Oviedo home project hits legal sand trap

A development that would have pared back the Twin Rivers golf course to make way for 298 homes in Oviedo may have hit a legal snag.

A development that would have pared back the Twin Rivers golf course to make way for 298 homes in Oviedo may have hit a legal snag.

Tim Freed

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One of the most contested Oviedo developments in recent memory hit a snag earlier this month when the city attorney discovered the project might not be legal.

Oviedo City Attorney Lonnie Groot said that University Golf Club Inc., which intends to modify the Twin Rivers Golf Club to allow a 298-home development to be built next to it, may have trouble building within proper zoning codes.

University Golf Club Inc’s application claimed the company had vested property rights to the area and asked for the city to do a wide range of zoning changes for portions of the golf course. But many of the provisions that may have allowed the golf course to be rezoned may no longer apply, Groot said.

“When a development’s approved and you develop in accordance to that approval, the original development is subject to certain rules and regulations,” Groot said. “Regulations change over time…those old rules that may have been applicable to the original development would not be applicable to a new development 30 years later.”

Groot explained in a memorandum that the applicant would need to abide by the current code, which now has provisions regarding a development’s effect on traffic and the distance from environmentally protected areas. The two items tie directly to comments and concerns from nearby Twin Rivers residents, who’ve gathered in opposition of the development since January.

The city attorney’s findings have been well received by the distraught residents.

“I’m very pleased at his opinion,” Twin Rivers resident John Painter said. “Having said that, it’s one attorney’s opinion. Clearly the golf course has their own attorneys and I’m guessing they have their own opinions. We’ll be interested to see what the golf course does.”

“I think it gives the developer a much bigger challenge…he’s got to abide by current code,” said Bob White, who’s lived in Twin Rivers for 20 years. “That current code has some provisions that are going to be tough to overcome.”

Opposition of the project continues to grow and spread throughout the community, even beyond the Twin Rivers subdivision, Painter said.

“The more that they think about the implications of that the development, the more the community is nearly unanimous,” he said.

“That includes people in the Twin Rivers community as well as people up and down Lockwood, over in Kingsbridge and throughout the city of Oviedo…no one is supporting it.”

Painter said the Twin Rivers HOA agreed earlier this month to hire an attorney to lend them advice moving forward and explain any legal questions.

City staff are still processing the application, Groot said.