The Orlando City Council defied College Park residents attempting to preserve the character of their neighborhood by approving a massive new apartment development, the Princeton, earlier this week. Residents object to the controversial project because it will drastically reshape College Park and change the character of the area. The development will also have a major impact on the already busy Edgewater Drive and Princeton/Smith Street corridors.
A group called “Rethink the Princeton” has pressured Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioner Robert Stuart to stop or at least dramatically scale back the controversial College Park development from Atlanta-based Pollack Shores RE Group for months. But the developer only trimmed the project to a 206-unit development from the original proposed 228-unit development. Developers expect the new “young professional” tenants to pay rents starting at $1600-$1700 a month and make at least $70,000/year.
That was good enough for Mayor Dyer, Commissioner Stuart and the others. The City approval completely ignores the wishes of residents. Some on the Council attempted to claim they were powerless to do anything but approve massive developments, but the public knows better. Sadly, the people lose once again and likely never had a chance with the deals made between Dyer’s administration, the rubber stamp City Council and developers. Will voters remember this and hold Dyer and Stuart accountable?
Prior to the City Council vote, Rethink the Princeton retained a lawyer, Karen Consalo, in their struggle with the Mayor and Commissioners. The group said after the vote, it was likely they will appeal the City Council decision in court. Before the vote, the group also warned all city residents about the actions of the Mayor and Commissioners:
“Let them know that this vote is about more than just College Park and approving an apartment complex. It will also set a dangerous precedent in ALL districts because it allows a developer to ignore mixed-use requirements by simply “promising” to develop retail and commercial space at some unspecified date in the future.”