A ruling issued Tuesday provides some clarity in the ongoing controversy surrounding where to locate a relief school for West Orange High School.
Judge Alice L. Blackwell, of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, ruled in favor of Orange County Public Schools’ right to build the relief school on the contentious site on County Road 535 in West Orange County.
The judge’s decision explained that Orange County commissioners improperly denied OCPS’s application for a special exception to build a school on the land it owns, which is located just inside the West Windermere Rural Settlement. Orange County is referred to as defendant in the ruling.
"Orange County's Comprehensive Plan, as well as its codes, enacted pursuant to state law, mandate that (the) plaintiff be allowed a special exception for this property for the purposes of a school," Blackwell wrote. “Further, (the) defendant failed to provide any advance notice to the Plaintiff that it would not follow the Public School Siting Regulations and, therefore, (the) defendant may not ignore the requirements of the Orange County Public School Siting Regulation and Comprehensive Plan in considering the application of the Plaintiff for a special exception to construct a high school on the plaintiff s property at issue in this case.”
“In light of the judgment issued by the court, OCPS looks forward to resolving the related outstanding issues with Orange County, and swiftly providing a relief high school for West Orange County," district officials said in a prepared statement.
A copy of the ruling can be viewed here: Relief School Judgment