• Orange County residents wonder when commissioners learned of Osceola toll road plans


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9 has been looking into the possible extension of the Osceola Parkway to Narcoossee Road. The extension could mean that some new homes in Orange County would have to be torn down.
    On Monday, Channel 9's Lori Brown learned that some Orange County leaders have been getting updates on the project for years, but hadn't passed the information along to homeowners.
    With a toll road slated to divide the Wyndham Lakes subdivision and become the backyard view for homes in Fells Landing and Eagle Creek, homeowners are asking who knew what and when.
    "How would you feel if you felt your home value was going to be dropping, not because of the economy, but because a politician decided to put a road in your backyard?" Wyndham Lakes resident Benjamin Purdham said.
    Channel 9 reported on Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson's concerns that the Osceola County Expressway Authority did not properly notify her office.
    "This snuck up on all of us," said Thompson said in an earlier comment.
    But the chair of the Osceola County Expressway Authority claims Orange County officials were notified years in advance.
    Osceola officials provided Brown with minutes of meetings attended by Orange County administrators, dating back to 2010.
    A large notification packet with maps was sent to all Orange County commissioners and the mayor.
    "This is our community here. This is the lake on the back of my house," Purdham said, as he pointed out landmarks on one of the maps.
    While the maps highlight a swath of Orange County, Thompson points out that the map shows a much different route than one selected now.
    Eagle Creek resident Amy Stilling is angry that Osceola County would consider the packets proper notification.
    "The corridor as its proposed now goes much deeper into Orange County," said Stilling. "And it is much, much closer to our new elementary school."
    Thompson said the Osceola County Expressway Authority selected the controversial route sometime in February or March and said Orange County officials were not notified until May 12.
    Orange County commissioners are set to decide if they will take an official stand against the toll road plans at their Tuesday meeting.

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