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Water-Related News

Sprawl foes lose battle over Econ River growth

The battle over the Econlockhatchee River, a fight to keep urban development from spreading east of the winding river, was won Tuesday night by developers who want to build 4,000 homes in the Lake Pickett area.

Commissioners, who sat through more than seven hours of testimony — an overwhelming majority of it opposed to two proposed megadevelopments — voted 4-3 to change the county's comprehensive land-use plan to allow the projects in an area considered to be largely rural.

Commissioner Ted Edwards, whose district includes the Lake Pickett area, rejected the view that what is rural should stay rural.

If that concept held, he said, "we wouldn't have UCF, we wouldn't have Research Park, we wouldn't have Disney."

He was joined in his yes vote by commissioners Bryan Nelson, Scott Boyd and Victoria Siplin.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who voted no, said the proposed changes offered a better plan for growth in east Orange than all others in the past.

"Being better doesn't necessarily mean it's right," said Jacobs, arguing the river should remain as the urban-rural boundary in east Orange.