12/3/2015 – Email to the Rural Boundary Work Group – Charter Review Committee

Today I sent an email to the Charter Review Committee and Rural Boundary Work Group which was appointed by the Charter Review Committee to look into protection of the rural area.  The letter is below.

I would encourage anyone who has strong feeling about protecting the Econ River Basin to do the same and send an email in your own words as to why we should protect this area.  Email . with your comments.  The next meeting will be on Thursday, 12/10/2015, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM at Wekiva High School – Media Center 2751 N. Hiawassee Road Apopka, Florida if you want to make public comment on this subject.

The work group is looking for guidance on what we want so here it is in one simple sentence:

“Any re-zoning East of the Econ must be approved through a unanimous vote of the Board of County Commissioners.”

That’s it.  If we can get this into the charter the land east of the Econ will be protected.

Here is my email:

From: rj@rjmueller.net [mailto:rj@rjmueller.net]

Sent: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 10:54 AM
To: ‘Charter’
Subject: Please forward to CRC members regarding Rural Boundary as well as the Rural Boundary work group

Honorable Charter Review Commission,

Several times in both the last Charter Review Commission meeting and the Work group meeting commissioners asked the public what we want when it comes to protecting the rural boundary.

I can’t speak for anyone else but what I want is very simple.  I want “A unanimous vote of the BCC for any zoning changes East of the Econ”.

Please review this video to see maps and other information that I can’t easily convey by email.  Please excuse the amateur way it is put together.   It just conveys the points. (https://youtu.be/Fca5cO0DzTg)

I have lived out in East Orange County since 1993 and have seen a lot of changes.  I have also been heavily involved in the fights over the Lake Pickett developments.  Three times ago I was completely against the developments.  Not because I am anti-development but because there was no plan at all to ensure the infrastructure was in place to support the developments.  I think everyone is very aware of the traffic issues in East Orange County.  The next time, I was neither for or against the developments but saw an opportunity to get the roads funded through assistance from the developers.

But now some events have occurred to make me rethink my position once again.

Road challenges:

  • I was under the impression that the county was in desperate need of roadway funding until I heard the mayor speak to you a couple of meetings ago.  She stated that Orange County does not have a funding issue with the roads and there is enough money to take us through the next 10 years.  I was shocked to hear this as that is not my impression at all especially with the road issues we have and as evident by a presentation Mr. Nastasi gave to the board a few months ago showing a 1.6 billion deficit for road repairs.
  • These comments threw the Sales Tax work group into confusion as evident by comments from one commissioner.  At the next meeting Commissioner Brummer abruptly stated that the work group ended without an explanation.  On listening to the audio I heard no explanation either which leaves one to his own thoughts.
  • I respect and admire the BCC for the work they do so please don’t take these words negatively.  It does seem as though there is some difference of opinion on the subject of road funding as evident by Commissioner Edwards comments at the last meeting.  If the mayor says we have road funding then my conclusion is there is no real need for developer money to fund roadways.
  • Other factors are at play that help the roadways:
    • The INVEST program has 28 million allocated to the roadways in East Orange County which will help the county roads
    • Hwy 50 is being 6-laned from Dean Road to the Bridge – this will help short-term
    • A study is underway by CFX to extend the 408 to 520 – this will help long-term if approved
    • A study will be performed by MetroPlan next year on this area to determine needs and funding which could help Orange County.

Recent changes in our environment:

  • The area east of the Econ lies between the Econlockhatchee River and the St. Johns River and is the Econlockhatchee Protection Area as labeled on a presentation done by Mr. Vargas about a year ago.  Please review the presentation as it has very pertinent information related to this subject.  Here is the link:  http://www.fixmyroadway.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/OC_Context_Presentation_ULI_Conservation_Communities-Final.pdf
  • This is also known as the Econ River Basin which is a wildlife corridor.
  • Wildlife have moved into our sub-divisions.  I live in University Estates on McCulloch Road:
    • In the 23 years I have lived here, I never heard about bear until just a couple months ago and there have been multiple sightings.
    • Our deer population has doubled in just the last year or two
    • Animals are being hit by cars much more frequently
  • These are signs that wildlife is running out of room to live and we are on a collision course with nature.
  • What confirmed this was a public comment made by a gentleman to the Seminole County BCC just a little while ago.  He conveyed his experience over the years and it reinforced everything I am seeing.  It was very sad.  I sent you the link already and hope you had a chance to view it but if not, here is the video link:  https://youtu.be/bitqAEL9Czs

I firmly believe every land owner has a right to go through the process of re-zoning as defined by the law and in a way this has held me back from opposing development as it is part of our American dream.  However, nothing says the process has to remain as is and when Attorney Voss explained what Sarasota was doing, it felt right.  I think it is highly appropriate that considering how vital this area is to the well-being of not only the animals but us too, it is not out of the question to ask that the voting structure be changed for this area.

I want “A unanimous vote of the BCC for any zoning changes East of the Econ”, plain and simple.  I know this is a long email with a lot of information but this is a very important subject and I think you need as much information and facts as possible.   I hope to see you on Thursday evening.


RJ Mueller




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Posted in McCulloch Road.