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SaveOrangeCounty.org’s Plan is a Bad Deal for Wedgefield


SaveOrangeCounty.org proposes to incorporate essentially all areas east of the Econlockhatchee River, except for Deseret Ranch Holdings owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in an effort to prevent uncontrolled growth in East Orange County. This is a BAD DEAL for Wedgefield for five primary reasons.

1. Wedgefield is completely surrounded by the Hal Scott, Pine Lily and Long Branch Preserve as well as Deseret Ranch Holdings. While the Preserves are extremely unlikely to be developed any time soon, parts of the Deseret Ranch Holdings are being developed and according to their communications, most of it will be developed over the next 50 years. Deseret Ranch Holdings is NOT part of the “New Town” proposed by SaveOrangeCounty.org; therefore areas adjacent to Wedgefield are not really affected by looming growth.

2. In the event that SaveOrangeCounty.org is successful in its endeavor, then Deseret Ranch Holdings becomes a bigger prize for developers since the “New Town” encumbrances do not apply to this large tract of land adjacent to Wedgefield. Additionally, the planned and on-going improvements to 408, Highway 50 and the 528 would only provide greatly improved access to Wedgefield adjacent areas. The likely result would be to hasten the development of this prized real estate, essentially sacrificing areas directly connected to Wedgefield to maintain minimal growth in the “New Town” properties.

3. Zoning inside of Wedgefield is essentially set, so large-scale development inside Wedgefield is very unlikely. Development inside of Wedgefield is unlikely to be affected in any significant way either with or without SaveOrangeCounty.org efforts.

4. Taxes – Orange County will still collect taxes, as will the new town. Orange County has no obligation to reduce taxes in the “New Town” area since the SaveOrangeCounty.org pitch is to keep services the same for 5 years. New taxes will be collected for the “New Town” functions. Infrastructure such as a Town Hall or other municipal functions will require additional revenues and they will grow because cities grow as do the burdens placed by the cities: Fire Halls, Police Stations, municipal buildings, City Hall. As our tax burdens increase with property values, the number of tax collectors will increase as will the burdens that require servicing in the burgeoning “New Town”.

5. While the current folks driving the SaveOrangeCounty.org initiative may have honest intentions given the revenue pressure issues raised above, it is very possible, if not likely, that the next generation of politicians will be just as susceptible or even completely succumb to the lure of campaign donations by developers and substantially increase revenue available from developer activities, thus rendering the entire SaveOrangeCounty.org growth mitigation strategy moot. This likelihood leaves the residents of the “New Town” with little more than an extra layer of regulation and a second level of local taxes.

The views and opinions expressed in this web article are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of The Wedgefield Homeowners Association, Directors, and/or any/all contributors to this site.