Traffic light installed on private property to cost Seminole County thousands



SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County is going to have to pay thousands in a settlement because it installed a traffic light on private property.

The traffic light is at the corner of S.R. 436 and Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Altamonte Springs.

The county believed it owned a patch of grass near the intersection when it widened Ronald Reagan Boulevard in 2004. But the land actually belongs to gas station owners, so the traffic light and mechanical boxes were installed on private property.

"I don't know who originally designed the widening project, but there was a mistake somewhere that wasn't caught," said Charlie Wetzel, with Seminole County's Traffic Engineering Division.

The 10-year-old mistake by the county likely would have never been caught if crews hadn't returned to the site in 2012.

"At that time the owner came out and said 'Hey, you are on my property,' so that's when it was found out that the orginal easement which we thought we had acquired for the widening project was never successfully acquired," Wetzel said.

According to a memo from Seminole County attorneys, the county offered $4,700 for the land it should have bought years ago. But the gas station owners didn't accept it and now the county plans to pay $25,000 to settle and avoid going to court.

Seminole County commissioners are set to discuss the settlement at a meeting next week.