360-unit apartment complex one step closer

Conceptual drawing of Pointe Grande Apartments

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Posted April 14, 2021 | By Ainslie Lee, ainslie@ocalagazette.com

Conceptual drawing of Pointe Grande Apartments

Despite complaints from nearby residents, the City of Ocala’s Planning & Zoning Commission on Monday gave its unanimous approval to the development of a 360-unit apartment complex across from the College of Central Florida campus.

The proposal now goes before the Ocala City Council, tentatively scheduled for May 4, for its consideration.

The commission approved an amendment to the future land use agreement to facilitate the multifamily complex called Pointe Grande Apartments.

The 35-acre property, located at 3527 SW 20thSt., was approved for 116 homes in 2005. The owners, listed as Williamson Linda Ann Trust and Hillpointe, LLC on paperwork filed with the city, changed that scope, which requires city approval.

Plans now call for 12 three-story apartment buildings. The conceptual plan for Pointe Grande also features a pool, clubhouse and 622 parking spaces.

Hillpointe is based in Winter Park and lists Steven Campisi as its manager in filings with the state.

A website detailing complexes either just opened or opening this year uses the same Winter Garden address, but spells the apartment complexes Pointe Grand. The site features several properties in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Apartments in Kingsland and Savanah Georgia are leasing and feature two-bedroom, two-bathroom floorplans ranging from $1,492 to $1,662 per month. Proposed rents for the Ocala project were not immediately available. A message left with Hillpointe was not immediately returned.

The proposed Ocala complex would be just off Southwest 20th Street behind Paddock Villas, a deed-restricted community.

Multiple residents of Paddock Villas attended Monday night’s meeting, but just one took the podium to voice the collective concerns of the 89-unit community.

Paul Worthman, who wrote commissioners an email prior to the meeting, reiterated his concerns – many of which had to do with the impact the proposed development would have on traffic in the area.

“Currently we cannot get in and out on 20th Street at peak times the way it is,” Worthman said. “You’re just going to make this problem worse. And until that road is four-laned, I just don’t see it beneficial to the residents to Paddock Villas at all.”

Allison Campbell, a non-voting member of the commission and Marion County School Board member, nodded in agreement as Worthman spoke.

Fred Roberts, an attorney representing the property owners, assured board members that a traffic study had been conducted and did not find the planned development would cause an issue. Campbell questioned whether the study considered the fact that the CF has been virtual all year and hasn’t seen typical traffic numbers.

“It is a new traffic study, but based on a longer period of background history,” Roberts said. “Typically, it is not a one-year cycle, it’s a much longer cycle.”

Campbell also voiced concerns about the proposed three-story buildings overlooking the nearby College Park Elementary School, which will share a property line with the complex.

“Having a three-story building overlooking a school is something different that I don’t think we have anywhere else in the entire county,” Campbell said.

Alleviating some of Campbell’s concerns would be a 50-foot-wide landscape buffer running along the perimeter of the complex.

Campbell also worried how the proposed development would affect the capacity at nearby schools.

According to paperwork filed with the city, Pointe Grande would be served by College Park Elementary, Liberty Middle and West Port High schools.

“Should this be approved, from a school board perspective, we already know that College Park Elementary is already bursting at the seams,” Campbell said. “We’ll be monitoring this if it does go through city council because this is something we will have to have on our radar for sure.”

Pointe Grande Apartments would also be joining a proposed planned development off State Road 200 that will also service Liberty Middle School and West Port High School.

Currently known as Winding Oaks Farm, developers are proposing a 3,148-residential unit development spanning across 960 acres. A variety of commercial uses are also included in the plan.

The Winding Oaks development will be revisited by the Ocala City Council for its second reading on April 20.


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