Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ravaudage CDD

Miller's Ale House - the first business to take part in the Ravaudage redevelopment.   Power lines were buried.  Relocation of the  out-of-scale billboard, which I recall was the developer's intent, would further improve the aesthetics.  
Orlando Sentinel reporter David Breen interviewed me last week for a story about developer Dan Bellows'
request that the City of Winter Park approve a Community Development District ("CDD") for his Ravaudage project at U.S. 17-92 and Lee Road.  CDDs, an entity created by Chapter 190 of the Florida Statutes, can issue municipal bonds to fund infrastructure.  When a CDD fails, the bondholders suffer the financial loss while any homeowners who have purchased into the development may never see completion of the infrastructure they were promised. 
The merits of a CDD vary depending on the development they're associated with, said Winter Park attorney Rick Geller, who teaches land-use law at Rollins College.   
"Baldwin Park seemed to work out very well, while Bella Collina was a disaster," said Geller. "So a CDD can work if it's in the right location and the economics make sense." 
Ravaudage might be an area where those factors align, Geller said.  "In this case, where you have a huge piece of blighted land, and the city does not have the resources to put in infrastructure on its own, this is not a bad option," he said. 
City Manager Randy Knight agreed that the CDD might be a good fit.
The story is at THIS LINK.  The Winter Park City Commission unanimously approved of the CDD this week.  Dan Bellows developed the quaint Hannibal Square area of Winter Park. Judging by the reconstruction of Lewis Street, it appears that, at Ravaudage, he wants to ultimatelycapture the look and feel of classic Winter Park, by lining streets with oak trees, attractive street lamps, and parallel parking.  Lewis Street would have looked better with 10 foot lanes, instead of 11 foot, but, while a Planning and Zoning Commissioner, Orange County staff declined my request for the narrower lanes.