BREAKING: Ocoee Mayor announces retirement

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  • | 9:34 p.m. July 7, 2015
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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OCOEE -- At the end of the July 7 Ocoee City Commission meeting, Mayor S. Scott Vandergrift announced his retirement as mayor, effective at the end of the month.

"As of the 31st of July, I will be tentatively retiring," Vandergrift said. "It's due to ill health and a couple other things."

City Attorney Scott Cookson said the commission, at the Aug. 4 meeting after Vandergrift's retirement, would need to set a date for a special election for someone to serve the remainder of Vandergrift's term, which ends in 2016. The date would need to be within 90 days of retirement, he said.

District 4 Commissioner Joel Keller said he believed District 1 Commissioner John Grogan, as mayor pro-tem, would become interim mayor as of Aug. 1 and have to appoint someone to replace him. Grogan would then lose his seat once the new mayor was elected, unless that electee would be Grogan, Keller said, although he was not certain that he was correctly interpreting the Ocoee City Charter in that regard.

Cookson said he would examine the matter to determine what actions the commission would need to take.

Vandergrift, an Ocoee native, said he has enjoyed being mayor for about 25 years.


The commission passed an amendment to the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions for Ocoee Business Park, 3-0.

The amended section allows storage, placement and warehousing of operational vehicles on site anytime, but storing vehicles not both operable and affiliated with a business at the site in parking areas is prohibited.

That section previously stated vehicles could be stored, placed or warehoused on site when used to convey people to and from the site, but when left overnight, those vehicles would need to be stored in the park's interior, unseen from roads and walkways within the park.


Because Grogan and District 3 Commissioner Rusty Johnson were absent from the meeting, the commission decided to delay actions on two items until its July 21 meeting.

The first pertained to emergency access systems for gated communities. The commission and city staff have been working on a resolution and an ordinance to mandate all gated communities in Ocoee switch to one system by a certain date. The system is not yet confirmed, but leaders agreed that the system city staff has been leaning toward would be the ideal technology. District 2 Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen and two homeowners association presidents said they were uncomfortable with mandating compliance within a year. The commission discussed changing the compliance time to a date to be determined. The presidents also requested that the city pay for the compliance.

The other delayed item was a decision of whether to proceed in negotiations with Charter Schools Development Corp. on their unsolicited offer to buy nine-and-a-half city acres near the intersection of AD Mims and Clarke roads for $1.6 million. City staff reported an appraisal value of $1.37 million for that parcel, the largest among about 12 acres of city property there worth $2,203,000 altogether. That represents 63% of the city's $3.5 million purchase price from Dec. 29, 2006.


  • Vandergrift proclaimed July as Parks and Recreation Month.
  • The commission extended its agreement with Rural Metro for ambulance services by 12 months. Service will cost fee payers, not the city, with rates determined by the commission. Ocoee Fire Rescue use of supplies, medication and equipment for delivering patient care will incur replacement at no cost for the city.
  • Commissioners approved an $8,800 purchase of 0.44 credits from Lake Louisa Mitigation Bank to comply with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers standards for a renewed permit to complete enhancement mitigation for the Ocoee Crown Point Planned Urban Development. The commission approved funding of this project to be matched by Orange County Public Schools when the project is complete this year. The city already had funded half of the $25,000 project.
  • The commission unanimously nominated Keller as its voting delegate for the 89th Annual Florida League of Cities Conference August 13-15 at the World Center Marriott in Orlando.

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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