After intense lobbying by Universal Orlando, the Orange County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-3 Thursday against a rezoning for the Skyplex project on International Drive near Orlando. Universal, located near residential neighborhoods, is only allowed to build up to 200 feet, but the developer was seeking a variance to build a 501-foot coaster on a 700-foot structure.
Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.
I really don't buy that Universal is lobbying for the good of the community, but their tactic is certainly an interesting one. If you allow the developer to build something that tall, you are setting precedent and it would be awfully hard to prevent Universal from doing the same. As it is, I'm not sure how you could not allow UO to build a non-scream ride at tall as the Orlando Eye.
The headline and summary is a little misleading if that's all you read. The P&Z Commission vote was a recommendation for the County/City commission that will give the ultimate yes/no for the development, and they more often than not approve even if the P&Z commission don't vote to recommend. As for Universal's dissent, it surprised me (and their light pollution claim is particularly laughable) and really leads me to think they've got a leg up on that auction for their former Lockheed land.
As Jeff said, this could open the door for Universal to build bigger, but I was under the impression not building above 200' was because of thematic reasons with the blinky lights for airplanes, not necessarily a true cap imposed by any ordinances. I know the ugly wall around the side of Dragons facing the school is specifically because of the school to block out screams as it really is right across the road, but that's been the only real "restriction" I've known of. The volcano of Volcano Bay should push or exceed 200' from what I understand.
^I've heard the same about limiting height because of thematic reasons but I don't really believe it. Of all the things that break visual sight lines at Universal, blinky lights on tall things would seem pretty low on the things-that-are-distracting list.
They could just build this model instead:
Dale from Dayton
Rock me Diabeetus!
A petition just got over 1000 signatures for the skyplex and coaster.
Maybe the dream isn't dead!
(Insert funny signature here.)
Someone sent me a FB message insisting that I post "news" about a petition to save Conneaut Lake. I told him they don't need a petition, they need money.
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