Why do you want to protect the “Rural Area”

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Development east of the Econ river in the Rural Service Area (RSA) has brought fight after fight with the mantra, “Protect the Rural Area”.  But what does that mean?

After thinking about this for a while, it comes down to two questions.

1. How should the rural area be developed?

There are two extremes.

The developers would like to develop the rural area as urban with maximum density.  The residents in the rural area want to hold development as rural with 1 house per 10 acres.

The problem is there is no middle ground and anyone in the thick of this is forced to pick a side.  But this is more to this than just protecting the rural area because there are those who live inside the urban service area that are directly affected.

2. Why do YOU want to protect the rural area?

This second question is important because if you are passionate about protecting the rural area then ask yourself why?  And then put the list you come up with in priority order.

Here’s my list in order:

  1. Prevent Urban Sprawl – lower density worsens sprawl
  2. Protect the Environment – any development contributes to pollution
  3. Traffic – closely tied to urban sprawl – more development – more traffic
  4. Protect our way of life – not just those in the rural area but all of East Orange County

How would you rank this list?

#4 is the wrench in the works because at this time I see protecting way of life only applying to those who live inside the rural area and not everyone in East Orange County.

Whether anyone likes it or not, because of the lawsuit that is in progress and the push to keep traffic off the rural roads, the people most affected are those who live between UCF and the Econ river.  Traffic keeps building with no plan to address it and a fully funded traffic study that was supposed to provide a plan of action to Orange County was put on hold indefinitely because of the lawsuit.

Personally, fighting the fight against urban sprawl is near and dear to my heart but so is the way of life of everyone in East Orange County.

How do we keep the rural area rural, while at the same time solve our traffic issues?


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RJ’s introduction to the new Board of County Commissioners

This is my introduction public comment to the Board of County Commissioners. There are four new board members so I wanted them to remember me.  I made an interesting little video so the next time they see me they remember who I am and know that my focus is the traffic issues in East Orange County.

At the end of the public comment, Commissioner Bonilla made a reference to a traffic study that is underway in East Orange County. She said she has been working on the traffic issues since she took office and to me that sounded like this traffic study was initiated by Orange County due to the traffic issues.

But that traffic study is in response to a recent action being taken by Research Park who is thinking about tolling their roadways. Their roadways are private property and they have every right to do just that. Can you imagine what that action would do to Alafaya Trail, Lake Pickett and N. Tanner Road as commuters who use those roads as cut-throughs to UCF try to find a cheaper alternative to get around the tolled roadways.

Orange County needs a plan. The blueprint for that plan is the regional transportation plan that Mayor Jacobs authorized in early 2017 and was funded with INVEST funds. But because 6 residents filed a law suit against the county to prevent the Lake Pickett Text amendment, that study was abandoned.  Commissioner Bonilla was one of the 6 residents who was part of the law suit until she was elected commissioner and had to drop out.

I want to know what Commissioner Bonilla’s plan is to fix traffic.  It is not the traffic study she referred to in this video.  She is in her third year of office and so far I have seen no forward movement to fix our traffic issues.  What’s the plan?

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