What’s Going On?
A local developer wanted to build out land beyond what the County’s comprehensive plan and the voter approved Rural Boundary allowed for.
This builder has an option to buy land on the east side of the Econ River.
The density development of that land is limited by the County’s Comprehensive Plan and the Rural Boundary.
Rather than work within those limitations, the builder petitioned the County Commissioners to approve a huge development that would include hundreds of homes, which was called River Cross. Because this would have been a huge intrusion into the Rural Boundary which would have been a precedence which opened the doors to dozens of other such variances, the community rallied against the proposed development and the County Commissioners rejected it.
Rather than accepting that he would have to follow the Comprehensive Plan and the Rural Boundary, the developer dragged our County into Federal County, claiming that the Rural Boundary violates the Fair Standard Housing Act because it perpetuates segregation.
Trying to leverage that lawsuit to get land which is even more valuable to a developer, the developer is trying to convince the County Commissioners to trade the Econ Wilderness Area for the River Cross land.
The Econ Wilderness Area is owned by Seminole County. It was purchased by the County in 1990 with revenues from a tax which Citizens voted to impose upon themselves in order to purchase natural lands. When the Econ Wilderness Area was purchased with these funds, everyone thought it was preserved in perpetuity. However, if the developer has his way, the Econ Wilderness Area will be flipped from County ownership to his, and he will bulldoze it for more subdivisions and commercial buildings.
We believe this trade would be a betrayal of the Seminole County residents whose tax dollars bought the Econ Wilderness Area, a slap in the face of the Seminole County residents who use and love the Econ Wilderness Area, and would lead to countless more developers playing the same trick this one is trying to.
That would leave no Seminole County park safe from development, and developers can continue to play this same game of buying land in the Rural Boundary, threatening lawsuits, and then acquiring what was park land from Seminole County.
hmmmmmm Let’s make this easy……..er
Your 6 year old KNOWS she cannot GET an ice cream cone for breakfast, but she asks for it anyway and is turned down. So, she asks you for a vat of chocolate INSTEAD, knowing it, too, will be turned down.
THEN, to make amends for what she could not GET, she wants to SWAP what she can’t get, and doesn’t have, for a trip to the PIZZA place, in order to AVOID her pouring soda on the carpet in retaliation. AND she’ll tell all of the neighbors that you’re unfairly denying her food!
Instead of you saying NO outright, and standing your ground as a parent, you say “Well, maybe. I will consider it.” That, at least, stops her from pouring soda on the carpet for right now. That’s just about where we are with this issue.
River Cross sued Seminole County, for what they could not GET BEFORE; so, in amends, River Cross believes they should be entitled to a land swap for the taxpayer owned and funded Econ River Wilderness Park…… ?????
What Happens Now?
Seminole County and the River Cross developer obtained a stay in the lawsuit so that settlement discussions pertaining to swapping the Econ River Wilderness Area could be discussed.
The developer now submits MORE development plans, now this time for the Econ River Wilderness Area, paid for and owned by Seminole County.
Seminole County Commissioners need to turn that down too.
Seminole County doesn’t even need to wait for the plans!
Under the agreement to discuss settlement, the County can pull out of the discussions at any time for any reason. In fact, Seminole County’s case is strong and we need to let the judge dismiss the case on summary judgment or the jury decide in favor of the County.