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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Posted in Charter Review Committee, Lake Pickett Properties.