As you may know, at the April 22 Board of County Commissioners' (BCC) meeting, board members voted 4-3 to reject the tentative settlement agreement agreed upon by representatives of Orange County Government and Orange County Public Schools (OCPS).The intergovernmental dispute resolution process has now come to an end, and the litigation that has been abated to this point will resume. The next step in this process is for the case to move to circuit court where a three-judge panel will determine the outcome of the lawsuit OCPS has filed against Orange County regarding the November special exception vote that denied construction of the school at the Beck site.
In order to successfully file our respose to OCPS lawsuit we seek to raise funds to pay our attorney and other professionals that we might hire. Please click here to visit us on facebook for more information.
Regarding the HW Master Plan:
"Housing will surround these community resources at an overall minimum density of five dwellings per net acre, creating an urban, pedestrian-oriented environment. The amount of housing in each village neighborhood is linked directly to the capacity of the community's schools, establishing schools as community focal points."
An example of this trend are Sunset Park Elementary - it's a public elementary school in Horizon West, that is located on the OPPOSITE side of a major 4 lane highway than the majority of the students attending attending it. Safety and traffic control are a nightmare here!
Currently Windermere Prep. School have to hire Orange County Sheriff's to direct traffic morning and afternoon given their location.
If the first Horizon West high school is approved to be located in the orange grove/field on 535, this will continue this trend. It must stop.
1) The vision of "establishing schools as community focal points" and "creating an urban, pedestrian-oriented environment" would be totally ignored by having the high school in this location.
2) In addition, all of the non-driving students that would live within walking/riding distance would be required to cross a very busy four lane road twice a day.
This would be UNNECESSARILY putting our student's safety at risk by allowing them to cross such a busy intersection. If you didn't already know, CR 535 is a very heavily traveled road by Disney employees as well as area residents headed to the Publix plaza or Winter Garden Village and soon also more traffic will be coming to that intersection to visit the robust commercial center or return home to the future Summerport Village Center under currently construction near the existing Publix plaza.
3) Lastly, this location was purchased by OCPS knowing that it wasn't properly zoned to be used as a public school as it's in a Rural Settlement district - outside of Horizon West (535 is the edge of HW). The residents who live in the rural settlement justifiably expected when they bought, that a school, let alone one with fields and lights, wouldn't be built on that land.
We are all a bit disappointed in the lack of fiscal responsibility shown with tax-payer money, in purchasing that land for
$7.1 million given this fact.
Many of us are in favor of the Tiny Road location that Commissioner Boyd had proposed or the North Of Alberts Property, owned by former Commissioner Fran Pignone. OCPS owns property on Seidel road that is shovel ready and could be built on today.
Keene's Crossing Elementary and Bridgewater Middle School are GREAT examples of public schools that are located strategically to fulfill the Horizon West vision of "an urban, pedestrian-oriented environment". With the new development of Phase 3 in Independence and the connector road opening up on Bridgewater Crossings inside Summerport, the middle school was put in a great location on Tiny Road.
Locating the high school on Tiny Road or North of Alberts, seems like logical choices for a high school given how well they fulfill the Horizon West visions of "establishing schools as community focal points" and "creating an urban, pedestrian-oriented environment".
Many neighbors who have come together as a community to ensure that Horizon West becomes the great place that was envisioned and promised to us - respectfully ask that our Commissioners continue to deny any request from OCPS to rezone the property at CR535 & Ficquette Rd. and consider Tiny Road, North of Alberts and/or any other possible location that WILL fulfill the vision of Horizon West.
It's time that a steward of Horizon West be officially established to more strategically ensure all new development optimally align with the vision planned out for this area.
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