In May, the Florida League of Women Voters voted unanimously to endorse the Floridians for Solar Choice ballot initiative, which “removes a government‐created barrier to customers’ right to buy solar energy, so solar can compete in the market against other forms of energy.” Since that time, a competing initiative has been promoted, which restricts consumer rights. Follow this link to learn what the Floridians for Solar Choice initiative does, and does not do, then sign the petition and share it with your neighbors and friends.
The LWV Seminole September Hot Topics covers the highly charged subject of “Campus Carry.” Both of the speakers will present a strong case against this proposed law.
Former Orlando police chief Paul Rooney currently serves as Valencia College’s assistant vice president for safety, security and risk management. Before coming to Valencia College, Rooney, served as Orlando’s police chief for three years.
“I’ve said I’m leaving the best police department in the country to go to the best college in the country and I mean that,” said Rooney, who started work on Feb. 24. One of his goals is to coordinate training events with local police departments on each campus, so that police officers responding to a crisis are familiar with the campus facilities and Valencia’s security team. In addition, he plans to examine communications and the college’s alerts system, which is used to communicate with students, faculty and staff during emergencies. He’ll also study the current lighting and parking lots on Valencia’s campuses.
“At the end of the day,” Rooney said, “we want to create the best, safest environment for students, so they can go to class or walk to the parking lots without worry.”
Patti grew up in Orlando and attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in Liberal Studies. After several years atWe Care, Inc., a suicide prevention/crisis intervention center, Patti forged a career in radio with responsibilities as a reporter, writer and producer. During this time she was recognized with several awards from media organizations including American Women in Radio and Television and the Associated Press. She also worked as a freelance reporter for the Orlando Weekly, writing about the arts.
Patti formed the League’s statewide Gun Safety Committee, which she chairs. She serves on the LWVOC board and is an active participant of the Membership Committee. In her spare time, Patti volunteers for a marathon training program and cares for her two retired racing greyhounds, Merlin and Cassie, who are the faster runners in the family.
The Status of the SC Urban/Rural Boundary, presentation by BCC Chairman, Brenda Carey
County Commission Chairman, Brenda Carey began her presentation on Urban/Rural Boundaries by reviewing the time table of public initiative that put our current land use plan in place.
In 1971 the first zoning rules were written for Seminole County
In 1988 the Seminole County BCC adopted the first SC Comprehensive Plan & Land Use Map
In 1994 citizens amended the Comprehensive Land Use Plan which requires county approval of land-use changes in an identified “rural area” even if the property is annexed into a city.
In 2004 citizens voted to support the Home Rule Charter Amendment encoding the Rural Boundary Map
Although the comprehensive plan can be changed by a vote of the SCBCC, currently no one on the board wants to change it. Carey believes that transitional zoning should be used to buffer between urban and rural boundaries. She further believes that it may now need to be applied on the “rural” side of some boundary lines, simply because development has been authorized by other authorities that bring urban development directly to the border.
Carey drew a comparison between successful and unsuccessful use of transitional zoning in the developments around Lake Mary Boulevard.
A number of years ago a plan to develop acreage on the west side of I-4 was proposed. Jeno Paulucci, who owned the property, asked the SCBCC to approve the development of 20 acres encircling a pond, with the understanding that he would give the remainder of the property to the county for a park. The board looked favorably at the plan; however the objections of a nearby homeowner’s association caused the board to vote against the plan. Later, when the property came on the market for subdivision development, the commission approached the developer and requested that the plans for a park and lake be resubmitted, but the developer was unwilling to reconsider. The development went through with higher density and without the buffer the park/lake plan would have provided.
More recently, the Steeplechase development was approved on the southwestern side of Lake Mary Boulevard and I-4 using transitional zoning. The development was approved to allow 1 unit per acre around the perimeter and higher density in the interior, providing transition between neighboring communities.
She also spoke about CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) activities which have encouraged the redevelopment of 1792 as the county core, taking into account that redevelop will require that the small platted lots are bundled into usable parcels suitable for urban redevelopment and growth. She mentioned three examples of recently approved “in-fill” developments; the “Flea World” property, the “Oxford Road” area, and the “JaiLai” fronton area.
Carey agreed that Seminole County residents are looking with alarm at the new developments in east Orange County. Lake Pickett North and Lake Pickett South, currently under consideration by Orange County, could radically change the character of the southern boundaries of Seminole County.
Carey spoke about how she and the SCBCC monitor proposed developments, Orange County’s responses, and the decisions of the commissioners. So far Lake Pickett South has been approved, Lake Pickett North has not been approved; the developer withdrew his proposal because he realized it was likely to fail. Had the project been voted down, county rules require a 1-year wait before the developer could resubmit a plan.
Carey mentioned “How Shall We Grow,” (HSWG) the regional plan, developed a number of years ago, with the participation of Orange County, and designed to protect natural resources yet allow development and urban infill to occur. She noted that in the end, only Seminole County adopted the principles of the plan, which states that we will maintain “green as green”, “urban as urban.” She suggested that there should be a joint planning district for county boundaries.
Carey offered the Joint Planning Agreement with Oviedo as an example of the problems with rural boundaries. The City of Oviedo approved multi-home lots all the way up to the boundary, while the rural boundary rules allow only 5 acre lots across the road. This makes the owners of those lots uncomfortable; they begin to want to move out and sell, and upsell to smaller lots. This creates conflicts and pressure on the rural boundary.
Carey has met with Mayor Jacobs about a number of shared interests; such as development, transportation, etc, and has suggested transitional boundaries. Currently the counties work together on transportation, storm water & other issues.
In light of recent Orange County developments, SCBCC has written a letter to Mayor Jacobs pointing out that although the HSWG plan has not been adopted by Orange County; both counties had agreed they would abide by those rules. Some Orange County commissioners were upset, suggesting that SCBCC was trying to “govern” for them. Unlike Seminole County, in which all commissioners represent all of Seminole County, thus protecting residents from a single member’s authority on any issue, Orange County is structured as sole-representation districts and decisions are influenced by that fact.
Carey closed her presentation by responding to questions on various county issues. The situation between bears and residents received the most attention. Carey detailed her efforts in finding a reasonable, safe and economical solution to the influx of bears in residential communities, and in conclusion, identified public education, better garbage disposal, and the acceptance that we have moved into bear habitat as most relevant to the eventual solution.
Esteemed Florida Legislators:
My name is LaVonne Grayson and I am here today on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Seminole County, an organization that seeks to increase the knowledge and voice of Main Street Florida voters. Nonpartisan throughout our 95 years of existence, the League conducts candidate and issue forums, distributes voter guides, and works to encourage active and informed participation in government.
Today, we are here to advocate on Florida Water Issues.
1- Guiding (Amendment 1 Dollars), 2-Fracking in Florida and 3-the Central Florida Water Initiative, CFWI.
1-AMENDMENT 1- Guiding the use of Land and Water Legacy Funding to appropriate uses
As most of you know, the Florida League worked hard getting Amendment 1 on the 2014 ballot, which resulted in a 75% voter mandate, showing bipartisan support for protecting our environment. The 2015 legislative session was disappointing to Amendment 1 supporters and voters as lawmakers used funds set aside for conservation by the voters of Florida to offset administrative costs of existing state programs. In the coming session, we would like to see the legislature set environmental priorities more in line with those expressed by Florida voters.
2-FRACKING IN FLORIDA
The Florida League has taken a position opposing any fracking in our state. Three areas have been under scrutiny for fracking, including parts of SW FL, an area in the panhandle, and the Lake Wales Ridge. Florida’s environment and water supply are too fragile to imperil from fracking. Aside from the potential threat to our water supply, in part due to our unique aquifers, the quantities of water required in the fracking process are enormous. Further, waste water produced would be difficult to dispose of safely. Other states have seemingly suffered enormous consequences as a result of fracking.
3- CENTRAL FLORIDA WATER INITIATIVE (CFWI)
With central Florida growing rapidly, the water management districts have come up with an initiative to plan for our increased water demands through 2035. The Leagues in central Florida have been active in following the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI), covering Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Polk and southern Lake Counties. We are awaiting results of the comments submitted to see what is drafted by the Water Management districts included in the initiative (St. Johns River Water Management District, Southwest Florida WMD and the South Florida WMD). It is our hope that conservation will be a key component in any plan put forward.
Central Florida’s rivers, lakes and springs represent some of our most precious and fragile resources. The LWV is deeply committed to protecting our environment. With an improved economy, we must ensure that there is adequate regulation, oversight and accountability to ensure that both our water needs and way of life are protected.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
LaVonne W. Grayson
President, League of Women Voters Seminole
Over the weekend member Desta Horner was interviewed on Channel 9’s “Central Florida Spotlight”, speaking about climate change and the effects it will have on Florida in the future. The segment begins at 10:30 on this video.
The Oviedo City Council believes the city needs more commercial projects to lessen the tax burden on residents. Mayor Dominic Persampier proposed an idea he believes will deter building residential neighborhoods and encourage building commercial projects. Read about the Oviedo City Council’s plan to stimulate commercial growth here.
LWV Florida, Orange County and Seminole County are closely following the issue of guns on campus. If you would like to view the panel discussions organized by the League and held in Orlando on August 14, 2015, visit our LWVS YouTube channel and select the “Campus Carry” playlists.