Diaspora News

Environmental advocates to speak out against planned Split Oak Forest road project

Environmental advocates are planning to once again speak out against a project to extend a toll road through a protected forest in Orange and Osceola counties...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

During a meeting on Tuesday, opponents of the plan will appeal the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is scheduled to discuss the issue.

Valerie Anderson is the president of Friends of Split Oak Forest and plans to address the state board during public comment.

It’s the ability to defend conservation land from toll roads in the future. That’s on the table,” Anderson said.

Split Oak, which spans over 1,700 acres, was originally set aside for conservation. In December 2019, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and four Orange County commissioners approved an $800 million toll road through it.

In 2020, Orange County voters passed a referendum opposing the road and on Nov. 27 commissioners voted 6-1 to withdraw support for the project.

“That’s excellent. That means the commissioners have heard the will of the voters,” Anderson said.

However, the Florida Communities Trust Board in April 2022 unanimously approved the project to extend a toll road through Split Oak Forest.

The plan from the Central Florida Expressway Authority calls for a 1.3-mile shortcut through Split Oak.

The route is favored by developers who agreed to donate more than 1,500 acres of land for conservation if the $264.4 million project moves forward.

Opponents like Anderson would like to see a route around the forest, which would add about $100 million to the cost of the project.

For the shortcut through Split Oak to move forward, FWC would need to release easements through that portion of the forest.

FWC will discuss the easements during their 9 a.m. meeting on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.

About the author

Baba Voss

A Prolific Writer, Vast In Series of Publications Basically on Politics, Entertainment, Sport, Life Style, Fashion, Business, Technology, Health, History etc.

Leave a Comment