Winter Park hears first round of feedback on plans to build more housing |

Winter Park hears first round of feedback on plans to build more housing

The town of Winter Park held a public meeting to discuss the next phase of developments for Hideaway Junction on Tuesday night, inviting residents to the town hall to voice their opinions on the future of the area.

The project, located along Kings Crossing Road and Lions Gate Drive, is meant to address a lack of affordable housing for families with middle-of-the-road incomes. Plans for the project are in very early stages, and how the town moves forward is largely dependent on the feedback received from the public.

“We really have a serious need for single family homes, and more upscale workforce housing,” said John Crone, Winter Park’s housing manager. “We already have the townhouses at Hideaway Junction, and hopefully we can add up to another 40 single-family homes, or some mix of duplexes, triplexes, whatever feedback we get.”

The town presented three early renderings of different designs for the area. The first included 40 single-family homes, while the others had some combination of single-family homes, duplexes and four-plexes. There were also preliminary floor plans for the houses: a two-bedroom, 1,380 square feet, and a three-bedroom, 1,540 square feet.

The town estimates about $300 per square foot for the homes, about $450,000 to build a 1,500 square feet home and about $360,000 to build a 1,200 square feet home. But both the town and the residents understand that cost will be the big issue.

“I have been living here for nearly 10 years, and I’ve watched as prices have changed throughout the time I’ve been here,” said resident James Easley. “With the increase in demand, and more people moving into the community, it’s become much more expensive.

“I feel like I missed my opportunity in some ways to buy something when I first moved here. So it seems like this could provide some options for a person like myself who’s part of the working class community.”

Crone said that while the town is in the early stages, the plans are very malleable, meaning the town could decide on different designs, densities, sizes and cost structures depending upon community feedback.

Once the town has dissected the feedback from the first public meeting, officials will sit down and begin searching for builders and architects, followed by another public meeting to get community input on design. Crone said there would likely be a third public meeting as the town nears construction.

Crone noted that, as a best-case scenario, the town could break ground on infrastructure for the development later this year, with houses being built by next year.

“There are a lot of families, and a lot of people who have been up here a long time,” said Crone. “They’re never going to get above 100 percent AMI. They’re in a job they love, or in a job they do well. Those people deserve a house, too. We want them to feel like real Winter Parkers, and have an investment in our community.”

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