Traffic in East Orange County

2/14/2016 – Here’s what I know about the latest on roads in East Orange County

Here is what I know about the roads.

The Grow conceptual site plan

Let’s start with the project at Lake Pickett called “The Grow” which is the transmittal phase now and due to come up for an approval hearing soon.

“The Grow” is contributing 28 million in impact fees and proportional share money that will be allocated like this.  16 million will be used to advance the widening of Hwy 50 from the Econ bridge to 419.  This widening is on the FDOT long range plan but is currently unfunded.  When it does become funded and the money is allocated, the state will send the money back to Orange County, not “The Grow”  to be used somewhere on Orange County roads.  The other 12 million will be used to widen 419 from Hwy 50 to Lake Pickett Road.  This is the contribution from “The Grow” to the road issues we have in East Orange County.

What about the other county roads?

Over capacity segments in 2030

As you may know the mayor secured 300 million in bond money for Infrastructure that is under a name “INVEST in Our Home for Life” but is just called “Invest”.  200 million of this is allocated to the roadway system while the other 100 million to other infrastructure needs such as 15 million for bike and pedestrian improvements and other multi-modal transit projects.  28 million has been designated to be used in East Orange County.  Orange County is planning on widening McCulloch to 4-lanes from N. Tanner Road to Lockwood Blvd.  This will take a portion of the “Invest” money allocated to East Orange County.  The county does not currently have plans for the remainder of the funding until a traffic study is completed which is either underway now or will be underway soon.  The study is being paid for with “Invest” money.  We will not know where this money will be used or how until this study is complete.

Everything is on the table and is being considered in this traffic study but nothing is decided which includes the following:

  • A bridge over the Econ at McCulloch.  Notice I did not say to 419 but is certainly being considered
  • Widening Lake Pickett to 4 -lanes
  • A road from Lake Pickett to Woodbury
  • Widening Lake Pickett from Percival to Hwy 50
  • The Richard Crotty Parkway
  • Anything else that is discovered

408 Expansion Corridor Map

Let’s dispel some myths that I have heard people say are definite.  Nothing is cast is stone such as:

  • Widening Lake Pickett from Percival to Hwy 50 is not cast in stone
  • A road from Lake Pickett to Woodbury is not cast in stone
  • A bridge over the Econ at McCulloch is not cast in stone

Let’s not forget the extension of the 408.  The second project group meeting is coming up and I will have an update in 2-3 weeks.

I have also heard that MetroPlan is performing a traffic study of the entire region which is a separate study from the one Orange County is performing so it will be interesting to see how that turns out.  Keep in mind these studies take time.  Many months in fact so be very patient.

It is great to see this focus and attention to our area and plans coming together to fix these roads.  But we still have a long way to go.

Richard Crotty extension

For example, the Richard Crotty Parkway, the red line on the map.  I cannot imagine the traffic studies not showing this road as a vital part of the roadway system.  We need another east-west road to move traffic.  We need connectivity from east-west to really create efficiency in our road system.  See a prior post about “Who Lives IN The DMZ Zone” and the second one called, “What is the DMZ Zone“.   Watch this video to see the DMZ Zone and connectivity.  I cannot imagine a bridge over the Econ at McCulloch unless the Richard Crotty Parkway is part of this study.  What that would do is have three east-west roads in the Rural Service Area crossing the Econ funneling down to two inside the Urban Service Area.  That would make no sense at all.  But Research Park is not too excited about the Richard Crotty Parkway and UCF is silent and neutral.

Also, Seminole County is not to thrilled with widening McCulloch or crossing the Econ at McCulloch so we will have to see how that plays out.

Sustany conceptual site plan

Let’s also not forget Lake Pickett North which was called “Sustany”.  I have heard this is coming back most likely in the the 2016 second cycle so we will have to see what that project looks like and how this will impact traffic.  The 2016 second cycle is from about September, 2016 to March, 2017 so the application will be submitted and you can expect community meetings a couple of months before September/October time frame.

But I am encouraged that we are moving in the right direction.  I have to admit I was somewhat dejected a while ago until I talked to some people recently and learned much of what I am relaying on to you.  In the world of Infrastructure wheels turn very slow and patience is all important.  All we can do is keep moving and keep coming up with ideas on how to keep this issue at the forefront in the minds of our elected officials to ensure we get the attention we deserve.



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9/15/2015 – Road Agreement with Lake Pickett South


Jon Weiss - Director of Community, Environmental nad Development Servvices DepartmentOver the next few days I am going to bring you up to speed on the road agreement presentation Mr. Jon Weiss, Director of Community, Environmental and Development Services Department, presented to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on 9/15/2015 so you know what is in the agreement.  Below is a synopsis of the presentation.  The subsequent posts will be short video clips from the meeting that you can watch in under 3 minutes.  I will be posting these on Facebook so if you haven’t LIKED my page, click here to LIKE it.

To view Mr. Weiss’ entire presentation and the BCC discussion afterwards on Orange TV, click this link and navigate to item 9 or just wait for the relevant snippets I post.  Please use Internet Explorer as the video requires Silverlight to run and does not seem to work in Chrome.

My disclaimer:

  • In no way do I endorse Lake Pickett South.
  • I am neither for or against Lake Pickett South.  I am neutral on development.
  • All I want is the roads fixed so we can travel quicker and safer to our destinations!

The bulk of the transportation impact from the Lake Pickett South (LPS) development is on Hwy 50 as shown on the map below.  The other county roads are impacted with 8% on Chuluota Road and a few percent on Lake Pickett and S. Tanner.  There will no doubt be an impact to N. Tanner and McCulloch but as explained in Mr. Weiss’ presentation and discussion afterwards that will be county responsibility to fix.  Therefore the roads that will be improved with LPS money will be Hwy 50 and Chuluota Road.

Trip Distribution – Lake Pickett South

Here is how it will work but first let’s dispel some myths.

There are some that think that all of the money the developer pays will come back to them in some form of credit somewhere in the future.  That is simply not true.  The developer will pay 28 million in transportation impact fees.  This is far above what is required which is about 9.5 million according to current impact fee calculations.  The reason for the large amount is the road issue.

There are some that think that the houses will be built before the roads are built.  Again that is not true.  Commissioner Edwards has made it clear the roads come first and in fact there is a new phrase being bantered about labeled , “Roads First”.  It is in the video and I will post a snippet sometime soon.

Mr. Weiss talked about 3 areas in his presentation:

  •  Monetary contribution to area needed transportation infrastructure
  • Roads first
  • Concurrency satisfaction

1. Monetary contribution to area needed transportation infrastructure:

The developer will pay 28 million for the roadway improvements to Hwy 50 and Chuluota Road.  16 million will go to Hwy 50 and 12 million to Chuluota Road.

Term Sheet Overview – Hwy 50

Hwy 50:

As far as Hwy 50 is concerned.  FDOT will complete the design and permitting by August of 2016 but note there is no funding to build the road.  This is where LPS comes into the picture.  Here is the process:

  • LPS fronts 16 million to FDOT to build the road sooner than it would otherwise.
  • When FDOT would have built the road in about 2021, the 16 million is refunded TO THE COUNTY, not the developer.

So the money flow is from developer to FDOT then back to Orange County in about 2021.

Term Sheet Overview – Chuluota Road

Chuluota Road:

No studies have been done on the section of road from Lake Pickett to Hwy 50 so the county would pay for the design and permitting and the 12 million would pay for construction.

In this case the 12 million flows directly to the county.

During discussion, Commissioner Edwards stated that he wanted to make sure the developer paid no less than 28 million for road improvements.  He also talked about the 16 million for Hwy 50 and explained that if the cost is less than 16 million, the county would still get 16 million so the cost to the developer for Hwy 50 is 16 million regardless of the actual cost.  If the exposure goes above 16 million, then the developer will pay that over-run but that money would be refunded to the developer in 2021 or whenever the money becomes available from the state.

Commissioner Edwards wanted to also have a drop dead date for the 12 million for Chuluota Road.  the date is 9/21/2021 because this date ties into the building permits allowed and when they are allowed.  He also explained that the 12 million dollars could be spent elsewhere and not specifically for Chuluota Road because there may be other priorities tied in with the “Invest” dollars.

2. Roads First:

When the money is paid by the developer is very important as we want to make sure the roads keep pace with development.  Commissioner Edwards has made it very clear that the roads are improved as development takes place.  Here’s how it works.

There are 4 thresholds and the first (A).  The builder cannot pull one building permit until the 16 million is paid to advance Hwy 50.  Before the first house comes out of the ground the developer has to write a 16 million check to the state.  At that time the developer can built homes equivalent to 250 trips.  Simply put, trips are car trips to and from the home and are computed using a formula.  When SR 50 is 50% complete they can build more homes equivalent to 250 trips and when 100% complete can build more homes equivalent to 671 trips.  Remember that the total units that was agreed to was 2,256 units and 237,000 feet of commercial.  Trips do not equate to units.

At this point the development will be about 40% built out.  In order to finish the build out of the development or another 1,746 trips, the developer will have to pay 12 million before one unit could be built.  If they don’t pay the 12 million, then no more building permits will be issued.

The idea behind this schedule is to make sure that the roadways keep pace with development.

Term Sheet Overview – LPS

 3. Concurrency satisfaction:

Honestly I don’t understand anything Mr. Weiss said in his presentation about this requirement so I really don’t have much to add.  He was talking about platting and things that sounded like Greek to me so see if you can figure it out.

LPS is agreeable to all the conditions laid out in this discussion.

As a side note impact fees are currently being charged at 56% of the fee schedule for everyone in the county.  This equates to about 9.5 million in fees to LPS.  If this was 100%, impact fees would be about 17 million.  The developer is paying 11 million more than full impact fee pricing.  If it sounds like developers are getting a break on impact fees, the mayor pointed out that the BCC has never imposed 100% based on the methodology used to calculate impact fees today.  A different methodology was used in the past that equated to about 60% of impact fees.  So the number of 56% is nothing special for this applicant, it is about the cost that has been in effect for a long period of time.  I do remember a BCC meeting late last year where the impact fees were raised to the 56% from a lower percentage.

Commissioner Thompson said she thinks the priority is really West from Avalon Parkway on Hwy 50 as well as McCulloch Road.  That certainly does sound on target.

Commissioner Clarke did want to know if we are simply circling the wagons and not really making any gains with this development.  Another valid point.

408 Expansion Corridor Map

Commissioner Edwards said that the big game changer is the extension of the 408.  Remember this study is underway now to extend the 408 from it’s end 520.  Don’t forget the meeting coming up on Oct 22nd at East River High School.

One last comment I want to make is I have been keeping up-to-date on the “comments” from the different agencies and so far there is nothing coming back from any of them that would impede this application from being adopted.

The way this works is the agencies take a look at the proposed development and are required to review the application based on their respective area of expertise.  If they see something they think is an issue, they make a “comment”.  There are a couple of comments but nothing that would impede the application from being adopted.

At this point in time, it seems as though the project is moving forward.

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8/19/2015 – Should the Rural Service Boundary move east past the Econ?

Kevin Shaughnessy

At a recent Charter Review Commission Meeting, members of Save Orange County (SOC) made public comment to ask the Commission for charter protection of the Rural Service Boundary east of the Econ.  I was surprised to see the chairman of the committee, Kevin Shaughnessy, ask legal council to take up the issue and report back at the next meeting.  He made the comment that he was not sure that the Charter Review Commission can take away the approval process from the Board of County Commissioners so the question the lawyer needs to answer is if the charter can control a land use issue such as the Urban Service Area.    If you are interested, click here to view the video.  I am not quite sure what the committee would do other than ratify the Rural Service Boundary at the Econ.  I can’t imagine the committee trying to control the zoning of the Lake Pickett properties as there is already a defined process in place to deal with zoning changes through the Board of County Commissioners.  That would create havoc for future zoning requests.  Maybe I am missing something and will be eagerly awaiting the next meeting to hear what he has to say.

High Impact Urban

There is some fear that if the Lake Pickett properties are developed the Rural Service Boundary between the Urban Service Area (USA) and the Rural Service Area (RSA) which currently runs along the Econ river will shift east.  You can see the line on the map in purple running along the Econ south to north.  The USA is easy to recognize by the “High Impact Urban” red area west of the Econ while the RSA is the greener area to the east of the purple line.

I don’t know one person who thinks that this line should move east.  In fact I think this is one point that everyone no matter what your opinion is of how the Lake Pickett properties should be developed agrees.  The dividing line needs to remain at the Econ.

The Comprehensive Plan shows the Econ as the Rural Service Boundary between the USA and the RSA.  The map on the left came out of the Comprehensive Plan itself and shows the purple line that we all agree should be the Rural Service Boundary between the USA and the RSA.  But some feel that the text amendment for the Lake Pickett properties violates the rural service boundary and creates an urban area within the rural area.  I suppose one could argue that point.  However, if that is the point then it has already been violated many times over with Corner Lakes, Cypress Lakes and other suburban communities east of the Econ that also show up red in this map.  Even portions of Wedgefield show up in red.  They are classified as “High Impact Urban”.

The idea behind the Lake Pickett Text Amendment is not to promote more urban east of the Econ but instead to stop it.  The purpose is to create a transition area between the USA and RSA.  The density in the Lake Pickett South property has been reduced to 2,256 units.  It is not the lower density of the RSA but on the flip side it is also not the higher density of the USA.  It is in between which is the intention.  By creating this transition zone, no urban can be built east of this land.  That is the whole purpose behind the Transect idea and that is why Lake Pickett has it’s very own LP designation in the Comprehensive Plan.  Nowhere else in Orange County will there be an LP designation because it stands for “Lake Pickett”.

When it comes to preserving the rural area, I think we all have that very same goal in mind.  The differences lie in the paths each of us take to get to the destination.

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7/1/2015 – An update on the Lake Pickett Properties

A few months ago I spoke at River Run church regarding traffic in the area. At that time there was no plan to fix these roads and there was not enough focus on the area. Many things have changed since that time. Through great time and effort, East Orange County now has a very intense spotlight shining on it because it is the only large area in Orange County with this many traffic issues and there is no doubt people are very upset over traffic. This area has been neglected for a very long time and no money has been put into the infrastructure out here.  But now we have the attention of the county commissioners as well as the mayor and the Orange County staff.

We also have the land owners of the Lake Pickett properties who are working with the county to help develop these areas in a responsible way. They are being required to contribute 40-50 million dollars that will go to fix these roads.

In addition to this, the mayor made this announcement in the 2015 State of the County address recently.

“The capstone announcement outlined a proposal for one of the largest capital investment projects by Orange County, a $300 million initiative called “INVEST in Our Home for Life.” The funds will be spent on roads, parks, pedestrian safety projects, public and fire safety facilities and affordable family housing in Orange County.”

These funds coupled with the developer funds will get our roads fixed meaning the roads will accommodate the existing traffic as well as the traffic forecasted from these developments.

The alternative is no funding for roads and by 2030 all of the roads are over-capacity. This just can’t be allowed to happen. We have an opportunity now to have a say in how these properties are developed in one cohesive and organized way or the flip-side is to oppose it and end up with what I believe will be a much worse situation.

I watch each and every Board of County Commissioner meeting and keep in touch with the people downtown. I speak at many meetings during public comment and just recently spoke at the Charter Review Commission workshops in favor of a one cent sales tax for four years. This county has an infrastructure deficit of 1.6 billion dollars and a one cent sales tax for four years will eliminate that problem.  Here is my post of my public comment.

Many people are resisting this change but that is precisely why we are in this situation with our roads. It is because we are our own worst enemy and keep telling Orange County to go away. But we are at a point now when Orange County can’t go away because they must maintain the roads to a certain Level of Service. If you watch the videos closely you will pick this up rather quickly.

I liken our situation to Rip Van Winkle.  If you remember the story, he was a young man who left his sleepy little village to go hunting with his dog and woke up 20 years later with no dog and his village turned into a town with many more houses and shops.  He was bewildered and disoriented.  We are Rip Van Winkle and have been asleep for 20 years.

I am not sure how this all happened around us but I feel like Rip Van Winkle.  We can’t turn the clock back and undo it so we have to find a way to deal with it.  My approach is to embrace it and make it what we want it to be.  Opposing it can work for some period of time but the clock can’t be reversed and what is here is here to stay.  We are the town now that Rip Van Winkle walked into after 20 years.  He couldn’t go back and neither can we.

There has been a video a day posted and this will continue for the next week or two before the Board of County Commissioner meeting on July 28th. The videos are less than 3 minutes each so as not to bore you too much. We are at critical mass now and we should all be watching this closely.

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6/17/2015 – Tomorrow is the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting

Orange County Rezoning Approval Process

Tomorrow is the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that is another milestone for the Lake Pickett Text Amendment Applications.  You can view the agenda here: Planning and Zoning Commission – June 18, 2015 Agenda.  While this meeting does not decide the fate of the applications, it most certainly carries weight.  The commission can approve or deny the applications based solely on consistency with the Comprehensive Plan.  If the applications are approved, the next step will be a hearing in front of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) who will either approve or deny “TRANSMITTAL”.  This is not the end game, in fact, it is only just another milestone.

If the Planning and Zoning Commission denies the applications on the basis of non-consistency with the Comprehensive Plan then the applicants have the option of appealing the ruling and can go in front of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) who will make the final determination or they can redesign and resubmit or they can abandon the applications.

The vote by the BCC on July 28th is only for “TRANSMITTAL”.  This means the real work begins.  It means the BCC approved the applications provided many criteria are met by different agencies.  Agencies such as St. Johns river Management, FDOT and many more.  The applicant will have to satisfy all of the criteria and then go before the Planning and Zoning Committee and Board of County Commissioners once again for approval.

This phase is called “ADOPTION” and is where the most time and money is spent.  If Commissioner Edwards is not satisfied with the agreements reached with the applicants during this phase, the applications will most likely not survive.  I believe the fate of these applications lie not only in the will of the people but a plan that will fix the roads.  There would be no sense in approving these developments and leave the roads in the state they are in now or worse.  The only reason to proceed forward with the applications is if there would be a positive impact to the area.



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Orange County Community Meeting

6/4/2015 – What I thought of the 3rd Lake Pickett Meeting

This is what I wrote on Facebook.  See below what I wanted to write.


All I heard was make the developers go away. It seems that contempt for developers, county staff and our elected officials has superseded common sense.

For a minute, let’s pretend the developers don’t exist and they are not part of our traffic problem so get the signs that say 15,000 more cars on the road out of your head.

I don’t think anyone will say that traffic is fine. Traffic is bad and will only get worse. We have been complaining about it for years, right?

We have been concerned over police, fire and EMT response time. Concerned with long commute times that will only get worse. Concerned about school buses getting kids to school safely. When did all that evaporate and traffic is no longer a concern?

At the meeting I heard, go away, we are fine out here. Everyone has been so worked up over these developments that we have lost sight of the problem. Think about this instead. Renzo Nastasi, the traffic manager, said all the roads will fail by 2030 with red lines on every road, right? McCulloch, N. Tanner, Lake Pickett, S. Tanner, 419, Hwy 50 and Woodbury. The county must fix failing roads. It is their job whether we like it or not. And just fixing Hwy 50 is not going to work. The traffic on the county roads is here to stay. I think once we accept that cold hard fact, then we can move forward.

Do you really think 6 laning Hwy 50 is going to make all the traffic problem go away?
Do you think the county can let these roads fail?
Do you really think that they are just going to go away and let us live in this traffic nightmare?

I challenge everyone reading this to think clearly and try to help solve the problem. This is your time to provide input because there will come a time when it will be fixed regardless of what anyone thinks. The county has to do its job, they have to maintain the roads to a standard and trust me when I say, they will come in and 4 lane roads to provide more capacity for cars to move.


Traffic is here to stay and it is the county’s job to ensure we have an infrastructure in place to move transit.

In my next post I will tell you my view of the developers and where they fit in my head.

This is what I wrote first.  I think it is far more entertaining but a bit over the top so I will keep it buried down here for posterity sake.

The Lake Pickett Community meeting was a runaway freight train fueled by a mob ramped up with false pre-programmed images of disingenuous developers and untrustworthy government officials whose sole intent is to steal the rural area.  The tone of a meeting was set when the first speaker approached the mic and continued throughout the night with ranting, raving, heckling and cheering and doing all kinds of things 19 years olds high on pot would do at a Metallica concert.  We might as well have been in Baltimore a few weeks ago the way this crowd acted.  The tone was set long before walking into the room.  As soon as I left my house heading to the meeting I was greeted by propaganda signs littered everywhere attempting to instill fear in my heart.  15,000 more cars on the road they read.

Anyone who might have said anything in favor of these developments probably thought twice about speaking in front of this contentious pack of rowdies.  A couple of people tried and were heckled back into their seats.  This wasn’t a community meeting.  It was a rant where adrenaline and emotion ruled logic and reason.

This was a sorry display of humanity.  It was just short of a reversion to pitchforks and lynch mobs.  Some even resorted to personal attacks on our elected official by trying to use political affiliation and where the person lived against the man while many attacked a county employee and one blatantly called him a liar.

And all for what.  Nothing because the future is here.  What do you think is going to happen?  Do you really think with traffic this bad the county is going to just walk away and leave the roads as they are today?  Sorry, folks, it is way too late for that.  The chickens are lose and running amuck and you aren’t getting them back in the coop.  As much as you want to warp back 20 years and stop change from happening the future is here.  How can I be so sure?  Level of Service (LOS), that’s how.  Everyone was too busy trying to find thing to attack in Renzo’s presentation no one bothered to try to understand what Renzo was trying to say.  Let me say it very clearly.  With OR WITHOUT these developments by 2030 ALL THESE ROAD ARE RED, overcapacity, too many cars, gridlock, nowhere to go, stuck in traffic …….. BELOW THE REQUIRED LOS.  Should I go on, how clear can I make this?  THE COUNTY ISN’T ALLOWED to let the roads drop below a certain LOS.  It is not the county’s choice to make.  While everyone is beating their chests like a bunch of drunk gorillas, the county is doing the job we are paying them to do and getting flogged at the whipping post for doing it.  You can be mad at me, unlike me on Facebook or whatever you want to do but someone has to stand up and tell you the cold hard facts.  Traffic is at a point where it must be fixed and the county is going to fix it with OR WITHOUT these developments. THEY HAVE TO!  It may not be next year or the year after that but before 2030 these roads will be fixed and planning has or will start soon if it hasn’t already.  The developers make it easier because they help fund it.  But come hell or high water, these roads will be fixed.  You can take that to the bank.

One more thing, this mob mentality isn’t going to get away with this down at the chambers.  This ranting and raving is not allowed.  They don’t even allow cheers.  Fair warning.



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Roadway Agreements

5/30/2015 – How do Impact Fees and Road Agreements really work

There seems to be a misconception on how Impact Fees work as well as Roadway Agreements.  Some think that the developer ends up paying nothing or very little.  I have found this to be very far from the truth.  I hope this blog helps clear this up.

It would be absolutely absurd to think that the developer will get a free pass when the county is relying heavily on the developer to fund the roadway especially in the case of Lake Pickett.  It is also preposterous to think that the county and developers will enter into a roadway agreement and spends thousands of dollars and time to draft it only to give it all back!  There is so much attention on this now that if this is approved for transmittal and ultimately adoption every bit of money available will be funneled to these roads for improvements.  We have seen to that already with the signs and attendance at the meetings.  I think it is top priority down at the county right now and the iron is red hot thanks to us.

I think a lengthy explanation is in order.

How are impact fees used?
Impact fees are set using the transportation impact fee schedule. and are currently at $3,761 per single family detached home.  So let’s do a little math.  2,256 units for LPS and 1,999 units for LPN times $3,761 = $16.003,005 for roads.   These fees go into a pot that can be used anywhere in the county and have most definitely been used elsewhere and not on our roads.  Considering the “unwritten taboo rule” that has dominated this area for years and years there is no question they have been used elsewhere.  In case you are wondering what the “unwritten taboo rule” is, it is that there is a sort of verbal agreement that no development occur east of the Econ.  This “rule” has been in effect for many many years and is why we are so far behind the curve in terms of road improvements.  With the fever pitch of the residents over the years demanding no change to the rural area, there have been no road improvements so the impact fee money from sub-divisions that have popped up along N. Tanner and other sub-divisions just west of the Econ as well as the “entitlements” of Corner Lakes and Cypress Lakes has been spent in other areas of Orange County because the residents effectively didn’t want it spent here.  This money is irretrievable.

How much will the developers pay in the case of Lake Pickett?
A single family detached home has a fee of $3,761.  This is non-refundable and is paid by the builder.  There are certain credits that can be applied but I think it is a stretch to assume that the entire amount paid will be offset by credits.  In the case of LPS that has 2,256 units, they would end up paying $8,484, 816 in impact fees.  LPN has 1,999 units and will pay $7,518,239.  And this does not include the commercial impact fees LPS will pay so their number is higher.  I have heard that LPN and LPS are not asking for credits because they understand the road situation.  So just in impact fees alone, LPN and LPS will pay close to $20 million that will not be refunded.  Here is the caveat about this money.  It can be used anywhere in the county.  It is up to us to demand it be used in and around these properties.  I know the developers want the impact fees used for these roadways also.  We haven’t even talked about the additional money the developers are going to pay which is part of the roadway agreement and is called proportional share agreement.  Read about it below.  It is very significant in terms of dollars and will probably add another $20+ million to the pot for roads.  The key to this is to see if with all monies combined we have enough to fix the roads.

Here are the cold hard facts when it comes to the roads.
If nothing happens out here and we cannot find a way to fix this, we will be left holding the bag and traffic will get much much worse and something will have to be done.  What, I am not sure but if you want any say in how this is done, now is the time.  If you wait until it is too late then it will most likely be dictated to you and you may not like what happens.

I believe as residents we will have to make a choice.  Do you want the roads fixed or do you want the area to remain “rural”.  If you want the area to remain rural then you cannot complain about traffic to the county anytime in the future and you surely will not have a say in what is done when the county is forced by law to fix what it can when roads fail.  The county is required by law to maintain the roads to a certain standard.  I want this to move forward so we have a say in how these roads are fixed and not live in this problem for many years to come.  I am very tired of watching the never-ending stream of cars on McCulloch Road.

Here is an explanation on how impact fees work from someone very close to the action.  This is what is really happening behind the scenes.  Sometimes just talking to people who actually know what is going on and getting the straight facts is the best thing to do.  Enjoy!

The big picture is that the developers will pay tens of millions of dollars to build roads.  The “typical” development merely pays so-called impact fees which are a per house or per square foot (for non-residential)  charge to fund transportation capital costs (i.e. roads).  Sometimes a development is located where one or more of the “significantly” impacted roads is not operating at the County’s adopted level of service.  This is the case, obviously, around the Lake Pickett properties.  Such other developments may elect to pay a so-called “proportionate (or “prop”) share and move forward with development.  Such developers, per state law, get a credit against the transportation impact fees the County will charge at the time the actual building permit is pulled.  Such developers merely “pay and go” and never have to worry about whether the County actually uses the money to improve the failing road.  In other words, their right to begin development is not tied to actual road improvements but merely the payment of the money. 

The general game plan for the Lake Pickett projects is that the developers will pay a combination of impact fees and extra dollars.  By way of example and not necessarily exact numbers, it is estimated that based on current impact fee rates, LPS will pay around $8MM – $10MM in impact fees.  LPS’s dollar specific commitment to build off-site roads such as SR 50 might be $20MM (again, this is a number merely for example purposes).  Accordingly, LPS would pay about $12MM in extraordinary monies to fund road improvement costs.  This is true of LPN also.  The catch will be that portions of the proposed developments will be tied to certain of the road improvements assigned to the developments.  As noted above, this is not typically required of other developments.  This is very significant because, according to some in the community, roads promised in connection with previously approved developments didn’t materialize and the impact fees and any other prop share fees paid by the developers essentially vanished and must have been used by the County elsewhere.  LPS and LPN has as much interest in seeing that the County spends the money here as does the community.  It would be a lot easier for the developer and less risky to simply cut a check and go.  But that would not fix our problem.

The developers are not asking for any credits for land that might be needed in order to build a road improvement.  They both know that they need some money to build roads.   If somehow the developers are “crediting” against these needed funds, they  wouldn’t have the money necessary to build the roads.  This makes no sense, obviously.

As for the proposed funding plan for SR 50 specifically, through the developer negotiations with FDOT, they are willing to refund to the County the money the developers spend on SR 50 (today’s FDOT estimate is $16MM).  This is a HUGE “get” for everyone because we’ve essentially created another source of funds to help build roads in the area.  It is envisioned (of course, the County has to agree) that the terms of the LPS funding agreement will provide that the net funds available to the County will be immediately directed to construct another identified road improvement on the improvements map.  Essentially, all of us (i.e. the community, developers and the County) are getting what is called a “twofer”, meaning that we will get 2 improved roads as a result of LPS’s initial funding of 1 road.”

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Orange County Community Meeting

5/27/2015 – Setting Expectations

In a few short days the 3rd and final Lake Pickett Community meeting will be held. This one is to wrap up the meetings so Orange County staff can prepare to present to the LPA (Local Planning Agency) and following that the BCC (Board of County Commissioners).

The meeting is at Corner Lakes Middle School on June 2nd at 6:30 pm.  

Please attend.

This meeting is important because Orange County staff will again take notes of comments, suggestions and concerns from residents. This information is used when they prepare their presentation to the LPA (Local Planning Agency) and BCC (Board of County Commissioners).  We have been told there will be a discussion on traffic which is the primary concern of most people who live in this area.

I am very concerned about traffic.  Every time I go down McCulloch and think what it will be in 10 years if nothing is done to fix it, I feel saddened and dismayed.  This goes for N. Tanner, Lake Pickett, S. Tanner, 419 and Hwy 50 as well.

Here are some facts for you to consider:

  • FACT: If the Lake Pickett properties are denied, there will be no fixes to any roads except Hwy 50 from Dean to Old Cheney which is underway now.
  • FACT: HWY 50 is a state FDOT (Federal Department of Transportation) project, not county.
  • FACT: The HWY 50 section from Old Cheney to 520 is on the FDOT project chart but is not funded.  It will be many years before it is funded with money from the Federal Highway Trust Fund.
  • FACT: The county has very little money to build roads.
  • FACT: MetroPlan just passed a motion to reallocate up to 30% of money now used for roads into mass transit (buses, Sunrail) starting in 2020.  If money is diverted there is less money for roads.  Money comes from the Federal Highway Trust Fund
  • FACT: 18.4 cents of every dollar at the pump goes into a Federal Highway Trust Fund which filters down to the state and county to pay for roads.
  • FACT: The Federal Highway Trust Fund is in trouble.  Here is the most blunt phrase in this article: “But the fund is nearly broke.”  Read here:
  • FACT: The county relies on Road Agreements with developers to build and improve road.
  • FACT: The county is relying very heavily on the Lake Pickett developers to pay for a very large portion of the roadway improvements.
  • FACT: Many of the county roads are failing or will fail in the near future.  Meaning the roads are over-capacity.
  • FACT: None of the roads in this area are on the county’s project chart so it will be many many years before anything is improved
  • FACT: Regardless of these developments, more traffic will come to our roadways and the problem will get worse.
  • FACT: At some point these properties will be developed.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you want the roads fixed?
  • Do you want the area to stay rural and nothing done to the roads?
  • Do you want to see our traffic problem get worse and worse over time?

I can’t answer these questions for you, all I can do is impart knowledge I have that has been gathered over years of research on this subject.  Personally, at this meeting I want to hear what the county and developers have to say.  I want to see what can be done to fix these roads.  I want to see the impact the developments will have on the area and if there is a way to work together to solve the problems.  I think we are moving in the right direction.  There have been many meetings and phone calls to make this work and solve our traffic problem keeping the way of life of the residents in the forefront.

Here are some examples of gains over the last months:

  • The developers reduced the housing densities
  • Lake Pickett road has been buffered to be rural in nature
  • The Seminole County line has a 400 ft buffer and low density housing
  • S. Tanner has buffers with one acre lots and no lots will exit onto S. Tanner.  the lots have the same width as the lots across the street.
  • In LPS (Lake Pickett South) densities are highest along Hwy 50 and in the center of the properties away from the county roads.  There will be no apartments on the property.
  • In LPN (Lake Pickett North) densities are highest at the center.  There will be only residential homes with no commercial or apartments allowed.
  • The rights of citizens living in the area are foremost in the minds of the developers and county
  • The county has revised the amendment several times based on input from residents – still in draft now
  • A bright light is on this area and we are forefront in the minds of the county and other agencies.  We have focus now.

I feel the only way we will fix this problem is to find a way to work together to solve it.  Just saying no does not provide solutions.  We are in a situation that requires compromise and a give and take on all sides if this problem is to be solved.  All I ask is you come to this meeting with an open mind and willingness to listen.  If this meeting is promising, I would like to see the process move forward to the next step where the real work begins.  The BCC vote on July 28th is for “Transmittal” which only means it has promise.  The second BCC (Board of County Commissioners) vote late in the year is for “Adoption” which is the final vote.  But in between there is a myriad of hurdles that have to be crossed and the primary one being the Roadway Agreement.  This could all fall apart if the county and developers cannot come to an agreement.  Believe me when I say this.  If Commissioner Edwards has a hard choice making a motion for “Transmittal”, he will have an even harder choice making a motion for “Adoption”.  I believe he will be working very hard to make sure this will work because our future depends on it.  I think this just might be the hardest decision he will have to make in all the years he has served a a commissioner and I for one will be praying for him to make wise, thoughtful and good decisions.

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Traffic in East Orange County

5/13/2015 – Some crystal ball stuff about traffic

At the May 12th meeting I heard a lot of people asking a lot of questions about traffic so I thought I would write a blog of what I know.  Here it is in no priority order and completely random as thoughts come to my mind.  Let me put a disclaimer on all of these comments as they are just my comments and only educated guesses so if it doesn’t turn out like this, it is only my best guess.  It will be interesting to look back in 6 months and see how close I came to the mark.  But if you want to know what I know, read on.

South Lake Pickett Farm SKetch

South Lake Pickett Farm SKetch

Will the developments be built?

There is no crystal ball but I do know this.  I have watched countless hours of video from the BCC (Board of County Commissioner)  meetings and they always make very thoughtful votes and in favor of the majority. I can almost tell you how each board member will vote based on how they have voted in the past.  If there is an overwhelming number of people against this development, I will go out on a limb and say that Commissioner Edwards will not support the developments and most likely the other commissioners and mayor will vote in sync.  I have seen some very gut wrenching and difficult votes that had to be made and saw all kinds of emotion from the commissioners and mayor.  Emotions like sadness, anger, frustration, empathy, regret, and joy too.  My personal feeling is these men and women try to do what is best for us, the residents.

The process goes like this.  When a rezoning is in front of the BCC, the commissioner from that district is responsible for making the motion and is then seconded by another member and then a vote is taken.  In this case, Commissioner Edwards, our commissioner in District 5, will be asked to make the motion as this is in District 5 and he is the commissioner who initiates the vote.  I don’t know what he is thinking right now but if I were in his shoes seeing the tone at the meetings and the situation traffic is in right now, at this moment I could not support the developments and would make a motion against.  Who can tell what the next few weeks will bring.  These developments hinge on traffic and a solution to the problem and enough money from the developments to help fix traffic.  If there is a solution to traffic as residents are most concerned about then it might move forward.  Commissioner Edwards is well aware of this and I am confident will make the right decision when the time comes.

What is the county staff role in the application process?

I have had a lot of interaction with county staff through emails, phone calls and meetings.  I find the staff to be very customer oriented, very professional, courteous and willing to help in any way.  The staff have a very difficult job in my opinion.  Whatever they feel inside, they must remain neutral.  The application process is defined by law and no one in the county has the option to deny an application from going through the defined process.  If the applicant wants to take it all the way to the BCC for a vote they have that option.  The staff can recommend denial but in the end the BCC makes the decision.  If the staff recommends transmittal then it is purely based on consistency with the Comprehensive Plan.  The staff looks at a boat load of criteria that has to be met and if every one is checked off then they find the application consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and will recommend transmittal.  Recommending transmittal means it will go before the BCC for a vote for transmittal.  This means the applications can move to the next step which is Adoption.  If I were to sum up the role of the Orange County staff, it would be this statement that was told to me by one of the county staff.  She said, “we are the guardians of the residents”.  I liked that and I do believe this is their function and their job.  I will say that the signing of the bill by the governor in 2011 made their job much harder and easier for developers to get developments through the system.  But in the end they have to perform their job as defined and required by law.

Will the Woodbury extension be built?

Good question. First, only if the developments are approved.  Without developer money it will never be built because the county doesn’t have the money to build it.  Let’s establish that fact first.  In fact if the developments are not approved you can say goodbye to any road improvements whatsoever as there is no money for road improvements and our roads are not even on the project chart or way down the list.  And with this recent vote at MetroPlan, it will be even harder to get funding.  Watch the video above to get the details.

Woodbury extension

Woodbury extension

The Woodbury extension is a new road that would go from the corner of Lake Pickett and Percival over to Woodbury and Challenger Pkwy.  I think there is a very slim chance this will occur even if the developments are approved.  This is based on a couple of facts.  Eminent Domain would have to be used to buy houses and property to build the road.  This is very expensive and a ball park estimate would be something around 20+ million for this road which includes buying property.  I seriously doubt there is enough money being contributed by the applicants to pay for this road as well as all the other improvements necessary  Let’s add things up.  20 million for Woodbury, 15 million for Lake Pickett, 10 million for 419, 10 million for McCulloch.  We are at 55 million and that doesn’t even touch Hwy 50 which is a state road.  Originally the developers were going to put in about 55 million but that was at higher densities than they have now so let’s say at the density they have now I would estimate 35 million.  There is just not enough money to do all the work that needs to be done.  Seeing Woodbury is so expensive and this idea very much disliked by the residents, I would think it might go by the wayside but the traffic presentation in a couple of weeks should reveal what the most likely course will be.

Will McCulloch be 4 laned?

McCulloch is a hot potato.  It is on then it is off.  About 15-20 years ago the county was going to 4 lane McCulloch from Dean all the way over to N. Tanner but the residents close to McCulloch and Rouse raised such a fuss that it was killed and in fact put on a “do not touch” list forever.  It is still on the list even though it is on another list that says it should be 4 laned.  As of right now it is untouchable.  It will not be improved in any way.  I can say for sure that the bridge across the Econ will not happen any time soon.  That has been verified many times by county staff, our commissioner, the developers and just about anyone else I ask.  That is off the table for now.  But 4 laning McCulloch from Lockwood to N. Tanner is sort of on and off.  Right now it is a no go but may be back on the table with the traffic study that is underway now.  In any case, we will know soon enough what the recommendation will be when Orange County staff completes their study.  My best guess will be it will be 4 laned.

Will Lake Pickett be 4 laned?

Again, it depends on if these developments go in.  If the developments don’t happen, forget it.  There is no money to do it.  If the developments go in then my very clear vision tells me it will be 4 laned as shown on the diagram above.  It has to be to support the traffic from LPN.  There is just no other way to move traffic effectively to the west from LPN.

 Will 419 be 4 laned?

Again, it depends on if these developments go in.  If the developments don’t happen, forget it.  There is no money to do it.  But as Renzo Nastasi said in the May 12th meeting, it will only be 4 laned from Lake Pickett to Hwy 50.  It will not be 4 laned from Lake Pickett to the county line.

Will Hwy 50 be 6 laned?

In time regardless of the developments.  Construction is already underway from Dean to Old Cheney which also includes the bridge across the Econ.  The bridge will be stripped for 4 lanes but will be built to handle 6 lanes so when the time comes it is ready.  From Old Cheney to 520 is on the books to be done but currently unfunded so without these developments it is a long way off but at some point will be done.  LPS has said they will front the money to 6 lane Hwy 50 from Old Cheney to 419 to accommodate their development.  When I say front I mean loan the money to the state which will be paid back at some future date.

Will traffic ever be fixed out here?

My crystal ball tells me no in no uncertain terms if the developments are killed.  If the developments do go in then it is questionable if there will be enough money to really make a difference.  Again, we need to wait for the traffic study in a couple weeks.  The cold hard facts are that Orange County doesn’t have any money to fix the roads and are turning to the only source they can to get money to build roads which is developers.  Here is how it works whether we like it or not and when I say we I mean everyone including Orange County staff, the BCC and even the developers themselves.  In this case the developers are being squeezed for every dollar that can possible come from them because Orange County knows how bad our traffic problem is and wants to fix it.

With the MetroPlan Board vote explained above we are in for a hard road.  The only other option is a tax.  Usually this is a 1 cent tax for a period of time but there are issues that go along with this.  The biggest one being trust.  If the taxes are collected how do we know our roads will be fixed and not spent on another part of the county.  And politicians know they are not very popular and have traditionally shied away from this tax.  It may be our only option out of this but it must be done in such a way that the roads the taxes are used on are clearly defined.

What does Seminole County think of all this?

Seminole County is very concerned with these developments.  They want to remain rural in this area.  There was a request by Seminole County to enter into a joint agreement of some sort with Orange County that did not materialize.  View this video with Brenda Carey who is one of the Commissioners from Seminole County speaking about this at the Expressway Authority meeting.  I think it sums up what Seminole County is thinking.

Orange County Comprehensive Plan Amendment Schedule

Orange County Comprehensive Plan Amendment Schedule

What happens on July 28th?

Maybe nothing if the deadline for the traffic study is not met.  You can see the timeline on the right.  We are in the community meeting part of the process and there is a traffic study from LPS that Orange County (OC) is waiting for.  If the traffic study doesn’t come in time, there is a chance this will have to be pushed off to the next cycle.  I don’t think LPS wants to wait so they will do all they can to get the traffic study to OC.  But then staff has to review both LPN and LPS traffic studies and combine them into their traffic study to see if they can work.  If they don’t feel it can adequately accomodate the traffic problems then they won’t recommend transmittal.  This doesn’t mean the applications won’t go forward.  The applicant themselves can force them forward without the consent of OC staff.  If that happens the applications go to the LPA (Local Planning Agency) for review and approval or denial to go to the BCC.  Even if the LPA denies the applications they can proceed to the BCC for approval or denial.  The BCC can then approve or deny the applications for transmittal and this happens on July 28th.

Application Process

Application Process

What is transmittal?

Transmittal means the applications can enter the Adoption phase where the real work begins.  This is where all of the different agencies get involved to ensure the developments meet their requirements.  This includes agencies such as OCPS, Police, Fire, St. Johns and a myriad of other agencies.  Each agency will look at the developments and make comments in their area of expertise.  These comments go to staff and are compiled for the second go around. More community meetings but with much more detail and another vote by the BCC at a future date.

I hope this gives you some idea of what is going to happen and standing up in a meeting and just saying we don’t want these developments is not quite so simple.  What is being heard is you want things to stay the same and you don’t want traffic fixed.  That is what will happen.  Orange County will hear loud and clear that you don’t want the developments and therefore you don’t want the traffic fixed. I don’t think that is what most people really want but that will be the end result, no fix for traffic.

I am just looking at this in a very pragmatic way.  I am not behind the developer or the county or the residents or a faction such as SOC who strictly wants no change to the area which translates to no change to the roads.  If that is what you want then be content sitting in traffic and be prepared to sit longer and longer as each day passes and the years go by.  If you want traffic fixed then think about what has been written in this post.

My position is this.  If these developers can help solve our traffic problem with the county and perhaps some other innovative ideas then I am all for and even a one cent gas tax if that means fixing our roads.  But if these developments only add more traffic to our already congested roads then it is not a good option.  I will trust the traffic experts at Orange County to come up with the right answers and do what they are supposed to do which is work for us.

I will be posting an email I sent to Orange County with a plan that I think will work.  Keep in mind I am not a traffic expert and am only looking at this from what I know.  I have already received some not so positive feedback on my ideas but that is exactly what we need to hear, the truth.  We need to know what we are up against so we can work to fix it.

If you got down this far in this blog it must mean you are interested enough in these issues. I would encourage everyone to go to this next meeting with an open mind and not look on anyone as “the bad guy”. I think we are all in this together and it is together that we will come to a solution.

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Orange County Community Meeting

5/8/2015 – What I know as of this time about the Lake Pickett Text Amendments

I have had several emails and conversations regarding the Lake Pickett Properties so I thought I would bullet point the latest info.

Traffic Questions:

  • Question:  Traffic on McCulloch is the worst it has been and increasing every day. From my point of view I see these developments adding to the problem and creating a gridlock earlier in time. What is the plan to reduce the traffic on McCulloch?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      Traffic on McCulloch cannot be reduced but can be accommodated/managed better.  A potential approach could be to widen McCulloch to a four lane section (where two lanes currently exist).  The widening will have a positive effect in managing traffic on that road – however, the Board will have to amend the Comp Plan to do so.  To be clear, the improvements would entail the widening of the existing two lane section and not extending the road eastward.  Short of widening, a series of intersection/signal improvements may have a positive effect in managing traffic.
  • Question:  Hwy 50 from Avalon Park Blvd to Alafaya is a parking lot during rush hour. From my point of view these developments will only add to this gridlock. What is the plan to handle the 9 light problem on Hwy 50?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      SR 50 extending from east of Dean Road to east of Old Cheney is currently under construction by the FDOT and is scheduled to be complete in September of 2016. The widening to six lanes should alleviate much of the traffic delay currently being experienced on that section. There are no plans to remove any signals since each one was warranted. Signals are being coordinated during the construction phases to the best extent possible – however, coordination should be more effective once construction is complete.
  • Question:  We have heard that the Expressway Authority is in the midst of a traffic study to extend the 408, do you have an update and what affect it will have on these developments?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      The Expressway has initiated a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study to extend SR 408 from its current terminus to SR 520.  An evaluation of the effect of this road will have on the existing and future development/traffic will be addressed within the context of the PD&E and future traffic and revenue studies to be completed be the Expressway Authority. 
  • Question:  At a meeting with staff recently a map was shown with road failures that did not seem accurate and a question was raised regarding the latest traffic study. When was the latest official traffic study done for these roads by Orange County and if not when is one planned?  Shouldn’t we know the impact to the roads before transmittal?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      Orange County undertakes annual traffic counts on the county roadway system as well as selected state roads. The traffic counts are in part used to determine level of service/capacity evaluations based on the characteristics of individual roadways. Traffic counts conducted by the County are taken at various counting stations along individual roads. The Lake Pickett North applicant, as part of their traffic analysis (for Lake Pickett Road and Chuluota Road) has submitted traffic counts taken at additional locations other than those completed by the County. Therefore, according to the applicant, the additional data derived from the supplemental counts indicate that sections of both Lake Pickett Road and Chuluota Road do not currently fail. The County in turn is assessing the submitted data to determine the validity of the information provided to us.

      In short, the issue has to do with additional traffic counts producing differing results than those completed by the County’s annual traffic count program. The intent of the traffic studies for both applicants is to determine the impacts to the roadway network should one or both developments proceed – hence, impacts to the network associated with these developments should be available prior to transmittal.

Econ Questions:

  • Question:  What does St. Johns Water Management say about this development?
    • Answer from Orange County: 
      Should the Commission select to approve Transmittal; the District will receive a copy of the package for review and comment.
  • Question: What is the effect to Seminole County seeing the Econ River flows into Seminole County on its way to the St. Johns
    • Answer from Orange County: 
      Several criteria are in place and will need to be met to assure no adverse effect takes place on the Econ or other regulated water body. The applicant is required to secure the services of a professional engineer to acquire permits addressing stormwater management, alteration of surface water flow and maintenance of surface water quality throughout and after completion of site activity. State regulations are very specific and require both the water budget and water quality be preserved.
      Included in the policies proposed for Pickett is a requirement to include a Stormwater Master Plan within the required Master Infrastructure Plan. Additional information and requirements may be found here:
      The projects’ location within the Econlockhatchee River Basin requires additional precautions and scrutiny by the County and others as demonstrated by the Orange and Seminole County regulations previously forwarded.

      Additionally, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will receive a copy should the Commission choose to approve Transmittal.
  • Question:  What about the four legged inhabitants that are on this land? Where will they go when they are pushed out of their homes?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      Several criteria are in place and will need to be met to assure the habitat and the viability and biodiversity of plants and wildlife is retained.

      The Applicants are required to complete and submit a Conservation Area Determination (CAD) to the OC Environmental Protection Division as part of the application for development process. Lake Pickett North currently has a CAD on file. The CAD identifies areas, such as the extent of wetlands, which need to be preserved to retain ecological viability. The T-1 Transect was recommended and has been included in the proposed policies to map and protect areas to be set aside for conservation.
      Additionally, the proposed Lake Pickett Comp Plan policies require the preservation of wildlife corridors to facilitate migration between on and off-site habitats. Both of the current proposals retain significant acreage for conservation and open space.
  • Question:   Are there any endangered species with their homes on this land?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      As I previously mentioned and as the following sites state, without a site-specific survey any information presented is speculative.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will receive a copy for review and comment should the Commission choose to approve Transmittal.
      The following links contain the species lists and information regarding habitat where listed species have been identified or where conditions favorable for their occupancy have been noted.
      If you have additional questions, please contact Elizabeth Johnson, Environmental Programs Administrator, OC Environmental Protection Division at (407) 836-1511, . 
  • Question:  What about the environmentally sensitive nature of the Econ basin?  How will this be preserved if these developments are built?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      Environmental protection is included in the previously discussed criteria.

School Questions:

  • Question:  I seem to remember that the concept plans for these developments only show 2 elementary schools for the whole development.  That just doesn’t seem like it would accommodate a development of this size.  Has a school study been done to determine how many schools are needed and space set aside inside these developments to account for this increase?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      We looked at the Lake Pickett South and North projects together and determined that one elementary school should be sufficient.  We also need a middle school, although the developments together will not fill an entire middle school.
      Level                     Single Family       Multi Family        Mobile HomesElementary         0.196                        0.137                      0.149

      Middle                  0.100                        0.057                      0.068

      High                       0.134                        0.065                      0.071

      Total                        0.431                       0.259                      0.287

  • Question:  We just went through 3 major re-zoning situations (West Windermere, Wedgefield and Avalon) that were very hard for certain people including the BCC.  The mayor expressed her frustration over poor planning by OCPS when hundreds of blue and orange shirts showed up at the meeting.  What steps are being taken to prevent this if these developments are built?
    • Answer from Orange County:
      OCPS works closely with developers through their approval process to establish a plan for mitigation (a Capacity Enhancement Agreement) and we do a second review (Concurrency) before they plat. 

Concept Plan Presentation at the 4/28/2015 community meeting:

  •  This is a proposed change to the Comprehensive Plan initiated by the owners of the land.
    • Lake Pickett South (LPS) which is now called “The Grow” is proposed south of Lake Pickett and north of Hwy 50 as shown in this photo.

      LPN and LPS Location Map

      LPN and LPS Location Map

    • The 5/12/2015 notice says 2,961 residential dwelling unit and 237,000 sq. ft. of non-residential uses.
    • Dwight Saathoff, the applicant, says the latest is 2,256 residential dwelling unit and 237,000 sq. ft. of non-residential uses.  This should be announced at the next meeting.
    • There are several land owners as shown below:

      Land Owners for Lake Pickett South - The Grow

      Land Owners for Lake Pickett South – The Grow

    • This is the conceptual site plan:
      The Grow conceptual site plan

      The Grow conceptual site plan


    • Lake Pickett North (LPN) which is now called “Sustany” is proposed north of Lake Pickett and south of the Seminole County line shown in the photo above.
    • The 5/12/2015 notice says 1,999 residential dwelling unit and no non-residential uses.
    • The applicant is listed as Sean Froelick on the Community Meeting notice.
    • This is the conceptual site plan:

      Sustany conceptual site plan

      Sustany conceptual site plan

    • This is the applicants road network solution in East Orange County.
      Note:  This is straight from the applicant slides shown at the 4/28/2015 meeting and is NOT proposed or accepted by Orange County.

      Applicant - LPN - idea to help solve the traffic problem in East Orange County

      Applicant – LPN – idea to help solve the traffic problem in East Orange County

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