Petitions

BCC RURAL BOUNDARY AMENDMENT PETITION

Directions: By signing this petition, you are telling Orange County Mayor Demings and District Commissioners, that you would like them to support the 2024 Rural Boundary Charter Amendment. The Charter Amendment would amend our County Constitution to include a rural boundary. The rural boundary would distinguish the difference between the areas where urban services end and rural services begin. Developers that would like to increase the density and intensity of rural land located outside of the urban service area and in the rural service will need a supermajority vote approval. If the County extends the urban service boundary and includes the land the supermajority vote does not apply.

Let the People Decide: Put the Rural Boundary to Vote!

Dear Mayor and Commissioners,

During the June 4, 9 AM BCC meeting you will be discussing the CRC's Rural Boundary initiative. I am writing to request that you vote in favor of the Rural Boundary Charter Amendment Exhibit B. I am asking that you let the people decide if they want a rural boundary added to our Orange County Charter. Put the rural boundary (CRC exhibit B) to vote. As an elected Orange County official, please defend Orange County's citizens' rights to participate in our County Charter Amendment Process. Other counties in FL have rural boundaries (Seminole, Alachua, Pinellas). Their elected officials stood up for their rights. Please do the same for my rights and put the rural boundary on the ballot and let the people decide.

This past legislative cycle, lobbyists and developers intervened and stripped citizens' rights to amend our Orange County Constitution (Charter) by adding an extra sentence to SB1420. The lobbyist firm, Association of FL Community Developers, which represents Tavistock Developers and Suburban Land Reserve (Desseret Ranch), got a senator who does not live in Orange County (Senator Blaise Ingolia of Spring Hill) to amend SB1420 to include language that would stop Orange County's CRC from moving the rural boundary to our November ballots. Senator Linda Stewart of Orange County specifically asked if the SB1420 Amendment would impact any other county besides Orange County. The answer was NO. The amendment would ONLY impact the citizen's of Orange County. In addition, you received a Legal Memo from the Willis Firm. The Willis Firm is the registered lobbyist for McKinnon Groves, LLLP, which is owned by the former District 1 Commissioner and developer, Scott Boyd. Please do not allow a previous Commissioner from nearly a decade ago to influence your ability to represent today's Orange County citizens. Developers' lobbyists specifically manipulated state law to block Orange County citizens. Our only chance to exercise our citizen right to amend our County Charter is now in your control with your vote for the rural boundary.

Please recall, after the passing of SB1420, citizens came in a panic to ask the Mayor and Commissioners to do something to help protect our rights. The citizens were told by Mayor Demings to let the CRC finish their process. The citizens waited. The CRC has finished and determined that the only path forward is for the BCC to put the rural boundary on our November ballots and let the people decide by voting. The CRC's rural boundary final vote to move the boundary to the BCC passed with a vote of 13 in favor and 1 opposed.

During the last meeting, Mayor Demings noted that the Sales Tax Increase held many public meetings to include citizen participation. The rural boundary initiative has done the same. The rural boundary charter amendment was submitted in July 2023. The CRC passed the amendment into subcommittee where it remained for about 6 months. The subcommittee (comprised of 3 attorneys guided also by the CRC attorney) studied the topic, held numerous public meetings each month with public comment to discuss the rural boundary, interviewed OC staff as well as other counties' staff and elected officials that have rural boundaries. The rural boundary amendment was unanimously voted out of subcommittee. It was then read to the full CRC. The full CRC determined that the rural boundary was not yet ready and voted to send the rural boundary back to subcommittee. The boundary remained in subcommittee for about 3 more months. During this time, the subcommittee continued public meetings to amend the rural boundary charter amendment. Per the request of OC staff, all joint planning agreements have been removed from the boundary. The rural boundary had two required readings. The legal language for the ballot is complete. The final report for the Rural Boundary Charter Amendment is complete. The recommendation from the CRC is for the BCC to put the rural boundary on our ballot.

I am requesting that you follow the recommendation of the CRC. The CRC members were appointed by Mayor Demings and the Commissioners to represent citizens' interests. The CRC members have done their due diligence. We know developers' plans. Orlando City is annexing Sunbridge. Next they will annex Desseret Ranch (Suburban Land Reserve). The CFX 2045 Master Plan shows a future toll road connecting the 408 to a new toll road 519 that cuts through Christmas and connects Suburban Land Reserve and Lake Nona. The City will continue annexing rural service land in unincorporated Orange County. The rural boundary charter amendment (Exhibit B) allows the County zoning to remain when rural service land is annexed. The rural boundary will allow the County to have a say when land is annexed and for rural communities and our agricultural industry to have a chance to remain intact. Exhibit B language is similar to the language of the Seminole County rural boundary.

Please stand up for the people of Orange County. Stand up for our rights. Put the rural boundary to vote (Exhibit B) and allow the local people to determine what is best for OUR Orange County. Do not let a Senator from Spring Hill, lobbyists, developers, and a commissioner from a decade ago to determine what THEY want the laws of Orange County to be in order to benefit their special interests.

Thank you for your vote of support in protecting Orange County citizens' rights to amend our County Charter with a rural boundry (exhibit B).
Sincerely,

Sources:
https://www.cfxway.com/master-plan/ (pg. 15)
https://jasongarcia.substack.com/p/lobbyists-for-developers-pushed-florida?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=687064&post_id=144869496&utm_campaign=email-post-title&isFreemail=true&r=nelk&triedRedirect=true&utm_medium=email
https://www.wftv.com/news/local/orange-countys-charter-review-commission-set-vote-amendment-protecting-rural-land/M4QYLNWY2VAXDMCGZOVZNXOSXA/
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/02/29/state-lawmakers-move-to-block-proposed-growth-limits-in-orange-county/
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/03/07/bill-limiting-rural-growth-controls-in-orange-county-heads-to-gov-desantis/
https://www.floridalobbyist.gov/LobbyistInformation/LobbyistDetail/7313?year=2024&Branch=L
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2024/1420
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2024/1420/Amendment/828046/PDF
https://www.floridatrend.com/article/22905/ranchland-to-rooftops-in-florida
https://www.afcd.com/
https://www.afcd.com/member-directory
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/04/01/orlando-brushes-off-orange-county-concerns-annexes-sunbridge/
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/04/23/orange-county-begins-conflict-resolution-process-to-fight-orlando-annexation-of-sunbridge/
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2024/05/22/citizens-panel-tries-again-to-put-growth-restrictions-before-orange-county-voters/

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Background Information: The Charter Review Commission (CRC) is appointed every 4 years by the Board of County Commissioners. The members review our County Constitution and can make recommendations to put items/amendments to citizen vote. We are pushing for a rural boundary similar to Seminole County and Alachua County to be included in our County Constitution. The rural boundary will not stop growth but it will help protect stop urban sprawl and protect rural communities, agricultural, and wildlife corridors. The rural boundary will require a more rigorous approval (supermajority vote as opposed to simple majority) for developers that would like to increase the intensity/density of rural land when it is zoned rural in the rural service area, which is outside of the urban area where infrastructure does not exist and taxpayer money is on the line. The benefits of a rural boundary may include financial/fiscal, environmental, and economic.

PETITION LANGUAGE:

Dear Mayor & Commissioners,

During the June 4, 9 AM BCC meeting you will be discussing the CRC's Rural Boundary initiative. I am writing to request that you vote in favor of the Rural Boundary Charter Amendment Exhibit B. I am asking that you let the people decide if they want a rural boundary added to our Orange County Charter. Put the rural boundary (CRC exhibit B) to vote. As an elected Orange County official, please defend Orange County's citizens' rights to participate in our County Charter Amendment Process. Other counties in FL have rural boundaries (Seminole, Alachua, Pinellas). Their elected officials stood up for their rights. Please do the same for my rights and put the rural boundary on the ballot and let the people decide.

This past legislative cycle, lobbyists and developers intervened and stripped citizens' rights to amend our Orange County Constitution (Charter) by adding an extra sentence to SB1420. The lobbyist firm, Association of FL Community Developers, which represents Tavistock Developers and Suburban Land Reserve (Desseret Ranch), got a senator who does not live in Orange County (Senator Blaise Ingolia of Spring Hill) to amend SB1420 to include language that would stop Orange County's CRC from moving the rural boundary to our November ballots. Senator Linda Stewart of Orange County specifically asked if the SB1420 Amendment would impact any other county besides Orange County. The answer was NO. The amendment would ONLY impact the citizen's of Orange County. In addition, you received a Legal Memo from the Willis Firm. The Willis Firm is the registered lobbyist for McKinnon Groves, LLLP, which is owned by the former District 1 Commissioner and developer, Scott Boyd. Please do not allow a previous Commissioner from nearly a decade ago to influence your ability to represent today's Orange County citizens. Developers' lobbyists specifically manipulated state law to block Orange County citizens. Our only chance to exercise our citizen right to amend our County Charter is now in your control with your vote for the rural boundary.

Please recall, after the passing of SB1420, citizens came in a panic to ask the Mayor and Commissioners to do something to help protect our rights. The citizens were told by Mayor Demings to let the CRC finish their process. The citizens waited. The CRC has finished and determined that the only path forward is for the BCC to put the rural boundary on our November ballots and let the people decide by voting. The CRC's rural boundary final vote to move the boundary to the BCC passed with a vote of 13 in favor and 1 opposed.

During the last meeting, Mayor Demings noted that the Sales Tax Increase held many public meetings to include citizen participation. The rural boundary initiative has done the same. The rural boundary charter amendment was submitted in July 2023. The CRC passed the amendment into subcommittee where it remained for about 6 months. The subcommittee (comprised of 3 attorneys guided also by the CRC attorney) studied the topic, held numerous public meetings each month with public comment to discuss the rural boundary, interviewed OC staff as well as other counties' staff and elected officials that have rural boundaries. The rural boundary amendment was unanimously voted out of subcommittee. It was then read to the full CRC. The full CRC determined that the rural boundary was not yet ready and voted to send the rural boundary back to subcommittee. The boundary remained in subcommittee for about 3 more months. During this time, the subcommittee continued public meetings to amend the rural boundary charter amendment. Per the request of OC staff, all joint planning agreements have been removed from the boundary. The rural boundary had two required readings. The legal language for the ballot is complete. The final report for the Rural Boundary Charter Amendment is complete. The recommendation from the CRC is for the BCC to put the rural boundary on our ballot.

I am requesting that you follow the recommendation of the CRC. The CRC members were appointed by Mayor Demings and the Commissioners to represent citizens' interests. The CRC members have done their due diligence. We know developers' plans. Orlando City is annexing Sunbridge. Next they will annex Desseret Ranch (Suburban Land Reserve). The CFX 2045 Master Plan shows a future toll road connecting the 408 to a new toll road 519 that cuts through Christmas and connects Suburban Land Reserve and Lake Nona. The City will continue annexing rural service land in unincorporated Orange County. The rural boundary charter amendment (Exhibit B) allows the County zoning to remain when rural service land is annexed. The rural boundary will allow the County to have a say when land is annexed and for rural communities and our agricultural industry to have a chance to remain intact. Exhibit B language is similar to the language of the Seminole County rural boundary.

Please stand up for the people of Orange County. Stand up for our rights. Put the rural boundary to vote (Exhibit B) and allow the local people to determine what is best for OUR Orange County. Do not let a Senator from Spring Hill, lobbyists, developers, and a commissioner from a decade ago to determine what THEY want the laws of Orange County to be in order to benefit their special interests.

Thank you for your vote of support in protecting Orange County citizens' rights to amend our County Charter with a rural boundry (exhibit B).

Sincerely,

Sources:
https://www.cfxway.com/master-plan/ (pg. 15)
https://jasongarcia.substack.com/p/lobbyists-for-developers-pushed-florida?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=687064&post_id=144869496&utm_campaign=email-post-title&isFreemail=true&r=nelk&triedRedirect=true&utm_medium=email
https://www.wftv.com/news/local/orange-countys-charter-review-commission-set-vote-amendment-protecting-rural-land/M4QYLNWY2VAXDMCGZOVZNXOSXA/

State lawmakers move to block proposed growth limits in Orange County

Bill limiting rural growth controls in Orange County heads to Gov. DeSantis


https://www.floridalobbyist.gov/LobbyistInformation/LobbyistDetail/7313?year=2024&Branch=L
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2024/1420
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2024/1420/Amendment/828046/PDF
https://www.floridatrend.com/article/22905/ranchland-to-rooftops-in-florida
https://www.afcd.com/
https://www.afcd.com/member-directory

Orlando brushes off Orange County concerns, annexes Sunbridge

Orange County begins ‘conflict resolution’ process to fight Orlando annexation of Sunbridge

Citizens’ panel tries again to put growth restrictions before Orange County voters