Winter Park rejects rezoning request |

Winter Park rejects rezoning request

Tuesday night’s public town meeting felt more like a courthouse than Town Hall as Mark Pappas pleaded his case to Town Council about the decision made by Winter Park’s Planning and Zoning committee to deny his application to rezone his property.

Pappas, a Grand County resident who owns Lot 1 in the Idlewild Meadows Subdivision, requested that planning and zoning rezone his single-family lot so he could have multi-family residential units on his property. The request, which would rezone his land from single-family residential to residential-commercial, was unanimously denied by the committee in September.

The lot is located at 10 Idlewild Lane, on the southeast corner of Idlewild Lane and Vasquez Road. A handful of Idlewild residents turned up last night to support planning and zoning’s decision and contest the application. Pappas, joined by his brother and architect Peter Pappas, spent more than an hour explaining to town council members and his neighbors why the 7,500 square-foot lot should be rezoned.

Winter Park Town Planner Drew Nelson told council members that the request does not meet seven criteria set in the town code that are required to rezone property.

Some of those criteria include meeting a community need, and gaining support from neighbors.

“The (committee) sees no community need, and the letters I have received in the last few days have been in opposition to the request,” Nelson said. “(The committee) also feels it would change the feel of the neighborhood, which is one of the few existing single-family residential neighborhoods in Winter Park.”

Pappas, who introduced himself as a longtime resident and caring community member, went through each of the seven criteria extensively and explained why he feels the town should support his proposal. He listed names of local businesses that wrote letters of support and attempted to shed light on concerns made by his neighbors.

“I think change is inevitable. I don’t think it’ll change (the neighborhood),” Pappas said in one of his arguments against the denial of the request.

Five neighbors stood up to speak in front of the council to dispute the application for rezoning. One neighbor, Rita Flores, said the lot owned by Pappas is an “eyesore” and that she “doesn’t trust him.”

“He hasn’t shown he’ll do anything different,” Flores told the town board. “Yes, change will come, but it isn’t here today. I know our property will be affected if he is granted rezoning.”

Town Council Member Mike Periolat pointed out to Pappas that rezoning requests are difficult and they have to be “very convincing.”

“You have to have the whole neighborhood behind you. You have to show extreme hardship,” Periolat said. “I don’t see that here. You knew what you were buying when you bought it.”

The town council voted unanimously to deny the request.

Town council addresses Shed mural

Town Council Member Chris Seemann asked that town council write a “letter of disappointment” to the current Shed property owners, Winter Park Group, in regards to their recent decision to repaint the former Shed Restaurant, covering a mural that was a community landmark.

“I think they owe the community an apology. I think it was a big enough slap in the face for the town to say that’s not right,” Seemann said.

Nelson said the town did approve the color Winter Park Group used to repaint the building, and the town had encouraged the developer to preserve the mural. He admitted it would be “tough” for the town to bring that type of letter forward, since the developer owns the property and the paint met the town’s approval.

On a different note, Michael Repucci, attorney at law, pointed out that Winter Park Group was breaking the law by sending out e-mails soliciting investors without going through “what everyone else who follows the law is supposed to do.”

He explained later he was referring to Regulation D, which requires developers to solicit only to prequalified investors that meet certain criteria.

“(But) they’re broadcasting (e-mails) to everybody,” Repucci said. “If you’re not prequalifying people, it’s against the law.”

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