This page is intended to be a resource for our constituents to see the policies we have accomplished and those are we continually working on.
Above all, responsible land use is environmentalism. As sprawl continues to create traffic, isolate communities, and more, we are fighting for good land use practices. Schools, roads, parks, police, and fire should be able to handle new residents before the new subdivisions come. We are fighting for this every day.
What we have done
Public Health and Animal Rights
- On June 22, 2021, the Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance banning retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in Orange County. Often, the sale of these animals is fraudulent, predatory, and cruel.
- Many of the stores which sell these animals do not vet their providers and source their puppies from unethical puppy mills out of state. Several stores which sold puppies in Orange County sourced animals from mills and breeders on the Humane Society’s “Horrible 100 List.”
- Additionally, these puppies may be sold for exorbitant prices and may be sick, often only allowed to see the store vet for the first two weeks. While the vet may stall care on the animal, the consumer’s rights under Florida’s Lemon Law expire. So, not only are consumers left heartbroken with sick puppies, but they are scammed.
- I was honored to help champion this ordinance and then defend it in front of Ocoee in October of 2021, while they granted a special exception for a store in their municipal boundaries.
Food System Resiliency
- While we are working towards an ordinance allowing a certain percentage of yards to be edible landscaping, we were able to pass another means to the end goal of food system resiliency in August.
- On August 10, 2021, the Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance allowing up to 4 hens per household in an effort to localize and strengthen food systems. As we have seen throughout this pandemic, our supply chain is fragile. Having more food locally is critical to ensuring public health and wellbeing.
- Find out how the ordinance may affect you and your neighborhood here. To get a permit, one must take a class offered by UF/IFAS, follow coop building guidelines, and have only hens (to avoid the cuckoo of roosters).
- Pro-Smart Growth
- When Case # PSP-20-12-353 came to the Board, I moved to deny it on the grounds of irresponsible development. In the process, I was out-voted by fellow Commissioners who do not know District 1 and it became apparent that many Commissioners are unaware of how our development process works.
- When this development, Case # CDR-21-03-091, came before us, I recognized the opportunity for smart growth. This development was already approved for 300 multifamily units and 300 timeshare units. The question before us was to re-configure the timeshare units to be multifamily, for a total of 600 multifamily units near US 192. My hope is that this will be used as essential workforce housing. This is segment 27 in the BCC.
Bold Goals for Conservation
- On August 10, 2021 I voiced my concerns for the way we value environmentally sensitive lands, which you can find linked to the below photo.
- It has been priority number one in my office to increase the amount of conservation lands owned by Orange County. While GreenPLACE has existed for decades, it has had no meaningful acquisition until September 28, 2021.
- In the Consent Agenda:
- We officially established a GreenPLACE Advisory Board (Item F-1)
- We purchased 24 acres between Lake Pickett Rd and Econlockhatchee River located at 14655 Lake Pickett Rd, Orlando, Fl 32820. It will provide water protection, aquifer recharge, floodplain storage, closes gaps between other publicly owned lands and enhances existing wildlife corridors. This is in District 5. (Item C-16)
- In the budget, we set aside $100 million for conservation land acquisition over the next ten years.
- On September 28, 2021, the Board discussed the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) Program. CPACE helps commercial businesses move towards solar power and other renewable energies by offsetting infrastructure costs.
- We initially had this work session on June 8, 2021 to direct staff to come up with a C-PACE program which provides additional options to finance and repay the costs associated with installing energy efficient appliances on a property.
- Due to concerns about small business accessibility to CPACE funding opportunities, I voted against the proposed CPACE ordinance. I deeply believe in this program as an opportunity to expand potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy, but if we do not allow small businesses to tap into that potential, it will not be successful.
- I look forward to this ordinance coming back when it meaningfully helps our small business community.
Improving Access to Healthcare
- By adopting the Local Provider Participation Fund Resolution, Orange County helped local hospitals offset the cost of treating uninsured patients. Due to Florida’s lack of Medicaid expansion, Florida hospitals and taxpayers pick up more of the bill for healthcare in uninsured individuals. Everyone deserves high quality, affordable care and hospitals should be able to provide it.
- This resolution allowed the hospitals to offset the cost through their own self assessment mechanism. This reduces the financial burden on hospitals to allow them to focus on care.
- Learn more here
- At nearly every Board of County Commissioners meeting, we have seawall permits. In the same breath, we have wetland impacts before us for a development. Each time, I insist that the Board connect the dots between pavement, flooding and erosion.
- For Case # CDR-21-02-038, we had a case where a subdivision received on-site mitigation for its wetland impacts by preserving 44+ acres. The platting did not allow for riparian rights, or ability to build a dock, over the conservation area. Ultimately, although I explained that the County is not and should not be responsible for fulfilling developers’ false promises to their future residents moving from other states, the other Commissioners overrode my vote.
- When Commissioners who have never been and will never go to your district yet are willing to override your vote, it makes the intention of having a District Commissioner obsolete.
- Furthermore, we began updating our Wetlands Code on December 14, 2021. This was the first step in the process which is anticipated to end July 2023. We started by reviewing our existing ordinance. I voiced my concerns with the way we apply our current language in wetland protection, define classifications, review our development process, and more.
- To fight this, please continue to show up and make your voices heard. All Commissioners respond to public pressure.
Where we want to go
Tree Protection Ordinance
- We want to work towards a stronger tree protection ordinance which:
- Protects trees inside HOAs
- Has stronger protections for trees which are larger and older
- Reduces mass grading
- Requires preservation of valuable tree species
- Incentivizes preservation of as many trees as possible
- Creates tighter timelines for development once a permit is approved instead of allowing piles of fill dirt to sit for weeks and pollute our air and water
Strong Fertilizer Ordinance
- Every water body in Orange County is impaired. We are leading the charge on a stronger fertilizer ordinance supported by Sierra Club which would:
- Disallow heavy use of nitrogen fertilizers during the Florida rainy season to prevent run-off or increase percentage of slow-releasing fertilizers
- Improve the cleanliness and safety of our water bodies
Food System Resiliency – Edible Gardens
- We are working on an Urban Agriculture Ordinance similar to that of the City of Orlando. Urban agriculture is essential to upgrade our food system resiliency. As shown by the COVID-19 pandemic, our supply chains can be easily disrupted, causing major issues in our food system, public health, and safety. Having more food locally will ease the pressure on our system.
Protections for Bird Island in the Butler Chain of Lakes
- On October 19, 2021 the County held its first stakeholder meeting to protect Bird Island in the Butler Chain of Lakes.
- I have championed this issue since coming into office. While we are moving the process forward, please stay engaged throughout the coming Work Sessions and Public Hearings