Pine Hills, Orange County, Florida
The Pine Hills community located just outside of Orlando, Florida, is one of Orange County's oldest and largest neighborhoods. It was originally developed in the 1950s as a suburb for workers of the Martin Marietta Corporation. In the 1980s and 1990s, newer housing developments were built in the county attracting residents away. Many long-time businesses also left Pine Hills. Disinvestment coupled with external negative perceptions of Pine Hills have plagued the community's residents and business owners. The Pine Hills area was also a target of subprime lending practices during the housing boom, leading to 4,000 foreclosure filings between 2008 and 2010.
Despite the area's economic decline, several organized local groups are active, and Orange County has shown significant support for community redevelopment efforts in recent years. In 2004, the "Pine Hills Land Analysis and Strategic Plan" were completed, which resulted in increased home ownership and investment in the area. The county received Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2009, which provided some assistance to Pine Hills during the foreclosure crisis. In 2010, the local high school was rebuilt and a follow-up to the 2004 plan led to a market assessment for several important corridors.
The Orange County Planning Division requested a CPAT to aid its efforts in creating a strategy for moving many of the findings and recommendations of the 2004 and 2010 studies forward. In particular, the planning division seeks guidance with the area surrounding the intersection of Silver Star Road and North Pine Hills Road, which is the focus of their efforts to develop a vibrant, mixed-use, town center in Pine Hills.
Pine Hills: Many Cultures, One Bright Future
Community Planning Assistance Team Report
Disinvestment in the area over many years and an unfortunate rise in crime fueled the area’s decline. Property values began to decline in Pine Hills. Many homes that owners were unable to sell turned into rental properties, including government subsidized housing. Median income levels dropped. Long-time businesses left the area. The Orlando area also grew. The tourist industry continued to expand as well as other industries that located in the Orlando area. Expanded choices for housing and businesses developed into other parts of the region leaving older Pine Hills in an increasing struggle to compete.
News Coverage of the Pine Hills Project
September 25, 2014
The team issues its final report: "Pine Hills: Many Cultures, One Bright Future."
May 8, 2014
The team presented its ideas and recommendations followed by questions and answers from the public, which provided additional feedback that the team will include in its final report. Team leader Graham Billingsley, FAICP, began with an introduction of the week's process, followed by Claire Hempel, AICP, who offered some design concepts for the area. Robert Lewis, AICP, presented the economic realities and a preliminary development program along with costs and implementation steps. Aaron Arnett, AICP, provided a full community identity package including a brand statement, color palette, typeface, icons, and taglines. Arnett demonstrated a variety of ways the brand can be employed along with ideas that stemmed from conversations with community members throughout the week.
May 6, 2014
The team conducted stakeholder interviews all day Tuesday, discussing Pine Hills with over 50 individuals representing a wide range of interests. In the evening, the team held a public meeting where over 40 people participated in breakout groups to discuss their hopes and ideas for Pine Hills, and more specifically, the area around the intersection of N. Pine Hills and Silver Star Roads. Before citizens broke into groups, the team presented background information to help put the area into context.
November 13-15, 2013
Team Leader Graham Billingsley, FAICP, and APA project manager Ryan Scherzinger visited Pine Hills. They met with members of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District (NID). The NID's Executive Director, Jerry Presley, and Orange County planner, Jason Reynolds presented background information on the neighborhood and described much of the work the NID has done since it started in 2011. Billingsley and Scherzinger then toured the proposed town center and surrounding areas with Presley and Orange County Principal Planner Karen McGuire, AICP. Following the tour, they met with multiple members of Orange County's Planning Division.