Orange County Plans $9.3 Million Improvement
Among desirable commercial properties for development in Pine Hills, the southwest corner of Powers Drive and Silver Star Road has been seen for years as especially suited for an offfice building. Except for an out-parcel occupied by an auto repair shop, the property encompassess 4.1 acres with access and egress off both Powers and Silver Star. The property is now in the early stages of acquistion by Orange County.
According to Samuel Weekley, the new Executive Director of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District (NID), the plan is for the county to invest up to $9.3 million for demolition of the existing structures and construction of a headquarters office for Orange County Mosquito Control Division. The building is currently occupied and owned by TRS Inc., an automotive repair service. Many will remember the previous occupant at 6330 Silver Star Road as Scotty’s Hardware and Lumber supply that permantly closed some fifteen years ago.
The proposed acquisition by Orange County faced several hurdles as the public became aware of the purchase. The first was a scheduled vote before the Board of Commissioners on June 23rd for approval of the purchase. A week before the vote, District 6 Commissioner, Victoria Siplin, pulled the item and scheduled a date to discuss the purchase and plans for
the site in a virtual community hearing July 14th.
The Webex virtual hearing featured Steve Harrison, director of the Mosquito Control Division. Harrison provided substantive detail about the Division’s operations, now located off Conroy Road across from the Mall of Millennia. He assured the many participants who tuned in of the compatibility of Division operations with the area and the potential for a positive impact on redevelopment with demolition of an eyesore and replacement by a headquarters office.
The Mosquito Control Division currently employs 32, consisting of 28 in the day crew and 4 in the night crew. Harrison described the minimal amount of chemicals onsite and the methods for total containment. He also assured neighbors of the complete absence of any chemical odors and the nominal effect on traffic, with crew vehicles departing the site very early in the morning. Harrison also promised that the building would be an attractive structure with ample landscaping.
Tim Haberkamp, chairman of the Neighborhood Improvement District (NID) spoke favorably on the proposal and its potentially positive impact on needed infrastructure and intersection improvements at Powers Drive and Silver Star Road. The principal concerns expressed by other community representatives focussed on the future building and the aesthetics of the developed site and how it would serve as an anchor for spearheading redevelopment within the NID corridor.
As we go to press, it was reported that the Board of County Commissioners is expected to act September 8 on the proposed acquisition