Orange Code will dictate development regulations for county

West Orange and Southwest Orange residents gathered to gain insight into the regulations at a recent town hall meeting.

This image shows Orange County’s population growth through 2050.
This image shows Orange County’s population growth through 2050.
Courtesy photo
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Anticipating a population increase of 500,000 by 2030, Orange County is rethinking how and where the community should grow.

The county hosted a series of town hall meetings for each district, where residents gathered to gain insight into the county’s proposed new land development regulations: Orange Code.

The District 1 meeting took place Tuesday, April 30, at Windermere High School. More than 30 residents attended to voice opinions on topics such as open space, transportation planning and roads, zoning and lot sizes, and planning and zoning terminology.

District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson said she is looking forward to the future and ensuring the county has caught up with the goals and vision of the community. 

“I hope that we keep going down this path, because I think the dialogue we’re having is so important,” she said. “I love my district, because I feel like we have an unbelievable wealth of experience, background differences and knowledge, and what that means is when we all get together, some really great things happen. I know that many of my residents who have been involved in planning for a really long time have a protective stance, because they feel like applications come in and they affect their way of life. My hope is this process becomes very predictable and that with all the information that comes out it makes more sense when there’s a change in any type of land use, because we know if it was there and part of the plan. That predictability means stability, which also brings good economic development.”


Every city and county has land development regulations that describe where and how new buildings and communities may be built. 

Orange County’s land development code was written in 1957.

Orange Code will be the new land development regulations that focuses on placemaking standards and context-based regulations. 

This form-based code relies on desired development characteristics rather than what communities seek to avoid.

While the Vision 2050 comprehensive plan dictates land-use types and where growth will occur, Orange Code will help shape the form of the local urban fabric by fostering predictable built results and a high-quality public realm.

County staff said the plans aim to protect the region’s natural resources, preserve the county’s diversity, address the multimodal transportation needs, and achieve predictable and compatible growth patterns.

The meeting began with county staff providing an overview of Orange Code and form-based code, discussing how it aligns with Vision 2050 and providing a breakdown of the draft document. 

Transect zones will replace the county’s existing zoning districts in its development code. There are six transect zone identifiers — natural, rural, sub-urban, general, center and core — as well as secondary identifiers.

Additionally, zoning requirements will be easier to interpret using the zone standard tables.

Next, during the public engagement portion of the meeting, county staff broke out into stations for residents to visit and provide input, which included framework, public work and environmental protection, zoning, and interactive portals.

The Orange Code zoning map is available through the Gridics Mapping Platform, which enables users to interpret and visualize how municipal zoning rules and ordinances apply to specific properties throughout Orange County.

When searching for a parcel through Gridics, users can check for their respective transect zone, applicable overlays, lot coverage, setbacks and many more site specific standards.

Staff and residents then came back together to meet as a group, where moderators from each station summarized comments and questions received by the community.

Residents voiced thoughts on public transit, impact fees and affordable housing. Community members living in the Avalon Rural Settlement expressed concerns on how the new code could potentially impact the protections the area currently has. 

The first initial draft review for the new code started in 2019, and the county now is at the fourth draft review, which started in September 2023. This draft currently is undergoing staff review.

Orange Code and Vision 2050 are both expected to go before the County Commission for approval in September.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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