A $1 billion mixed-use development is in the works for east Orange County. It’s a new concept known as an “Agrihood,” that would feature a farm, gardens and homes. But not everyone in the area is thrilled about the kind of traffic this development could bring.
Driving east on Colonial Drive past the University of Central Florida is vacant land, home to some cattle.
But now Dwight Saathoff of Project Finance and Development has his eyes set on making this land the site for Florida’s first “Agrihood.”
The renderings show the center of the neighborhood will be a 9-acre revenue-generating farm, with community gardens, parks and a manmade lake surrounded by a market of shops and restaurants. The proposal could also build as many as 2,900 homes and apartments.
“The community will have an opportunity to subscribe to be a member of essentially a co-op in the farm and for that they get to take a share of the harvest each week,” Saathoff said.
Scenic paths and trails lined with fruit trees will weave through the “Agrihood” to promote walking, biking and horseback riding. An equestrian center is also part of the proposed plans.
“It’s all being done in an effort to really try to encourage people to not use their cars when they’re in the neighborhood,” Saathoff said.
But outside of the neighborhood, along Lake Pickett Road, traffic is already a concern as current residents post signs protesting the development.
“A development of this magnitude is not just going to affect our lifestyle, it’s going to completely destroy our lifestyle,” neighbor Dave Ottersen said.
Yet there are plans to address the growing number of residents, and the developer is already in talks with the Department of Transportation.
“State Road 50 would be the one affected the most,” Saathoff said. “Expand that to six lanes really with the first phase of the project.”
The project doesn’t have a name yet and is still in the planning phase as they await approval from Orange County.
An elementary school is also on the table to go next to Lake Tanner on the property.
“We’re really looking for a healthy community, even to expand the theme of the farm into a healthy lifestyle,” Saathoff said.
If approved, construction could begin by September 2016.
There will be a community meeting for the Lake Pickett South plan at 6:30 p.m. on April 28 at Corner Lake Middle School at 1700 Chuluota Road.