• Commissioners have little power to object to Osceola Parkway extension on Orange Co. land


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A group of homeowners who have been told their houses could be torn down to make way for a proposed toll road expressed their displeasure at the Orange County Commission meeting Tuesday.

    The Osceola Parkway Extension would affect Wyndham Lakes Estates and some other south Orange County subdivisions.

    The problem is, Orange County commissioners don't have a say in whether the toll road gets built. The Osceola County Expressway Authority is behind the project.

    The Expressway Authority would need to condemn dozens of new homes, each worth $200,000-$300,000, in order to build the road.

    And Orange County commissioners said they can't stop Osceola from condemning Orange County land.  The commissioners said that's something they only discovered recently because of the project.

    Commissioner Fred Brummer said he thinks Mayor Teresa Jacobs should ask for a special session so legislation can be enacted that could give Orange County some power in the situation.

    "This afternoon, tomorrow morning, I think she should call the governor, the speaker of the House, Senate president elect, and ask is it appropriate that we have a special session so this issue is addressed, so we have an opportunity to defend the residents of Orange County," said Brummer.

    But Jacobs said she wants to try to work with the Osceola County Expressway Authority privately first.

    Brummer thinks that's a mistake.

    "If we don't talk with them now, if we don't be aggressive or make our position clear, they can work off the presumption that we don't care," said Brummer.

    "They're going to have to deal with noise, safety, an unsightly 27-foot overpass just north of their property," said attorney Jay Small.

    When asked whether it's right that a board not accountable to Orange County voters has the final say on Orange County land, project manager Paulk Cherry said, "You'll have to ask the governor about that. That's a little above my pay grade."

    "Osceola County intends to build dangerously close. We feel the Expressway Authority has not given attention to the voice of local homeowners," said Fells Landing resident Clint Graumann.

    Residents said those homes that wouldn't be condemned would be left in a setting dramatically different than what they currently have.

    A community meeting is scheduled for July.

    The Expressway Authority is set to decide if it will put the toll road through Orange County neighborhoods early next year.

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