Orange County officials will hold a community-wide town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at Windermere High School, 5523 Winter Garden-Vineland Road, Windermere.
Representatives from the area’s emergency services, Orange County Public Schools and local government will be present. The meeting will begin with a presentation, and all officials will be available to answer questions. Also in attendance will be Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey.
“There’s so much going on in our district that we try to get out there at least once a year,” VanderLey said. “Now, you can access all of that information via our apps that Orange County has all the time, but I think it’s helpful for people once a year to get all of us in the same room together and let us go over what’s coming up and then ask questions.”
The meeting is one of three town halls conducted in District 1. One is in Dr. Phillips, one is in Horizon West, and another will be held later in the year in the Williamsburg area. The goal is to keep people in the community up-to-date with changes going on in each particular area, VanderLey said.
“These are very beneficial for us in Orange County, too, because not only are we sharing what’s coming up, but we’re hearing about the concerns of the residents and then we’re able to formulate plans to address those concerns in very tangible ways,” VanderLey said.
VanderLey mostly expects to discuss infrastructure issues. She believes these are the problems people feel first.
This was the case in 2018, when concerns were raised by residents about not only road construction but also a lack of fire stations in Horizon West. This conversation led to the opening of a temporary station, Fire Station 44, in April. Also raised last year was the concern of a congested three-way intersection between Summerlake Park Boulevard, and Ficquette Road and Reams roads.
Because of the rapid population growth, what was once a rarely used road is now causing traffic issues in the residential area. Orange County officials have installed temporary stop signs as they wait for parts for a traffic light to arrive for installation, VanderLey said.
Their issues come in part from budget constraints on the county’s end, because property taxes aren’t collected until the end of the year, she said.
VanderLey also pointed out the timeline disparity between building houses — which can take anywhere from six months to a year — and roads — which, including planning, can take about six years.
Cynthia Dailey, publisher of the Horizon West Happenings Community Lifestyle Guide, said residents have told her they believe stop signs are not enough. She said residents still are unsatisfied with the amount of traffic in the area and the behavior of other drivers at the intersection.
Dailey said school openings also will be discussed.