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Southwest Orange Thursday, Mar. 12, 2020 2 years ago

Horizon West road faces dumping dilemma

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Residents and county officials are fighting recurring dumping issues at Summerlake Groves Street near Watermark Terrace.
by: Tim Freed Former Managing Editor

A neglected portion of Summerlake Groves Street is finally getting cleaned up — but will dumping issues persist?

Resident Robert Smith, who lives nearby in the new Watermark Terrace community, said he has seen items left along the road ever since he and his girlfriend, Sharon Roznowski, moved into their new home in December.

That includes a love seat, a recliner, bags of trash and numerous other items.

The segment of Summerlake Groves Street — which connects with Seidel Road, loops around the Watermark Townhomes and connects with the road again — was once the original Seidel Road. It’s been neglected since the new Seidel Road was constructed nearby.

“It has not been maintained since the new road was installed,” Orange County officials said in a statement Friday, March 6. “Orange County Public Works has started to coordinate the removal of illegally dumped trash from the right of way area. There will be a crew working (Saturday, March 7), and they are going to start piling up the debris for removal. Orange County Public Works will continue the cleanup and mowing next week as time permits.”

Smith said he was pleased to see the cleanup effort over the weekend.

“It’s a huge relief, because Sharon and I were just talking that we have family coming in town next week and the week after, and we can actually drive them down that road to come to our home without being ashamed of where we live,” Smith said.

Orange County has picked up many of the items, but there is a concern that the dumping will continue along the road moving forward, Smith said. Even in just the few months he and Roznowski have lived nearby, the trash continues to appear, he said.

“They’re still dumping — it’s not like this was a one-time deal,” said Smith, adding that a large pile of fencing material was dumped just last week. “This is a continuing problem. I have no reason to believe it’s going to stop.”

The county should continue to monitor the roads and keep them clean, he said.

“We can’t go out and pick up wheels and tires and couches and love seats and farm equipment and throw it away — there’s a limit,” Smith said. “It’s not something that an old crippled guy and school teacher can do in the back of their Chrysler 300. We’ve cleaned as much we can and we clean all the time, but there’s only so much that we can do.”

The trash and dumping of items along Summerlake Groves Street has extended beyond just along the street, Smith said. There also are trash, tires and other items left in the woods just south of Summerlake Groves Street. That dumping is taking place despite signs posted by the Orange County Environmental Protection Division and the South Florida Water Management Division telling residents not to dump items there.

“It’s nice that they say that, but it’s not nice that the county doesn’t enforce it or that they don’t even bother to send someone out once a month or once a year or however often to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t right — we’ve got to clean it up,’” Smith said.

With the Watermark Terrace community still under construction, Smith said there’s a trash problem in the new community, as well. Workers sometimes throw their garbage into the streets or trash gets blown away in the wind from overflowing Dumpsters.

Much of the trash was in Smith and Roznowski’s backyard.

“On move-in day, my brother, Ron, spent about four hours picking up trash and he had four large lawn bags,” Smith said.

The community’s HOA did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

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Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. 

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