions or exceptions.
The land use of the property is not project or developer specific so, even if this developer were not to continue with this project, another developer could come in and do a single use apartment project up to 50 dwelling units/acre (roughly 385 units), a single-use retail project, or even a mixed-use project similar to this one. There are other allowable uses including offices and gas stations. The allowable uses for Infill and Mixed-Use properties can be found here.
I heard that the developer is proposing access from the project to Maine Ave. Is that true?
The conceptual plan submitted as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) does show a connection to Maine Ave. (in addition to connections to SR 434 and the western portion of E. Evergreen Ave.) However, that is only a conceptual plan that was submitted as an exhibit to the Memorandum of Understanding. It is not a formal site plan submittal and, as such, no part of the site development portion of the project has been approved or even formally reviewed at this time. Site access is a key part of the review of any project, and will be reviewed carefully as part of this one.
Staff has relayed citizen concerns regarding this connection and traffic impacts generally from the May 20, 2019 City Commission meeting to the developer and anticipates further discussion on this issue at the CAPP meeting.
I heard that the developer is proposing a traffic signal for the project, maybe even a roundabout. Is that true?
It is true that the developer is seeking a traffic signal on SR 434 to support the project. As part of the MOU, the City has agreed to pay for the traffic signal using penny sales tax funds. The traffic signal makes the project more viable and attracts better retailers to the project, because it helps provide access from all directions.
With SR 434 being a state road, the developer will need to seek approval from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the traffic signal. The developer already submitted a signal warrant for the earlier iteration of the project, but they will need to submit a revised application to reflect the apartments that have been added to the scope.
FDOT has not made a decision on the traffic signal. Regarding the roundabout rumors, FDOT requires all an ICE (Intersection Control Evaluation) prior to any intersection undergoing a significant geometric change. The ICE will look at alternative intersection control types other than a signal. A roundabout will always be an option but is often not a preferred alternative.
I heard that the developer has submitted a plan connecting E. Evergreen Ave. from Ronald Reagan Blvd. to Grant Street. Is that true?
No. The developer does not own the property between the eastern boundary of the project and the eastern portion of E. Evergreen Ave. The conceptual site plan that was submitted as part of the Memorandum of Understanding does not show such a connection, and the proposed building location would preclude that connection from happening.