League of Women Voters of Seminole County

Making Democracy Work


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GUNS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – A Dangerous Combination


LWVSC Gun Safety AT presented this panel discussion and program on gun violence as it intersects with domestic violence to an audience drawn from both Seminole and Orange Counties.  The take-away was that when domestic violence and firearms are simultaneously present, statistics show that death rates rise exponentially.

It is also clear that the model of removing a victim from their home and life does nothing to alleviate the danger and turmoil they face, whereas removing, monitoring, and controlling the perpetrator not only protects their current victim, but prevents the recurrence of future victims.   Lives can be saved by instituting better protocols and by revising laws to allow the removal of firearms upon an arrest for domestic violence or when a temporary injunction is imposed.

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HOORAY FOR SEMINOLE COUNTY SCHOOLS!


LWV-Seminole  is very proud of our county’s School District.   SCPS has been awarded straight  As as a district from 2011 through 2015.  Each of our nine high schools is A-rated, and eight of our 12 middle schools earned As.

Thank you, fellow Leaguer and School Board Chairman Karen Almond, for helping us get the word out!

Rachel Castellon, Communications Committee

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SEMINOLE COUNTY COMMISSION BANS FRACKING!


 

 

SEMCO BCC

Speak Up Wekiva, LWV Seminole and LWV Florida Natural Resources Committee who attended, and spoke in support of, the fracking ban.

At the February 9, 2016, Seminole County Board of County Commissioners meeting, the Board unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance to ban fracking in Seminole County. Public comment was in complete support of the ordinance.

Link to the ordinance:


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Council of Local Governments in Seminole County


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On September 2nd, the Council of Local Governments in Seminole County (CALNO) discussed the “Sunshine State Solution,” a push to replace the Florida Standards Assessment with other tests to assess student performance. The meeting minutes can be found here.


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URBAN / RURAL BOUNDARIES


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.


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Watch Party at Rollins College


The Rollins Center for Health Innovation and the Winter Park Health Foundation are pleased to be co-hosting the White House Conference on Aging Watch Party on Monday, July 13th at 8 AM to 4 PM at the Bush Auditorium in the Bush Science Center at the Rollins College campus (please see flyer invitation and press release for more details).

This is a great opportunity to listen to the issues addressed including health, retirement security, elder justice, and long-term services and support. Attendees can share your questions and comments with White House Conference on Aging panelists on aging issues and policies that will be affecting Older Americans for decades to come.

You can come for as long as you like. This is a free event and prior registration isn’t required. Complimentary refreshments and healthy snacks will be available. Breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM at the Bush Café.


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HOW DID SEMINOLE COUNTY STACK UP IN WATER & LAND LEGACY SUPPORT?


Last year’s statewide support for the preservation of our water and land  was overwhelming; the Results By House District released by Florida’s Water and Land Legacy classifies support, district by district.  We, in Seminole County, can pride ourselves for being one of the top boosters, but the work is not jet done; now’s the time to prove our commitment by monitoring the money trail.