City Response: The City’s primary economic development focus is on restaurants (like the new F&D Italian Kitchen), retail and service (like the new Publix and LA Fitness locations), and job-creating industrial and medical in the appropriate areas (like the UPS and South Seminole Hospital expansions). However, as the City does not own this particular property, and as multi-family dwellings are an allowable use in the Comprehensive Plan and Development Code on primary corridors like SR 434, Dog Track, and Highway 17-92 an in special districts like the Heritage Village, apartments are within a property owner or developer’s rights to pursue without requiring special permission such as re-zoning or a conditional use. This is not a case-by-case decision (i.e. the City does not and cannot arbitrarily approve or deny a project where the use is allowable and all other applicable codes and standards are met), but rather something that is established within the Comprehensive Plan and Development Code for almost a decade on a corridor-wide basis.
While apartments are typically controversial in communities because, by comparison, residents are not able to enjoy the same direct benefits that a new restaurant, retail, or service use would provide, apartments do provide a significant boost to the City in terms of property taxes, utility fees, and more. Each of the apartment complexes under construction or proposed would immediately be one of the City’s Top 10 Taxpayers once eligible, a list generated by the Seminole County Property Appraiser each year. Additionally, apartments by their nature bring a large number of new residents to the City to increase the spending power within the community to support local businesses. One of the first things that prospective retail developers ask to see is the construction of new dwelling units within a community.