Commissioners to Discuss McCraney, Rollins Proposals and Leaf Blower Referendum at Feb. 28 Meeting

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Three contentious issues will be addressed at the Wednesday, Feb. 28, City Commission meeting as McCraney Property Company and Rollins College bring their construction proposals back for conditional use approval, and City Manager Randy Knight presents an ordinance for a referendum on the city’s gas-powered leaf blower ban.


the32789 previously reported that commissioners tabled the Feb. 14 vote on McCraney’s plan for a 29,500-square-foot, three-story office building due to conflicts with Orange Avenue Overlay (OAO) District codes that include:

  • A five-foot infringement on building height restrictions at the 1100 N. Orange Ave. property
  • A 12-foot screen wall to hide roof-mounted mechanical equipment
  • An OAO requirement for mixed-use space in new construction
  • Requests for designs in keeping with the neighborhood

According to the Feb. 28 meeting agenda, changes to building elevations and architecture have been made to accommodate OAO guidelines and reduce the height of the screen wall. A letter submitted by attorney Rebecca Wilson, who is representing McCraney Property Company, also states that the company plans to meet the mixed-use requirement by incorporating additional options.

The requirement is intended to increase foot traffic and create a diverse business presence in the district. The OAO Land Development Code states that “mixed-use” can be defined as a combination of residential, commercial, industrial, office, institutional, or other land uses. During the Feb. 14 commission meeting, Wilson stated that McCraney had always planned to lease office space to other companies, and executives representing several Orlando-area firms have told City Commission of their intent to take advantage of the available space.


The vote on Rollins College’s plan for a faculty and staff housing project, located on college-owned lots along W. New England, W. Welbourne, and S. Virginia avenues, was also tabled during its first reading at the Jan. 24 commission meeting over requested amendments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code.

The original plan for an 80,981-square-foot, 48-unit apartment building was reduced in size by 20% but still exceeds the 2.5 story height limit at its Welbourne Avenue side. Concerns over its architectural continuity with neighboring Hannibal Square buildings, and a request for a community benefit agreement were also voiced by commissioners and residents.

The Feb. 28 meeting agenda includes a community benefit agreement outlining the following terms:

  • A 20-year commitment to use the property as affordable housing for Rollins College faculty and staff, and to exclude student housing and classroom use.
  • Keeping the property on city tax rolls unless state statues permit exclusion.
  • A coffee shop and bookstore on the first floor fronting New England Avenue.
  • Final landscaping and tree preservation approval by city staff.
  • A parking management plan that includes limits to one car for each one-bedroom unit, and two cars for each two- and three-bedroom unit.
  • That on-street parking along the Welbourne Avenue side be provided while maintaining two-way traffic lanes with bump-outs for trees and access to the garage and service bay of the neighboring Douglas Grand condominium building.

A requested height variance for its three-story design would be an extension of the same allowance in the city’s nearby central business district. However, Comprehensive Plan policies state that the city may permit third stories in the Hannibal Square district “when limited to residential use and deed restricted for residential usage only.” A staff recommendation contained in the meeting agenda also states that the project “is important to the College and also the City at-large in providing affordable/attainable housing in proximity to their employment” and that the project “will be of benefit to the College and to the benefit of the City.”

Leaf blower referendum

The possibility of placing Winter Park’s gas-powered leaf blower ban in the hands of voters was raised at the Feb. 14 commission meeting after Sen. Jason Brodeur’s attempt to preempt the ordinance with a general bill amendment. He later stated his intent to work with Winter Park commissioners to resolve the matter.

City Manager Randy Knight told commissioners that Brodeur said he would not move forward with the preemption if the city placed an ordinance on the March 2025 ballot to allow residents the opportunity to vote on a repeal. Despite disagreements from Commissioners Marty Sullivan and Todd Weaver, Knight was directed to bring an ordinance forward for discussion at the Feb. 28 meeting.

According to the agenda item, the referendum would be in the form of a yes-or-no vote to revise the city code to include leaf blower noise regulation that would be consistent with noise regulations on power tools, and to repeal the ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.

Commissioners will have the opportunity to discuss and possibly revise the wording. And, as with all commission meetings, residents will have the opportunity to speak about each agenda item during public comments.

A downloadable copy of the full meeting agenda packet is available here. Additional information on city meetings and virtual access is available at

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