SEMINOLE COUNTY, Florida — Seminole County leaders are allowing a popular hangout in the Wekiwa Springs area to expand, despite concerns from local residents.

  • Seminole leaders approve Wekiva Island expansion request
  • Owner: Bringing people will encourage them to protect natural resource
  • Local resident says Wekiva Island can get noisy

Those residents say Wekiva Island can be noisy, but its owner says he’ll continue to work with residents.

Jeff Stamer says he’s worked his entire life to enjoy retirement in his Victorian Style home. But he says nearby Wekiva Island has grown bigger, and with that has come lots of noise.

“Sometimes you can hear it inside your house with the doors closed, so loud you can actually hear the lyrics,” Stamer said.  

Seminole County Commissioners approved a request by Wekiva Island’s owners to expand its capacity from about 250 people to 395 people. The business will also be allowed to add an art gallery and add more solar panels to its property.

“We’re trying to lift Wekiva Island up and make it a nicer and nicer place, and I think they understand that,” said owner Bill Weinaug.

He believes bringing more people down to Wekiva Island will encourage more people to protect it as a natural resource.

Weinaug admits he pushed for an even further expansion of his business, but he says he’s happy with what county leaders decided. He says he’ll take steps to work with people who live nearby.

“We will be good neighbors and we are good neighbors, and I know some might question that,” said Weinaug.  “But that’s never been an issue with us, and we will continue to do so.”

Jeff Stamer fears there’s no end to Wekiva Island’s requests for expansion.

“This is our second time in the last 10 years, and it probably won’t be the last,” he said.

Stamer says he’s not about to abandon his dream house. But he says it’s not quite the dream he had always hoped for.

“So unfortunately Wekiva Island has turned that into a bit of a nightmare than a dream home,” he said.

Wekiva Island’s owners say they already keep track of crowd capacity and will continue to do that in order to comply with their newly-approved development order.

The owners say they’ll be presenting more details of their expansion plans to county leaders in November.