Nicole Wilson – lawyer, environmentalist and mom
Commissioner Nicole Wilson is a licensed attorney who works in public interest and has helped individuals and non-profit environmental organizations navigate local, state and federal laws. Nicole believes that everyone has equal rights under the law and is committed to working on behalf of the underserved members of our community.
Nicole was born and raised in Gainesville Florida and moved to Central Florida over 20 years ago. Nicole received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and human services from Mercer University, and law degree from Barry University School of Law. Her legal studies included a concentration on environmental and earth law, and she gained practice experience in Barry Law’s Environmental and Earth Law Clinic and Advanced Clinic she went on to be named Associate Editor of the Environmental and Earth Law Journal and was awarded an Honors Certificate in Environmental and Earth Law.
What my district means to me
Being a Florida native, I have always treasured the natural beauty of Florida, which is why I decided to obtain a degree in environmental law. I aim to preserve the natural beauty of my home and hope that others who come to Florida will have the chance to do the same.
My husband and I moved to District 1 over 20 years ago. We live in a place that encompasses vibrant metropolitan areas as well as natural corridors and open space. In my opinion, that is what our district is — a mesh of civilization and natural beauty. My goal as Commissioner is to champion for smart growth — balancing sustainable development of our economy while respecting the limits of our natural resources.
Another aspect of my district that I treasure is the diversity in people. With differences in people’s race, ethnicity, language, gender identity, and income, I am challenged to make decisions that benefit all of those who reside here. Every day, I’m driven by the notion that I am working as an elected official for the people. The well-being of my constituents and all Orange County residents is a priority. I strive to be transparent, available and to listen to my constituents’ concerns; for without you, I would not be here.
Avalon Rural Settlement:
The Lake Avalon community was designated a rural settlement by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners in May 2004. Limited neighborhood, commercial and office uses are allowed in the area to support the community’s residents. With its history dating back to the 1920s, the Lake Avalon rural settlement designation helps to ensure that this community’s legacy remains in place for the next several decades, while maintaining and enhancing the community’s quality of life. Orange County Board of Commissioners designated the Lake Avalon community a rural settlement in May 2004. Limited neighborhood, commercial and office uses are allowed in the rural settlement to support the community’s residents. With its history dating from the 1920s, the Lake Avalon community is a cornerstone of West Orange County. The Lake Avalon Rural Settlement designation will be responsible for keeping alive this community’s legacy for the next several decades.
This neighborhood is named after a lake that we can find in the Magic Kingdom. Bay Lake is controlled by the Walt Disney Company. Paragraph 2- History: Prior to the arrival of Disney, Bay Lake was named Riles Island, and used as a hunting retreat by Florida business executives. Disney had big plans for the island, originally imagining an elaborate pirate-themed retreat named Blackbeard’s Island.
This bustling area of residences, businesses, restaurants and upscale shops is one of the most popular places to live in Orange County. Dr. Phillips was very strong in the citrus industry and responsible for some innovations on the packing of orange juice. The community was named after Dr. Philip Phillips, a pioneer in the citrus industry who eventually sold the bulk of his property to Minute Maid in the 1950s. The property he owned in southwest Orange County was sold to developers who built Bay Hill subdivision as well as other neighboring communities. This area has experienced explosive growth in the last 30 years, due largely to the location of two key local industries: tourism and defense. Dr. Phillips area has been able to maintain its superb quality of life by timely upgrades of the infrastructure and controlling growth.
Lake Buena Vista:
At the heart of our booming tourism industry, Lake Buena Vista is a municipality controlled by the Walt Disney Company. Beyond Disney’s gates, visitors can find everything from dining to shopping to nightlife and more. Restaurants with delectable cuisine from around the world and dinner theaters to delight young and old with shows, music, comedy, dancing and even medieval jousting are found in every corner. Several golf clubs are also located in this vacation hotspot making it an ideal destination for all families. It was located fully inside the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The city was controlled by Walt Disney Productions and allowed it powers that other area attractions had not had. The city was completely moved, taking over some land that had been part of the City of Bay Lake and including some other land that had formerly been unincorporated.
The City of Ocoee is a shining example of the notion that growth and history can be successfully blended. Once a sleepy city founded after the Civil War by confederate soldiers and their families, Ocoee has grown into the third-largest city in Orange County. In the mid-1850s, the settlement began when Dr. J. D. Starke led a group of slaves into the area .Dr. J.D. Starke established a village known as Starke Lake situated on the body of water of the same name. After the Civil War, confederate soldiers and their families founded the town of Ocoee. Ocoee has come a long way since 1881, when Captain Sims acquired a 74-acre parcel of land in what is now considered downtown Ocoee. Since then, Ocoee has been inviting people to share in its beauty and good fortune and now is home to more than 34,000 people.
The history of Orlando dates back from 1838 and it’s the county seat of Orange County. It is the third largest metropolitan area of Florida, only losing to Miami and Tampa. It was the height of the seminoles war which was a conflict between the US Army and the Native American group called the Seminoles that occurred from 1816 and 1858. Orlando now have an estimated city population of 287,442, making it the 71st-largest city in the United States. History is not as clear on where the name Orlando originated. There are four stories that are told. One involves Judge James Speer, who worked hard in getting Orlando as the county seat, naming Orlando after a man who once worked for him. Another is that Speer named it after a character from Shakespeare’s, “As You Like It”. A third version has Mr. Orlando on his way to Tampa with a caravan of ox.The final theory is about a company of soldiers on duty during the height of the Seminole Wars.
Horizon West is a new community located in southwest Orange County designed using the principles of Garden Cities and New Urbanism to create self-sustaining, mixed-use villages. This community is facing developments, such as: environmental preservation, excellent architectural design, quality bicycle and pedestrian facilities and vibrant community gathering places. Horizon West includes nearly 23,000 acres of former citrus groves until the devastating freezes of the 1980s, which created the impetus to institute appropriate master planning for the area’s urbanization over time. This process began in 1994, when property owners and area residents, with county support, created a detailed community vision for Horizon West. When completed, Horizon West will include 42,000 residential units, five residential villages and a town center to serve Horizon West’s villages with commercial office workplaces and higher density residential areas.
Nestled among mighty oaks and peaceful lakes in West Orange County is the community Town of Gotha. Gotha is located between Windermere and Ocoee. The town of Gotha was founded in 1885 by German immigrant H. A. Hempel. Hempel Avenue, the “main street” of Gotha, is named in his honor. After buying 1000 acres, the majority of acreage still designated as United States Territory, he laid out a town and named it after his birthplace of Gotha, Germany. Gotha has been protected as a rural settlement for decades and as a historical preservation district since 1995.
Only a portion of the MetroWest community lies in District 1, with the other portion in District 6. The 1,805-acre mixed-use community features a prominent main entrance situated on MetroWest Boulevard off of Kirkman Road and is a diverse, cultural neighborhood of families, professionals, students and businesses. The neighborhood was developed in the 1980s by Debra, Inc., an Orlando-based developer, as a business, commercial and residential community. It has more than 9,600 residential homes and includes a range of housing options featuring single-family homes, apartments, townhomes and condominium complexes. MetroWest is managed by the MetroWest Master Association (MWMA), a corporation formed by Debra, Inc., which has the overall responsibility and right in maintaining the standards of all common areas located within the community.
Town of Oakland:
Oakland is surrounded by enormous moss-draped oak trees and is located on the southern shores of Lake Apopka. Incorporated in 1887, Oakland now has about 2,200 residents within its quiet, serene country atmosphere. During a time of great growth in the region during the 1880s, Oakland emerged as the center of commerce in west Orange County, and in 1887 the town was incorporated. Unfortunately, a fire in the business district and a subsequent period of freezes in rapid succession throughout the 1890s, along with the growth of nearby Winter Garden seemed to ensure that Oakland would remain as little more than a sleepy village. Growth was slow to come.
Town Of Windermere:
The town of Windermere is known as a luxury place. Pristine sand bottom lakes surround this small West Orange community. The boating enthusiast will revel in the system of canals that connects eight lakes known as the Butler Chain of Lakes. Today, more than 2,300 people inhabit the Town of Windermere, but the town’s focus is on preserving its natural history and strong community atmosphere. In fact, many of the town streets remain unpaved to continue their commitment to retain the pristine nature of the Chain of Lakes. Windermere has been named “Tree City USA” for its commitment to a natural environment for 10 consecutive years. Windermere was bestowed its name from Dr. Stanley Scott, whose father purchased 160 acres in this picturesque location in 1885. Dr. Scott built his home on the shore of Lake Butler, and it is believed by many that he named this town after England’s famous Lake Windermere.Windermere was established as a residential development in 1889 and chartered in 1925.
Tildenville is considered one of the oldest and smallest cities in Orange County. This community is famous for its rich family histories and events that build over the time a very important heritage. Luther F. Tilden came to Orange County from the north in 1875. He purchased 561 acres in an area in unincorporated Orange County later named Tildenville and became a leading citrus grower. Tildenville started being developed from that time.
Williamsburg, during the 70s, was a place surrounded by empty lands and a great amount of animals. Later on, The Williamsburg Homeowners Association was instituted and, in all, seven villages including pools, tennis courts and clubhouses were built consisting of more than 3,000 homes. The Williamsburg community was named after William Jaird Levitt, whose family built four Levittowns, each a planned community, between 1947 and 1951. All four Levittowns are widely regarded as the archetypes for 20th century suburban development.
Winter Garden is known as a modern-day Mayberry by its residents. It is a community that transmits energy to everyone who goes there. It is a charming and comfortable place for the residents and for its visitors. It is a place for growing families and businesses, a place to relax and embrace new ideas and opportunities. Settlers began arriving in the Winter Garden area by the 1850s, attracted by the fertile muck land that bordered Lake Apopka. Citrus and vegetable farming were very popular during that time. By the end of the 19th century, Winter Garden’s business district had significantly developed. Winter Garden was established in 1903 and officially incorporated as a City in 1908.