It’s interesting watching the BCC meetings with 4 new board members as the new members try to figure out how things are done and what direction this board will take Orange County.
The first meeting was a short one on Dec 4th as that was the same day the new members were sworn in but the Dec 18th meeting was longer. Both were interesting.
Affordable housing has come up a couple of times already and is one of the biggest problems this area has. There just isn’t enough affordable housing and Orlando is high among US cities with year-over-year rent increases compounding the problem.
One person used affordable housing as a reason for putting in a 4,000 sq ft, two-story duplex in a single family detached housing neighborhood and another person built an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit, a mother-in-law home) on their property in a rural settlement and was there asking forgiveness and a variance with one reason being cost of living. Their daughter lives in the home behind their house with a small child. Both were approved. It was surprising that the 4,000 sq ft, two-story duplex was allowed in a single family neighborhood with one-story homes under 2,000 sq ft.
On another note, one of the biggest gripes people have when they go down for public comment on a zoning hearing especially ones that are contentious like Lake Pickett is that the developer gets as much time as they need to state their case but residents only get 3 minutes each. Mayor Jacobs ran a tight ship and managed the 3 minute rule to the second and sometimes when there were a lot of speakers dropped it to 2 minutes. Then after the parade of residents had their 3 minutes, the lawyer for the development had time to address the concerns of the residents so if the residents were against the development the lawyer used the time to refute what the residents had said.
I was wondering how Mayor Demings was going to handle public comment.
Most people who don’t follow our local government won’t find this interesting but to me a most amazing thing happened at the Dec 18th meeting. Mayor Demings gave the residents the normal 3 minutes and then the lawyer spoke to the residents concerns as usual. But after that, Mayor Demings asked the residents if they wanted to speak to anything the lawyer had said. That really surprised me as that has never happened before. I hope it continues but I just can’t see how it can especially if there are a lot of speakers. Let’s see how long Mayor Demings continues this policy as I think it will become very time consuming.