The City of Winter Park has decided it will allow the sale of vehicles in its downtown area for at least 5 more years. Back in 2006, the city changed the code to not allow sales of vehicles along a stretch of Fairbanks Avenue where the Holler Chevrolet dealership was for decades. City spokeswoman Clarissa Howard says vehicle sales was not what the city wanted on that stretch of road.
"Fairbanks Avenue is one of the main gateways into our city, and currently the city would like to see that gateway become more welcoming," said Howard.
Orlando RV took over the property and leases it from Holler. When they arrived, the lease ran until 2013, but the city since signed two extensions to keep them there until 2015. This week, they asked City Council for even more time, 5 extra years to stay until 2020, but staff recommended Commissioners reject the claim. Howard says the hope was that by 2015 someone would be willing to rebuild the two blocks.
"With the improvements that we are seeing in the economy, there are things that could happen redevelop into things that are more than a used car lot or an RV sales lot that would be more welcoming to Winter Park."
The City Commission came up with a compromise and will allow Orlando RV to stay 3 years longer until 2018. Howard says it gives Holler, the RV dealership, and the city time to come up with a better plan.
"We do have car lots and used sales car lots all throughout the city. With Fairbanks Avenue being one of the main corridors that is not the place we would like to encourage that kind of development."
Orlando RV says they will eventually build a new dealership along Interstate 4 in Orange County. They are happy to stay in Winter Park for now because sales have been so good there.