Letter to the Editor Winter Park Times

Regarding Idlewild LLC proposed development

Your recent article on the proposed Idlewild development was very informative. My letter is in support of the Winter Park Planning Commission’s request for more information from the developer.

As a resident of Rendezvous adjacent to this proposed development and about to become a full-time resident, my husband and I have read and participated in the Planning meetings on this project. Because the Planning Commission’s requests were so straight forward and necessary to evaluate the developer’s plan, it was very disappointing to see the developer’s negative (and quite frankly insulting) response.

In making a decision to make an investment in this area, we looked at the potential development opportunities and most importantly what we viewed as a balance between development and protecting the environmental resources.

The Planning Commission has a tremendous responsibility to the Winter Park residents and the greater community here in this valley. As stated in the Town Plan, there are four areas of emphasis: “Our character and Our Culture, Our Global and Local Connectivity, World Class Outdoor Recreation and Our Healthy and Thriving Environment.”

In reviewing this application, I believe that the Planning Commission and Planning Department is taking a thoughtful approach to the proposed development while taking into account the stated goals as quoted above.

The Commission’s concern about building heights being requested is not just for this project, but also for the impact on the character of Winter Park in the future.  Development is important for the long-term growth of the area, but where is it most appropriate? The comments at the last meeting from Commission members and staff indicate a true concern for the viability of this project with respect to the potential environmental and safety impacts. Since the developer is not willing to provide soil testing to substantiate his request for the zoning change, there is a disconnect.

As we know, the Fraser River is part of the “World Class Outdoor Recreation” indicated in the Town Plan. The Fraser River is already impacted by rise in water temperature and thus the trout production. Imagine the Fraser River without trout.

The Planning Commission has a unique opportunity to maintain the tenets of the Town Plan by continuing to request additional information from this developer on traffic, building heights, conference space, and soil testing. The purpose of planning, in my opinion, is to protect the character of where you live while looking forward to how that character can be improved.

I urge the Planning Department and the Planning Commission to keep up the great work in ensuring that Winter Park grows in a measured and thoughtful way, taking into account all stakeholders including those like the wildlife, land and water courses that cannot speak for themselves. It is the Planning Department and Planning Commission that can ensure that those who come after us will enjoy the wonderful resources here in this valley.


Paula M. Stuart – Fraser CO

Author’s note: Paula Stuart is the Chairman of the Environmental Commission in Bernardsville, NJ and holds a Masters in Environmental Studies from Vermont Law School. She has worked for non-profits and State agencies in NJ to protect water resources for 15 years.