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Apopka Growth

New massive mixed use/residential development on Kelly Park Road brings mixed opinions on local social media

Proposal would include over 2,900 multi-family residential units in Apopka


How big is too big? How much housing is too much housing? How should growth in Apopka be managed? Those are all big questions in this community, and news of a massive new mixed-use/housing project coming to Apopka only brought more questions and opinions from its residents.

The business/development website growthspotter.com broke the news last week that a mixed-use development of more than 250 acres is potentially coming to Apopka.

Although in the early stages, Evans Properties from Vero Beach wants to bring 2,931 multifamily residential units, 1.1 million square feet of office and retail space, and 1.8 million square feet of industrial uses for its 257-acre development to a property near Kelly Park Road and State Road 429.

The proposal is broken down into four parts, which include:

  • A 68.8-acre Interchange District that includes 1,031 homes and 350,000 square feet for commercial uses.
  • A 49.2-acre Village Center District, which includes as many as 1,150 homes and 500,000 square feet of commercial uses.
  • A 30.2-acre Transition District that includes up to 450 homes and 250,000 square feet of commercial property.
  • A 108.9-acre Employment District, which has 1.8 million square feet of industrial uses and allows up to 300 homes.
And although the project is touted as a "live/work/play project that generates jobs, residential and entertainment options for the entire city of Apopka and its neighboring communities", there were many skeptics on local social media last week and over the weekend.

The Apopka Critic is perhaps the largest social media page associated with Apopka. It has over 10,000 followers and is often at the cutting edge of community discussions.

On September 15th, it posted the story from growthspotter.com about the proposed project and wrote the following lead-in:

"Thank you, City of Apopka.
Golden Gem Rd and Kelly Park Rd.
For annexing everything in Northwest Orange County, you can get your hands on. Does the planning Committee have a plan to widen roads?
Does the planning committee in Apopka work with Orange County to address safety issues? Does Apopka build it, then blame the County for inefficient roads?"

By Monday, there were 14 likes, 57 comments, and eight shares, including a thread of comments from Orange County Commissioner Christine Moore. Most of the posts were critical of the project and the potential growth in the Kelly Park/429 area.

Apopka resident Jeff Harper wondered what the final project might look like after it made its way through the City process.
"Calm down, this still has to be approved. Once the zoning department looks at it, they will cut the village center, shops, and restaurants and just approve the apartments."
Commenting later in the thread, the Apopka Critic showed concern for the size of the planning department.
"The scary part is that the City of Apopka has one planner and her supervisor. Four Planners left a few months ago to work elsewhere. The Building Division Inspectors are working with a skeleton crew. So you know things are getting missed from the start."
Bruce Cain, another Apopka resident, was worried about traffic issues associated with the project.
"All of those new residents will get off of the 429 after working all day in Orlando and crowd onto the same narrow, unimproved roads that the other citizens are still using."
Zellwood resident Max Horton shared Cain's concerns.
"Right now, it takes me 2 minutes to get to the new Publix at KPR & PSR. In addition to all this, when a new high school is thrown in at RLR $ Sadler, I can't imagine what the time will be. All this area needs roads to be 4 lanes with turning lanes now."
District 2 Orange County Commissioner Christine Moore posted several responses to the thread, including her issues with road improvements in that area.
"I’m concerned about the timeline to fix the road network in this area with this massive amount of growth. I had not been informed to assist with widening county roads.
Later in the thread, Moore reported that a study was in the works to look at the project and roads.
"We are blessed that the county transportation planner lives in Apopka and cares very much about the safety of current and future residents. He has agreed to start a study this coming budget year."
Kelly Park Road, State Road 429, The Apopka Critic, Apopka Growth, Mixed Use, Evans Properties