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Locals Voice Concerns Over Disney’s ‘Attainable’ Housing

Locals Voice Concerns Over Disney's 'Attainable' Housing flamingo-crossing-affordable-housing

Disney’s first affordable housing project (with 1,410 units) near Walt Disney World is facing opposition from neighbors over traffic and school crowding concerns. Before the county zoning board’s first public hearing on Thursday, numerous West Orange County residents opposed Walt Disney Imagineering’s request for a land-use change. More specifically, they oppose the proposal to allow apartment buildings on the 80-acre site.

I completely understand the need and support the addition of affordable housing, but this is just not the location for it.

Kelly Vanarsdall – Local Real Estate Agent

The project was met with a much warmer reception when it was announced in April 2022. The announcement was made during a severe housing crisis, which prompted Orange County commissioners to propose a rent-control ordinance. Although voters approved it, an appeals court later struck it down.

According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, over 100 people gathered at an elementary school cafeteria for a community meeting about the project back in September 2023. Kathy Hattaway, a Disney representative, shared project details, sparking unease among many attendees.

Locals Voice Concerns Over Disney's 'Attainable' Housing Disney affordable housing development

“There is a lot of care being put into making this a great community for the people who will live here,” Hattaway told them. An Orange County staff report described the tone of the meeting as “mixed,” noting objections and concerns.

Many residents who will ultimately be tasked with approving the project expressed their concerns via email to commissioners.

“Orange County has already allowed far too many high-density housing complexes in this area. Current students are being under-served as the local schools are overcrowded and understaffed.  Future schools are already projected to be over capacity,” Horizon West resident Mike Finnan said in an email. “Infrastructure and emergency services are already stretched.”

According to the Orlando Sentinel, commissioners and the zoning board also received emails endorsing Disney’s project.

Disney isn’t the only local entertainment company moving into housing. Last November, Universal Parks & Resorts broke ground on Catchlight Crossings, a $350 million project with 1,000 affordable units near the Orange County Convention Center.

Senior Editor for the DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº


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