East Orange County residents celebrate after commissioners ‘preserve’ rural land

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — On Tuesday, Orange County’s Board of Commissioners granted another victory to neighbors opposed to development in the North Lake Pickett area of Orange County.


In January, commissioners voted down a plan for a housing development called Sustanee that would have brought nearly 1800 single-family homes to the area.

On Tuesday, the Board took it one step further and voted unanimously to preserve the rural zoning of land in the North Lake Pickett area.

That area is currently zoned for agricultural use and is set to have one home for every 10 acres.

Read: Orlando to vote on plan to annex land from east Orange County

After a unanimous commission vote, that land use will remain agricultural in Orange County’s Vision 2050 plan, a master policy plan that lays out future land use for Orange County.

Residents with Save Orange County say they have been fighting against development in North Lake Pickett since 2013 and are celebrating what they consider a ‘victory.’

“We bought our home we made the biggest investment of our life. Since day one that we moved in we’ve been defending and trying to fight for what we believed we were buying into, which was a rural community,” said Kelly Semrad, Vice Chair of Save Orange County.

Watch: ‘Save Orange County’ continues fight against Lake Pickett development

Commissioner Emily Bonilla lives near Lake Pickett, and introduced the amendment to Orange County’s Vision 2050 plan.

“It has never had the high-density approval on it and this is making sure we don’t give it to them unintentionally,” said Bonilla.

Attorneys representing Sustanee spoke during public comment and made a brief opposition statement to the amendment.

Read: Orange County leaders vote against proposed housing development near Lake Pickett

“We are here today to formerly object to any such effort or initiative as it would adversary impact the property rights of owners and contract purchasers of the property,” said Brandon Marcus an attorney for Sustanee.

At this point, it is still unclear what will happen next with the Sustanee development and whether the project will be reworked after commissioners stop it in January.

Channel 9 reached out to Marcus for further comment but did not hear back before the story aired on Tuesday.

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