As Orange County prepared Tuesday for a hearing on whether to add more acres to the controversial Lake Pickett projects and change its zoning to move it forward, a protest brewed. The protesters, now that Emily Bonilla won the District 5 race last week, want that hearing to be rescheduled until incumbent Ted Edwards is out of office.
It’s a matter of principle, they say – Bonilla ran on the issue of not letting the projects expand or encroach upon the land.
Because she doesn’t take office until next year, residents say through their petition that the decision shouldn’t be made yet.
The petition had 1,075 signatures as of Tuesday morning, and the county had not yet made a decision whether or not to cancel the hearing as of Tuesday morning, with the hearing scheduled for 2 p.m.
“District 5 residents are requesting that the scheduled BCC hearing on November 15, 2016 for Sustany/Lake Pickett, and other points of interest regarding District 5 be postponed to a later date,” the petition reads, “in order that our newly elected Commissioner Bonilla be allowed to carry the participation of her electorate into consideration involving any discussion, questions, concerns, and decisions that might impact District 5 residents.”
Furthermore, they add, “any decisions/votes that the outgoing Commissioner Edwards might apply with regard to District 5 would represent the very conditions under which the constituents denied his re-election,” and they worry that decisions he makes could adversely affect the residents in the district.
In a letter to the Commissioners, even House District 49 Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith weighs in, saying they should respect the will of the people.
“This issue has empowered and mobilized East Orange County residents like never before,” he wrote. “They have had their voices of opposition heard through emails, phone-calls, office visits, as well as participation in four mandatory community meetings. Despite these efforts to put local democracy in action and build a firm case against this development in their backyards, their Commissioner consistently sided with developers and against the will of constituents.”
Choosing Bonilla over Edwards, Smith wrote, meant they had “overwhelmingly voted for change,” and so he thought the county should deign to hold the decision until Bonilla was in the seat.