Osceola, Polk County residents start petition to halt development until roads are improved

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Osceola and Polk Counties are among the fastest growing areas in the country, but that growth has some residents concerned.

People living near the two-lane Old Lake Wilson Road say their commute has gotten long and dangerous.

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“The other day, I was heading home from work and I saw three accidents, one in which the cars were flipped over,” homeowner Debora Turner said. “Traffic is crazy.”

When Turner moved to the area 20 years ago, she said it took her 10 minutes to drive to work. Now, she says it can take an hour. Turner blames the overdevelopment of her community.

“They are building on every corner,” Turner said. “It is just terrible.”

Populations in Polk and Osceola Counties increased by 25,000 and 15,000 people respectively from 2020 to 2021.

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In response, a community member started a petition calling for county leaders to stop issuing permits to developers looking to build in the area until Old Lake Wilson Road is widened.

Osceola County is working on a project to widen the road from Sinclair Road south to County Road 532.

However, it’s only in its planning phase at the moment, which won’t end until 2023. The road work isn’t scheduled to start until 2025.

In the meantime, Debora Turner remains on age.

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“It’s heart-wrenching,” Turner said. “It’s scary just to pull out of the development.”

So far the petition has gained 1,000 signatures.

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.