Apopka Town Center Agreement can’t be rushed through

The City of Apopka is ready to make a move on the much anticipated Town Center. The first real steps towards making this a reality will commence this Friday January 15, 11:00 am, at the Apopka City Hall. In a rather unusual move, a workshop set up by the developers for the Commission to review a land sale agreement will be followed immediately by a vote from the Commission.The 26 page land sales agreement went up on the City website either yesterday or today. That gives the public just 2 or 3 days to review and make comment before Friday’s meeting.

First, after over 11 years in the making, why the sudden rush for a vote, on a Friday, in the middle of a workday when most people cannot attend? Mayor Kilsheimer said it was being done at the urging of the investment group, Taurus Investments. “They were very insistent”.  Since when does any outside entity dictate the City of Apopka agenda or demand what or when matters come up for vote? The City of Apopka is losing $12,000,000.00 on this land deal, paying $17,000,000 in 2006 and now selling it to Taurus Investment for a paltry $5,000,000. In an open letter written today about this land sale agreement, the Mayor urged his readers to look at the long term benefits. Sure, we are losing $12,000,000.00 but it will pay off in the long-term. How long, exactly? It could take up to a year or longer before a final agreement is reached and then several years before the Center is completed.  Who negotiated this sales deal anyway? We really could not get more for the land from this multi-national investment company? And which government entity will be paying for the expensive infrastructure changes that will most certainly have to be done? If it’s Apopka, there goes our long term benefits.

The Mayor also noted the sale of the land is conditioned upon successful negotiation of a development agreement within 30 days of signing the sales agreement, with the option for one 30 day extension (a total of 60 days). If the City does not like the development plans, then both parties can walk away. OK.. I must ask this question. The RFP that started this whole process was awarded to Taurus (apparently the only bidder; I wonder why only ONE bid?) in JULY of 2015. What has this group been doing for the last 5 months? And aside from Taurus being the only respondent to the RFP, what criteria was used make the award? Are we to believe this group does not have anything for the City to review before signing this deal, even preliminary plans? It’s like, hey horse, get behind this cart ok? It will all work out, don’t worry.

I  urge our City Commission to exercise great care and caution when reviewing this sales agreement. Ask the tough questions, and if answers aren’t forthcoming, keep asking till you hear what you need to make a decision. Don’t be pressured or bullied by anyone into making a decision that could be contrary to the best interests of Apopka. Don’t be afraid to ask for more time; Mayor Kilsheimer is right about this: we’ve waited a long time for this town center. Done right, and Apopka could definitely be one of the crown jewels of Central Florida.. but that’s the key, it must be DONE RIGHT! No rushing, no pressure. We’ve waited 11 long years for this Town Center; let’s get this right!

Apopka Town Center Agreement can’t be rushed through

3 thoughts on “Apopka Town Center Agreement can’t be rushed through

  1. Diane says:

    Good Morning, Barbara May this email find you and Phil in good spirits entering the New Year. My wishes for Phil, he continues to feel better from his major surgery. Thank you for sharing your views regarding the Apopka Downtown Center. At the last City Council meeting, when there was a discussion to settle on a date and time for the public workshop – I did question the urgency to Hold a Vote following the workshop. The Mayor did state the Developers asked for this following the workshop. I want to assure you, as your commissioner representing the community, my responsibility is to our community. The workshop will allow the Mayor and commissioners to discuss this project and ask all the questions in a public venue. I have taken notice and read comments posted on social network. Also, the articles written by you and The Voice & the Apopka Chief. Each point of view has provided me with much to consider re: downtown center. I am happy to see the social network has given way to bring awareness to this big project and our residents are getting involve. Thank you for providing a time line showing this project started many years before we took office 20 months ago. I don’t know if our residents knew this project started 11 years ago. And it is now in the hands of this present Council. Having the community involvement will help to guide us in the future development of Apopka Downtown Center. Again, thank you for sharing your comments. I do read your Blog and the comments posted on the FB. Since taking office, I can safely say the changes taking place with regards to community involvement has been astounding. Especially, through social media. It is a a good thing. Thank you again for sharing your views and getting involve in growing Apopka.

    Diane Velazquez Commissioner

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Appreciate your thoughts! Please be sure you and the other Commissioners are safeguarding the interests of Apopka residents and taxpayers! We cannot let outside interests dictate when City Business is conducted, or when votes are taken. I do see a very heavy hand in this whole thing, a hand leftover from the previous administration.


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