By signing this petition, you are telling the Mayor and Commissioners that you advocate for the preservation of rural settlements and natural land. If the Mayor and Commissioners allow for the proposed rezoning to go through it will set a dangerous precedent for developers to invade, rezone, and develop the rural communities, natural land, and the natural habitat that Orange County has left. The applicant for this proposed development must meet the criteria for what is acceptable development in a rural settlement.


Protect Orange County’s Rural Settlements & Natural Land

Dear Mayor Demings and Commissioner,

I am writing in opposition to case #SE-21-11-115 that is scheduled for the June 7, 2022, BCC meeting. I ask that you uphold staff’s recommendation to deny the applicant’s request to construct a 44,000 square foot commercial property in the Avalon Lake Rural Settlement. This case is referenced as a Special Exception in the A-1 zoning and rural settlement. While staff recommended denial the BZA has recommended adoption. Note, if adopted, this Special Exception will set a dangerous precedent for all rural settlements and rural enclaves in Orange County.

The proposed development is to construct a Discovery Campus including a 737-seat religious institution, which is defined as a commercial property. Rural settlements are protected in Orange County to preserve rural communities and natural land. Per FLU6.2.10 commercial use of rural settlement land is only permissible to service the existing community [rural settlement] residents. The proposed commercial property will service communities beyond that of the rural settlement. This is demonstrated by the 77 support letters that staff received where only one of the support letters came from a Lake Avalon rural settlement resident. Staff received 89 opposition letters that were sent from rural settlement residents. The rural settlement community further expressed opposition during the community meeting as well as to their District Commissioner.

In addition to the violation of FLU6.2.10, per our Comprehensive Land Use Plan, commercial zoning is not permissible if the business will attract “pass-by” trips (FLU6.2.10). The location of this parcel is off an intersection as well as within immediate proximity to the 429 thus guaranteeing that the reach of this religious institution will far exceed that of the existing settlement residents and will attract “pass-by trips.” According to FLU6.2.9 the scale and intensity of the proposed commercial property must be compatible with the development pattern of the existing Rural Settlement. The other two churches in the settlement are 16,000 square feet. The construction of a mega religious institution is not compatible with the development pattern or intensity of the surrounding area.

Finally, adopting the applicant’s request will set a dangerous precedent for not only the Lake Avalon Rural Settlement but all Orange County rural settlements and enclaves. Adopting the applicant’s request enables similar requests to be deemed compatible thus resulting in an erosion of rural settlements. Rural settlement communities require protection from our political leaders. Without your protection rural settlements, rural enclaves, and natural land will cease to exist in Orange County. I am requesting that you vote NO on Case #SE-21-11-115 and ask the applicant to meet the criteria for what is acceptable development in a rural settlement.


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