7/13/2015 – Will the Board of County Commissioners pass the Lake Pickett Text Amendment

In order to predict if the Board of County Commissioner (BCC) will pass the Lake Pickett text amendment, we have to explore why the Planning and Zoning Commission (PNZ (also known as Local Planning Agency -LPA)) passed the text amendment to change the Comprehensive Plan (CP) and then passed both applications unanimously.

Down below read about the biggest concern if the text amendment is approved!

BCC meeting date – 28th

Before we explore why the LPA passed the text amendment, here is what is coming up on July 28th.

At 2 pm on 7/28 there will be a Board of County Commissioner (BCC) meeting to decide if the Lake Pickett text amendment will be approved or denied for “TRANSMITTAL”.

There are 3 votes that will take place.

  • Approve/Deny the text amendment to change the Comprehensive Plan (CP)

If the Text Amendment is approved the door opens that allows the applications votes to take place.  If the text amendment is not approved, the applications will not move forward.

  • Approve/Deny Lake Pickett South application
  • Approve/Deny Lake Pickett North application

As you can clearly see the most important vote is the text amendment and even though I spoke in favor of the text amendment passing there two main flaws in it that need to be fixed and one to me is a huge concern as explained below.

Let me go through some of the arguments I have heard opposing the text amendment and why the BCC will most likely not seriously consider some of them.

“We moved here with the understanding that this land is zoned one house per 10 acres and we demand it remain one house per 10 acres.”

The BCC cannot accept this as a reason because as one of the Planning and Zoning Commissioner (PNC) said, the CP is changed all the time through the re-zoning process.  It is what the BCC does.  Their main job is to manage land use and a change to the CP is a common occurance.  If this is your argument, you need to understand that the BCC cannot accept it as a valid reason.  Every land owner including yourselves have the right to re-zone your property or make changes to it providing it is approved through the re-zoning process.  The process decides if it will be approved or denied but using the claim that the CP cannot be changed and should remain cemented in stone is not a valid argument.  Review these video clips to hear the PNC Commissioners explain the process.  There is nothing written anywhere that a land owner can prevent another land owner from developing their land just because they don’t want it developed.

View this video as Commissioner Baldocchi explains how the CP is changed.
View this video that supports changing the CP – start at minute 1:30.
View this video to hear the discussion on density – 1 house per 10 acres.

The one PNZ commissioner who voted against the text amendment did so reluctantly as he clearly explains why a text amendment as well as the application will most likely be approved.  He did vote “no” to the text amendment but did vote  “yes” to the applications which seemed a bit strange ??.

View the video clip showing the commissioner explain.

“We want the county roads to remain rural and not be changed.”

At the last community meeting which was all about traffic, a presentation was made by Mr. Nastasi who explained that by 2030 all of the county roads in this area will be over-capacity with or without these communities.  I was amazed at how people in the room either didn’t believe what he was saying or just chose to ignore it.  It was a classic example of emotion ruling logic.  While emotion is powerful, we are now at a point that logic will overrule emotion because the BCC has no choice but to consider ways to fix the roads.  They must maintain the roads at a certain LOS (Level of Service).  Review these video clips to hear the PNC Commissioners talk about traffic.

View this video as a PNZ commissioner explains why.
Another PNZ commissioner talks about traffic being huge.
Hwy 50 cannot be expanded over 6 lanes.
Roads have been neglected for a long time.

In the second video clip, the commissioner states that “if Mr. Nastasi says the delta is closed”, she is referring to having enough money to fund the roads.  I firmly believe that Orange County will not approve these developments if the money is not secured to fix the roads.   I believe that Commissioner Edwards will not make an approval motion unless he is 100% confident the roads will be fixed with the money from these properties and any other funding sources he and staff can find.  I believe the fate of these developments rests on fixing the roads.  If the developers cannot come up with enough money to fix the roads, these applications will not move forward.  At this point in time, the county is trying to put together a “Term Sheet” also known as a “Road Agreement” to fix the roads.  I have heard that Commissioner Edwards is working very hard on this to ensure the money for the roads is secured.  If there is one commissioner who I would want on my side it would be the “2010 Real Estate Lawyer of the Year”.  And guess who that is.  yes, our commissioner, Commissioner Edwards.  We have a built in lawyer working for us.

Traffic problems is what we were all screaming about for years and what the county is focused on fixing.

I believe the only valid reason to oppose this text amendment and the only one that will stop it would be not securing enough money to fix the traffic problems.

“We will vote you out if you don’t do what we say, we elected you and we will un-elect you.”

Every politician has to be concerned about votes and popularity with his/her constituents.  At the same time, he/she has to do his/her job and weigh the needs of the few against the needs of the many.  He/she must also weigh what people are really concerned about.

There have been many petitions gathered and many people attending meetings but what motivated those people to sign the petitions and attend meetings.  Was it to maintain the rural lands or is it because of the traffic concerns.  If signs are any indication they all echo the fear of 15,000 more cars on the road and none even mention maintaining the rural lands so it would seem traffic is the motivation.  Constant and repetitive images of traffic jams and cars piled up on one another is a very real motivator.

Each commissioner will have to decide if people are signing petitions because they want the rural land preserved or if they are upset over traffic and wants the roads fixed.  The last community meeting was very emotional and was motivated entirely by traffic concerns.  That meeting became hostile at times and almost abusive filled with emotion all because of traffic.  The previous meeting was also emotional as everyone expected that traffic was going to be discussed and when it was not, everyone was very upset.

TRAFFIC! Want more cars -sign the petition

TRAFFIC! images of traffic jams and cars

The question is does the BCC focus on fixing the traffic problems so people can travel the roads or do they back off to preserve the rural lands and allow the roads to become increasingly congested and go into over-capacity.  We will know on the 28th.

TRAFFIC! 15000 more vehicles

What is my biggest concern?

I am very concerned that the text amendment will pass “AS IS”.  For the most part it is fine but it has two very glaring flaws that must be addressed.  I hear there is another draft coming out soon.

  • Buffers are not really buffers in LPS (Lake Pickett South).
    The perceived buffer on S. Tanner is actually part of one acre lots which is really not an actual buffer.  According to the map it is T2 which allows a density of 2 units per acre.  What is to stop the developer from switch out the one acre lots for 2 units per acre down the road if the text amendment is approved.  I would like to see a true 100 foot T1 buffer all the way down S. Tanner.  View this video clip to see what PNC Commissioner Demostene says about the buffers.
  • No cap on density – this is the big one!
    I don’t know if it is possible and am trying to understand this issue but I would very much like to see a cap on density inside the text amendment.  My concern is that the text amendment will be approved and the applications will not.  Even if the applications are approved, nothing stops the applicants from pulling them back.  I am concerned that because there is no density cap, the applicants can come back with higher density that fits the Transect Plan.  All that is required by the text amendment is the following:
  • T1 – natural, undeveloped.
  • T2 – allows 2 units per acre
  • T3 – allows 5 units per acre
  • T4 – allows 12 units per acre

While I still support the text amendment it doesn’t mean we don’t have issues that need to be ironed out and locked down.  And if the traffic issue is not fully addressed then there is not point in passing the text amendment or the applications.




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Posted in McCulloch Road.