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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9/17/2015 – Mark your calendar – October 22nd from 5 pm – 7 pm

East River HIgh School

October 22nd from 5 pm – 7 pm is the SR 408 Extension Project Development and Environment (PD&E)  kickoff meeting at East River High School (Hwy 50 and 419) hosted by the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX).

The purpose of this study is to develop a proposed improvement strategy that is technically sound, environmentally sensitive and publicly acceptable. This study will evaluate strategies to enhance mobility in eastern Central Florida with an expansion of State Road 408 from its current eastern terminus to SR 520 in eastern Orange County.  Read more details here.

I am on the Project Advisory Group (PAG) for the 408 extension and recently attended a meeting hosted by Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX).  The purpose of the meeting was to start the process for the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) phase of the 408 extension out to 520 and to gather feedback from participants that will give CFX some advance knowledge of what would be acceptable to the general public on where and how the expressway should be located and built.  My role on this advisory group is to share the information from the meeting with you.

If you have an opinion and would like to offer your feedback either attend the kickoff meeting and/or email me at .

408 Expansion Corridor Map

In a study conducted in 2008, the optimum corridor was determined to be along Hwy 50 as shown on this map.  A recent followup study was done confirming this is still the optimum corridor.  The scope of this project is 7 miles from the end of 408 to 520.

How the road will be built is still to be determined as we are at the very beginning stage of the PD&E so don’t expect that to be answered in this meeting.  As the study progresses and the planners look closely at the route, they will find the right way to build this road.

We know that even when Hwy 50 is six laned, the road will fail before 2040.  We have all seen the county maps that show over-capacity on most of the roadways out here.  Some county maps we have seen have noted that Hwy 50 has notations that say, “WIDEN 6-10″.  But Hwy 50 cannot be expanded more than 6 lanes so what does that actually mean.  How can there be a note indicating 10 lanes?  It means that somehow additional lanes are needed and the mechanism to achieve this is through parallel alignments.  The 408 extension is the parallel alignment we desperately need to get past the six lane restriction on Hwy 50.  I think we all agree that more lanes are needed to move traffic east-west and the 408 extension is the answer.  I hope you come to the meeting in support of the 408 extension.

CFX Five Year Work Plan

Even though this PD&E is underway, it doesn’t mean the road will be built.  That will depend on funding.  As always, money is an issue.  The 408 extension is competing with other projects.  All projects will not be able to be completed and some will sit on the shelf as the 408 extension has since 2008.

One advantage we have is this project is the only project in PD&E so we are ahead of everyone else.  But even if everything went perfectly, the PD&E stage lasts through 2016 and after that there is 2 years of design (2018) and finally 3 years of constructions taking completion to 2021 and that is best case.  Realistically, my gut feeling tells I would not expect to see the 408 extension completed by 2021 because things never go perfectly, right?

Meanwhile Hwy 50 is being expanded right now and will be six laned out to the bridge across the Econ in 2 years.  This will most certainly help in the short term.  Expanding Hwy 50 from the bridge to 520 is funded FOR DESIGN at this time but construction is currently unfunded so we don’t know when funding will be available.  These projects will have to be considered in the PD&E study and how all the puzzles fit together.

We are all aware of the developments out on Lake Pickett and there are people split for and against.  But however you feel on that issue, one common ground I think we all have is the main arterial roads need to be strengthened meaning Hwy 50 and the 408.  I hope you come to the meeting knowing the 408 extension will relieve the congestion on Hwy 50 and dramatically reduce commute times.  But we have to get it built first.

Please come to the meeting with an open mind, lots of questions but knowing that this is just the beginning and many questions can’t be answered right now.  There will be more public meetings and as the study progresses all the questions will be answered in time.  And of course, I will be posting updates as the project progresses to keep you informed.



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