Rollins to Present New Workforce Housing Plan to P&Z Board

Share This:

An updated version of a controversial housing project for Rollins College faculty and staff will begin the approval process at Tuesday’s Planning & Zoning Board meeting.

The project is part of a commitment by the College to provide attainable housing for newly hired faculty members and staff that is close to the campus. Slated for college-owned properties along W. New England, W. Welbourne, and S. Virginia avenues, the proposal was first presented during the Jan. 17 Planning & Zoning Board meeting as a three-story, 80,981-square-foot, 48-unit apartment building. The plan drew pushback from neighbors, P&Z Board members, and later, from city commissioners over issues ranging from density to a need for architectural continuity with the surrounding neighborhood. The building was downsized to 72,933 square feet with the number of units reduced to 39 before Rollins voluntarily withdrew the proposal, citing the need for additional revisions.

A new site plan, included in the May 7 P&Z meeting agenda, features a 30-unit building measuring 50,671 square-feet. The entire building fronts the W. Welbourne Ave. side of the property, opposite the parking lot.

The first site plan for the Rollins housing project (above) vs the revised version (below), submitted for the May 7 P&Z meeting.

The new proposal continues a request for a variance to the 17 units-per-acre allowed by the property’s R3 zoning. The request is based on a “non-conforming use” allowance that stems from 14 existing residential units on the east end of the property, known as the Dan Hunter apartments. According to city documents, the non-conforming allowance can be extended to the redevelopment if it is deemed a community benefit, and approval would be contingent on the following items:

  • A five-foot easement along W. Welbourne Ave. to accommodate on-street parking and new trees
  • An agreement to prohibit student housing and classroom instruction space from the property
  • The property is to remain subject to ad valorem taxes unless otherwise permitted by state statutes (Rollins has already stated its intent to pursue exemptions allowed by the state)
  • A city-approved landscape plan
  • Resident lease agreements to be a minimum of six months
  • Only plants and patio furniture allowed on patios and balconies
  • Windows to have uniform coverings and solar panels to be installed on the roof
  • Rollins to coordinate the undergrounding of power lines at the property

A community benefit agreement that was part of the previous proposal included a commitment to keep the property as a College-owned apartment building for a period of 30 years. While that item is not part of the revised proposal, the32789 has been informed that the condition would be a point of discussion in the approval process. “Obviously, Rollins is building this for faculty and staff,” stated Planning & Zoning Consultant Jeff Briggs in an email to the32789. “It would be fair to say that the length of time that the College is committing to the exclusive use of the apartments for faculty and staff it is not known.”

A rendering of Rollins’ first housing proposal (above) vs the revised design (below). The first version came under fire for its lack of architectural continuity with the Hannibal Square neighborhood.

Revisions to the building exterior feature a slopped roof and additional architectural elements that were discussed during the previous approval process. But Rollins is seeking variances to Comprehensive Plan policies that would limit the maximum building height to 2.5 stories and require a 45-degree roof slope. The College has stated that a third story is necessary for building occupancy and a 33-degree slope would accommodate third-floor residential units.

Despite the number of units, the building size does not exceed the 110% floor area ratio permitted by the R-3 zoning, and the three-story design is within the 35-foot height requirement. The plans also meet the required 2.5 parking spaces per unit, and storm water retention would be provided with exfiltration chambers beneath the parking lot.

The Planning & Zoning Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. For information, virtual access, and to download a copy of the meeting agenda, log onto

Share This:

Have a story idea? Send us a note at Follow our stories on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

If you value local journalism, please support our work by joining The Flock for as little as $7 per month.

Our Sponsors

the32789 Weekly

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Want News in Your Inbox?
the32789 Weekly brings all the Winter Park news you missed straight to your inbox. Sign up for updates every Sunday morning.
Want News in Your Inbox?
the32789 Weekly brings all the Winter Park news you missed straight to your inbox. Sign up for updates every Sunday morning.