9/8/2016 – Letter to Board of County Commissioners regarding Environment

From: rj@rjmueller.net [mailto:rj@rjmueller.net]
Sent: Friday, September 9, 2016 11:13 AM
To: ‘mayor@ocfl.net’ <mayor@ocfl.net>; ‘district5@ocfl.net’ <district5@ocfl.net>; ‘district1@ocfl.net’ <district1@ocfl.net>; ‘district2@ocfl.net’ <district2@ocfl.net>; ‘district3@ocfl.net’ <district3@ocfl.net>; ‘jennifer thompson’ <district4@ocfl.net>; ‘ted.edwards@ocfl.net’ <ted.edwards@ocfl.net>; ‘Scott.Boyd@ocfl.net’ <Scott.Boyd@ocfl.net>; ‘bryan.nelson@ocfl.net’ <bryan.nelson@ocfl.net>; ‘victoria.siplin@ocfl.net’ <victoria.siplin@ocfl.net>; ‘pete.clarke@ocfl.net’ <pete.clarke@ocfl.net>; ‘Jennifer.Thompson@ocfl.net’ <Jennifer.Thompson@ocfl.net>; ‘district6@ocfl.net’ <district6@ocfl.net>
Subject: Lake Pickett properties – Why they are so different from other properties

Mayor Jacobs and Commissioner Edwards,

Commissioner Edwards says the Lake Pickett properties are the hole in the donut.  He also says people who live in sub-divisions like Cypress Lakes or Corner Lakes don’t have the right to say how the Lake Pickett properties should be developed.  He thinks that the Lake Pickett properties are the same as Cypress Lakes and Corner Lakes and should be developed the same way.

I don’t think he has read or has forgotten the document created by St. Johns River Water Management called the “ECONLOCKHATCHEE SANDHILLS CONSERVATION AREA” that was written when the property was purchased in 2009.  (http://www.sjrwmd.com/landmanagementplans/pdfs/2009_Econlockhatchee_Sandhills.pdf).  I don’t think he has seen or remembers this map from page 11 of the document.  Notice the orange area and the area it covers.  It covers the Lake Pickett properties.  It does not cover Corner Lakes or Cypress Lakes or even the Lake Pickett Rural Settlement.  This orange area is designated a “Priority 2 Strategic Habitat Conservation Area” by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Priority 2 is the second highest level.

This area is very different from other areas and has to be protected.  Development in this area has to be done completely different from other areas.

Strategic Habitat Conservation Area

Strategic Habitat Conservation Area

Gopher Tortoise in its Burrow

Gopher Tortoise in its Burrow

We have all heard of Gopher tortoises.  We have all seen them crossing the roads and cars stopping and drivers getting out to carry them to the woods.  But do you really know anything about them?  They aren’t just cute reptiles, they are a keystone threatened species and protected by state law. In all the world they only live here in Florida and a couple of neighboring states but their numbers are declining and why?  Because of exactly what is happening at Lake Pickett.  By concreting over this land, you will surely be responsible for assisting in the extinction of these reptiles.  By Florida law Gopher tortoises must be relocated before any land clearing or development takes place, and property owners must obtain permits from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission before they can move them (http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/managed/Gopher-tortoise/rules-and-regulations/).  But moving them does not guarantee their survival and where will they be moved to?

Other Species that use the Gopher Tortoise Hole

Other Species that use the Gopher Tortoise Hole

If a tortoise burrow is not found and it is concreted over, the tortoise dies a very slow death.  Many times it is the baby tortoises buried in a tomb they thought was a safe haven from predators.  They didn’t count on the worst predator of all, man.  They cannot dig out of the burrow with a living room on top of it.  And because of their slow metabolism they can live for months before dying.  Can you imagine being buried alive for months?  A baby tortoise’ life that can live as long as we live cut short and sentenced to death by burial.  Who is going to oversee this undertaking and ensure every one of those reptiles are found and relocated.

When the Sandhill property was purchased there were close to 400 burrows surveyed and that is only 700 acres.  How many Gopher tortoises live on the Lake Pickett properties?  I asked that question at the community meeting and the answer I received from Mr. Miklos was yes, they must be moved and everything will be done per state law.  This answer is coming from the owner of Bio-Tech Consulting (http://bio-techconsulting.com/about-us/leadership/) who was hired by the Lake Pickett North developers.  As you are well aware Mr. Miklos is also the chairman of St. Johns River Water Management board of directors (http://www.sjrwmd.com/governingboard/boardmembers.html).  To a citizen like myself, this seems like a conflict of interest.  How can the chairman of SJRWMD also be the environmental contractor for the developer and effectively do his job at SJRWMD with no bias?  I am sure it can be rationalized but I cannot see it.

Other Species that use the Gopher Tortoise Hole

Other Species that use the Gopher Tortoise Hole

You are playing with fire when you decide to develop this area in this way.  You are not being good stewards of the land.  Land owners may have a deed to these properties and think they own them but no one owns any land.  We are simply the stewards of the land and how we treat it determines what other generations will have to enjoy or not.  It will determine if the Gopher tortoise and the other 350-400 species who depend on the tortoise for their homes survive.   What is happening now is very short-sighted and irresponsible and enforces what people believe to be true regarding developers and the commission.

Please stop and consider the environment above all else.  There is no need to rush this with so much at stake.  If this land is to be developed then do it right and not in this crazy, haphazard and irresponsible way that I believe Commissioner Edwards is driving.

Going full circle, I believe every person wherever they live has every right to demand this area be preserved and developed in a very responsible manner considering what it means for our children and their children.

Sincerely,

RJ Mueller

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9/8/2016 – Response from Orange County on Signal Light for University Estates

From: rj@rjmueller.net [mailto:rj@rjmueller.net]

Sent: Thursday, September 8, 2016 1:42 PM
To: ‘John.Klimovitch@ocfl.net’ <John.Klimovitch@ocfl.net>
Cc: ‘Mark.Massaro@ocfl.net’ <Mark.Massaro@ocfl.net>; ‘Joe.Kunkel@ocfl.net’ <Joe.Kunkel@ocfl.net>; ‘Renzo.Nastasi@ocfl.net’ <Renzo.Nastasi@ocfl.net>; ‘Ruby.Rozier@ocfl.net’ <Ruby.Rozier@ocfl.net>; ‘ChingSheng.Yang@ocfl.net’ <ChingSheng.Yang@ocfl.net>; ‘Brian.Sanders@ocfl.net’ <Brian.Sanders@ocfl.net>; ‘Christine.Lofye@ocfl.net’ <Christine.Lofye@ocfl.net>; ‘Mayor@ocfl.net’ <Mayor@ocfl.net>; ‘Ted.Edwards@ocfl.net’ <Ted.Edwards@ocfl.net>; ‘victoria.siplin@ocfl.net’ <victoria.siplin@ocfl.net>; ‘Scott.Boyd@ocfl.net’ <Scott.Boyd@ocfl.net>; ‘pete.clarke@ocfl.net’ <pete.clarke@ocfl.net>; ‘jennifer thompson’ <district4@ocfl.net>; ‘Jennifer.Thompson@ocfl.net’ <Jennifer.Thompson@ocfl.net>; ‘bryan.nelson@ocfl.net’ <bryan.nelson@ocfl.net>; ‘Ted.Edwards@ocfl.net’ <Ted.Edwards@ocfl.net>; ‘Jon.Weiss@ocfl.net’ <Jon.Weiss@ocfl.net>; ‘Ed Higgins’ <ejhiggins7693@gmail.com>; ‘John Chitty’ <jchitty@gmail.com>; ‘bettyboopdodoop@yahoo.com’ <bettyboopdodoop@yahoo.com>; ‘Taylor Ellis’ <taylorellis@cfl.rr.com>
Subject: RE: Lake Pickett North Community Meeting

Mr. Klimovitch,

Under normal circumstances I would agree with you regarding warrants but this is a very abnormal situation.

At this point in time, the residents in University Estates don’t care about warrants.  We care about getting out of our neighborhood safely.  It is the obligation of the county to maintain the Level Of Service on the county roadways and we all know that the Level Of Service on McCulloch is dismal and does not meet county standards.  It is an “F” rated road and the trips during peak hours far exceed the 800 limit for a two lane road.  The volume during peak hours is 1,300, far above what the county is obligated to maintain.  This must be taken into account.

It is also the obligation of the county to protect its residents.  Let me point out the accidents on this roadway in the past year between 7/1/2015 through 6/30/2016.  According to FIRES, there have been 13 accidents in the stretch of road in front of our community with 31 vehicles involved.  10 people were injured; that is almost one a month in this very short ½ mile stretch of road.  This will not get better when McCulloch is 4-laned and can only get worse.  Does someone have to die on this stretch of roadway in order for the county to fulfill its responsibility to its citizens?

This is a very extraordinary situation and I would venture to say that this stretch of road is one of the worst in all of Orange County.  Considering this, a traffic light is most definitely required.  Please don’t talk to us about warrants and requirements while Orange County is not fulfilling its obligation to its residents.

Again, we demand a signal light at this intersection.  Mayor Jacobs or another commissioner, perhaps you could make an exception in this case and bring this to a vote at the next board meeting.

Sincerely,

RJ Mueller

FIRES accidents on McCulloch Rd

FIRES accidents on McCulloch Rd

FIRES accidents on McCulloch Rd

FIRES accidents on McCulloch Rd

 

 

From: John.Klimovitch@ocfl.net [mailto:John.Klimovitch@ocfl.net]
Sent: Thursday, September 8, 2016 8:23 AM
To: rj@rjmueller.net
Cc: Mark.Massaro@ocfl.net; Joe.Kunkel@ocfl.net; Renzo.Nastasi@ocfl.net; Ruby.Rozier@ocfl.net; Mayor@ocfl.net; ChingSheng.Yang@ocfl.net; Brian.Sanders@ocfl.net; Christine.Lofye@ocfl.net
Subject: RE: Lake Pickett North Community Meeting

Dear Mr. Mueller,

This is in response to your request for a traffic signal on McCulloch Road at Worchester Drive.  Before a traffic signal is installed, the intersection must meet one of the warrants for signalization found in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  I have attached the section of the manual that describes the warrants.

Our previous studies of McCulloch Road and Worchester Drive (west intersection) showed that none of the warrants were met for signalization.  Side street volumes were not large enough to satisfy the volume warrants.

Of course, we will be willing to re-study the intersection if conditions change, such as the widening of McCulloch Road.  We appreciate your observations and comments on traffic safety and operations.

Sincerely,

John Klimovitch
Traffic Engineering
Orange County Public Works
407-836-7803

 

From: Massaro, Mark
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2016 1:27 PM
To: Mayor; Rozier, Ruby; Klimovitch, John; Nastasi, Renzo; Kunkel, Joe
Cc: Klimovitch, John
Subject: RE: Lake Pickett North Community Meeting

John

Please respond, Ruby is away . Thanks

Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S® 5, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone qwe1

 

——– Original message ——–
From: Mayor <Mayor@ocfl.net>
Date: 09/07/2016 1:01 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: “Rozier, Ruby” <Ruby.Rozier@ocfl.net>
Cc: “Massaro, Mark” <Mark.Massaro@ocfl.net>, “Klimovitch, John” <John.Klimovitch@ocfl.net>, Mayor <Mayor@ocfl.net>
Subject: FW: Lake Pickett North Community Meeting

Ruby,

Please review request highlighted below and provide response.

Thank you as always!

Sincerely,

 Danny Rivera, MPA
Special Assistant to the Mayor
Office of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs
201 South Rosalind Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: 407-836-7370
Fax: 407-836-7360

Mayor Jacobs, her staff and all Orange County employees are proud to serve the public.  Our shared values help us deliver on the promise of exceptional service to the citizens we serve.  Mayor Jacobs expects all employees to demonstrate fairness, integrity and character, excellence and innovation, professionalism and accountability, and have a strong work ethic by providing outstanding customer service as we carry out our duties to the taxpayers and citizens of Orange County.

 

From: rj@rjmueller.net [mailto:rj@rjmueller.net]
Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2016 10:03 AM
To: Mayor; District5, Mail; District1, Mail; District2, Mail; District3, Mail; District4, Mail; Edwards, Ted B (Commissioner); Boyd, S. Scott (Commissioner); byron.nelson@ocfl.net; Siplin, Victoria (Commissioner); Clarke, Pete (Commissioner)
Subject: Lake Pickett North Community Meeting

Mayor Jacobs and Commissioner Edwards,

Another check box checked!  I think that is how the residents of East Orange County feel about the community meeting last night.  Despite every person in the room strongly against this project because of the roads and environmental concerns, Commissioner Edwards pushes on and supports the developers.  I had to leave early but someone told me that Commissioner Edwards said we, the residents, can’t make up our mind about traffic.  First we want it fixed then we don’t.  That is absolutely not true.  We want traffic fixed, period.  But what we don’t believe is that these improvements will fix traffic.

I listened to the developers traffic planner tell us how these road improvements will fix our traffic problems.  I also listened to Commissioner Edwards tell us how development is tied to road improvements.  He said road improvements are tied to development and if the road improvements are not made then the development can’t proceed.  The big problem with that is I, as well as many others, are convinced the improvements won’t fix our traffic problems and is only temporary relief.  So if a road is improved such as 4-laning McCulloch the developer can proceed only to find in 10 years we are worse than we are now with the developer long gone leaving us with a worse mess and limited options.

These restrictions on the development is just simply not enough. 

I want to emphasis that we are against this development, the bridge and the McCulloch extension and the demands below is only if this moves forward.

I have 700 petitions against the bridge to prove it. http://savetheecon.com and SOC has over 10,500 petition signatures.  What more do you need?

If you decide to move forward, then there has to be stricter requirements on development. First, here is what the residents of University Estates want.  We want a light at McCulloch and Worchester.  Especially if McCulloch is to be 4-laned.  We will never be able to get out into traffic without a light.  We are not requesting a light; we are demanding a light.

I am also demanding this.  Development needs to be tied to Level of Service (LOS) and not just LOS but trips; not just road improvements.  We know that an “F” on a 4-lane road is 2,000 trips during peak times.  If you decide to 4-lane McCulloch and that brings the road to a LOS of “C” then if the road falls to a “F” or greater than 2,000 peak hour trips, development stops until remedies are put in place to raise the LOS out of “F”.  Readings need to be taken every 6 months.  This way, the residents are protected against McCulloch becoming over-capacity in 10 years.

If the developer and the county is confident these traffic improvements will fix our traffic problems as was portrayed to us last night, then the county and the developer should gladly agree to this demand.  We want protection if things go wrong.  We are owed this as residents of Orange County.  The county has the obligation to maintain the roads at an acceptable LOS which is just not the case now and will not be in the future unless we demand it.  Orange County is not meeting its obligation to its tax-paying residents.

Contrary to what Commissioner Edwards said, we want our roads fixed but we want them fixed right.

Sincerely,

RJ Mueller

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9/7/2016 – Letter to Board of County Commissioners on Lake Pickett North

From: rj@rjmueller.net [mailto:rj@rjmueller.net]

Sent: Wednesday, September 7, 2016 10:03 AM
To: ‘mayor@ocfl.net’ <mayor@ocfl.net>; ‘district5@ocfl.net’ <district5@ocfl.net>; ‘district1@ocfl.net’ <district1@ocfl.net>; ‘district2@ocfl.net’ <district2@ocfl.net>; ‘district3@ocfl.net’ <district3@ocfl.net>; ‘jennifer thompson’ <district4@ocfl.net>; ‘ted.edwards@ocfl.net’ <ted.edwards@ocfl.net>; ‘Scott.Boyd@ocfl.net’ <Scott.Boyd@ocfl.net>; ‘byron.nelson@ocfl.net’ <byron.nelson@ocfl.net>; ‘victoria.siplin@ocfl.net’ <victoria.siplin@ocfl.net>; ‘pete.clarke@ocfl.net’ <pete.clarke@ocfl.net>
Subject: Lake Pickett North Community Meeting

Mayor Jacobs and Commissioner Edwards,

Another check box checked!  I think that is how the residents of East Orange County feel about the community meeting last night.  Despite every person in the room strongly against this project because of the roads and environmental concerns, Commissioner Edwards pushes on and supports the developers.  I had to leave early but someone told me that Commissioner Edwards said we, the residents, can’t make up our mind about traffic.  First we want it fixed then we don’t.  That is absolutely not true.  We want traffic fixed, period.  But what we don’t believe is that these improvements will fix traffic.

I listened to the developers traffic planner tell us how these road improvements will fix our traffic problems.  I also listened to Commissioner Edwards tell us how development is tied to road improvements.  He said road improvements are tied to development and if the road improvements are not made then the development can’t proceed.  The big problem with that is I, as well as many others, are convinced the improvements won’t fix our traffic problems and is only temporary relief.  So if a road is improved such as 4-laning McCulloch the developer can proceed only to find in 10 years we are worse than we are now with the developer long gone leaving us with a worse mess and limited options.

These restrictions on the development is just simply not enough. 

 I want to emphasis that we are against this development, the bridge and the McCulloch extension and the demands below is only if this moves forward.  

I have 700 petitions against the bridge to prove it. http://savetheecon.com and Save Orange County has over 10,500 petition signatures.  What more do you need?

If you decide to move forward, then there has to be stricter requirements on development. First, here is what the residents of University Estates want.  We want a light at McCulloch and Worchester.  Especially if McCulloch is to be 4-laned.  We will never be able to get out into traffic without a light.  We are not requesting a light; we are demanding a light.

I am also demanding this.  Development needs to be tied to Level of Service (LOS) and not just LOS but trips; not just road improvements.  We know that an “F” on a 4-lane road is 2,000 trips during peak times.  If you decide to 4-lane McCulloch and that brings the road to a LOS of “C” then if the road falls to a “F” or greater than 2,000 peak hour trips, development stops until remedies are put in place to raise the LOS out of “F”.  Readings need to be taken every 6 months.  This way, the residents are protected against McCulloch becoming over-capacity in 10 years.

If the developer and the county is confident these traffic improvements will fix our traffic problems as was portrayed to us last night, then the county and the developer should gladly agree to this demand.  We want protection if things go wrong.  We are owed this as residents of Orange County.  The county has the obligation to maintain the roads at an acceptable LOS which is just not the case now and will not be in the future unless we demand it.  Orange County is not meeting its obligation to its tax-paying residents.

Contrary to what Commissioner Edwards said, we want our roads fixed but we want them fixed right.

Sincerely,

RJ Mueller

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