Last week, the Winter Park City Commission voted on a proposed plan to build a McLaren showroom on Orlando Avenue in place of the currently unoccupied 2.4-acre lot that houses the former Orchard Supply store building. The group voted 4 to 1 in favor of the showroom.
Typically, car dealerships are not permitted along this section of Orlando Avenue under zoning restrictions, which was a significant point of tension during the initial stages of this proposal when the Planning & Zoning Board initially denied the plans. However, the updated proposal refers to the project as a “Vehicle Sales Showroom,” which McLaren Orlando argues is different from a typical dealership.
Other sources of controversy surrounding this project have included concerns from nearby residents who are worried about the impact the operation will have on noise, traffic, and safety. Others welcome the plans, however, in hopes that this development will beautify the site, for which is currently uncared and overgrown.
Commissioner Todd Weaver, who cast the sole vote in opposition of the proposal, sided with those who aired concerns about safety in this already traffic-ridden area.
The showroom, which will also act as a service center, agrees to have no more than 25 vehicles in its showroom at any given time and to keep all cars indoors, avoiding visibility from the street. Additionally, test drives will be by appointment only and the service center will be located inside the building.
Since the facility will not require a large parking lot, McLaren Orlando plans to convert 22,000 square feet of the site into green space.
The commission is set to hold a final vote on the showroom at an upcoming March meeting.