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Controversial Seminole County development up for review

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — A controversial development that would add more than a thousand homes to rural Seminole County is up for consideration by the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday evening.

  • River Cross development proposed to be built on 669 acres
  • Proposed plan also includes restaurants and offices
  • Area residents don’t want the development to disturb quiet way of life

The River Cross development would be built on 669 acres of land west of County Road 419, north of the Orange County line and east of the Econ River.

The project would require the county to move the rural boundary, something that has several residents opposed to the development.

“When I go home at night, I feel the stress leave me the second I go into that area,” said Deborah Schafer with the Chuluota Community Association. “It’s quiet, it’s peaceful.”

Schafer is concerned that the rural way of life will change if River Cross is built.

The proposed planned community includes more than a thousand homes, restaurants and offices.

“We have taken into account how to properly buffer from 419 and some of the surrounding rural areas, but we do feel there is a compelling, both environmental and economic development need within the county for this type of project,” said George Kramer, planner for the River Cross development.

Kramer says the project’s close proximity to University of Central Florida will help attract technology companies and new jobs to Seminole County.

Voters approved the rural boundary in 2004.

A county staff analysis found that the project is “noncompliant and inconsistent with Seminole County’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code.”

Schafer and other eastern Seminole County residents are concerned the project will clog local roadways and hurt the nearby Econ River.

“We’re losing wildlife corridors and the Econ River is one of those wildlife corridors so it’s very important,” said Schafer.

Kramer said the developers plan to preserve and protect the river and the surrounding habitat.

“We have to balance the needs of the environment and needs of economic development for the future of the county,” said Kramer. “It’s important there be more jobs in Seminole county.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the County Services Building in Sanford.

The county commission will consider its recommendation next month when it will make a final decision on the project.

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