- What is planned for the vacant land east of the Villages of Southport?
This area was a Navy training facility that closed in 1993. In 1999, the Navy transferred 200 acres to the City under the condition that the City must sell the property for economic development purposes, and transfer most of the sales price back to the Navy. The City demolished the remaining structures and made several attempts to find a purchaser. In 2006, the City prepared a vision plan showing a mix of residential and retail uses. This vision plan was intended to help market the property and show its potential value. However, it was released right as the recession was beginning, and no developer was willing to purchase the property. The City is continuing to market the property and look for a developer, but none has been identified yet. Until there is a developer in place, it is not known what will be built on the site.
- What can be built on the site?
The property is currently zoned for public uses, such as government buildings or a school. If a developer purchases the property, he or she must get approval from the City to do any other type of use, such as housing, shops or offices. A developer will need to request zoning approval from the City, and present a plan for how to develop the site. That plan will be available to the public, and the City will request that the developer host a neighborhood meeting to hear from nearby residents.
The City will look for developers that propose uses that are compatible with the existing homes at Villages of Southport and will take into account comments received from the public. The proposal will be reviewed by the City’s Municipal Planning Board and the City Council.
- Will anything be built on the wetlands that are located behind Cashmere Drive and Marsh Harbor Place?
This is currently unknown. The wetlands are not a protected conservation area. Flags were recently placed on the wetlands in order to survey the property’s boundaries, but no development is proposed at this time. A developer could seek approval to build new development in the wetlands, however this is more expensive than building on dry land. If the area is developed, the City will seek proposals that are compatible with the existing single family homes.
- When will something be built?
This is currently unknown. Once a purchaser is identified, it typically takes about six months to seek zoning approvals, followed by at least a year to construct the roads, sewer and other infrastructure the site will need. The developer is not required to meet a specific timeframe, and could choose to take longer to develop the property. The property may also be developed in phases, meaning small portions will be developed over time.
- What is happening on 8th Street?
The area south of 8th Street is not owned by the City, and the majority was sold by the Navy directly to a developer in 2008. The developer is currently constructing several new warehouse buildings. In order to provide utilities to that site, the developer is upgrading 8th Street by repaving the road, adding wastewater lines and a sidewalk.
- Why are there recycling bins on the property?
The City uses a portion of the Southport property as a storage area for new solid waste carts. Carts are delivered to the site, assembled, stored in a fenced area, and distributed to residents. No trash, debris, or used carts are brought to the site.
- What can the City do about truck traffic in the neighborhood?
The City has gotten complaints from neighbors regarding trucks pulling off by the side of the road and parking overnight on City property. The City has also received complaints about truck traffic speeding through the neighborhood. To address these issues, the City has posted “No parking” signs along 8th Street, Seven Seas Drive, and Avenue C.
- How can residents find out if there’s any news about the property?
Residents can stay updated on any proposals for development in the area by visiting the Municipal Planning Board (MPB) website at cityoforlando.net/municipal-planning-board . By clicking on “applications received” and looking for “Southport” and surrounding communities, you will see all proposals for development before they go before the MPB. MPB hearings open the floor for public comments.
For specific questions about Southport, please contact Rebecca Fernandez, Neighborhood Relations Coordinator, at 407.246.3843 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.