Orange County Board of County Commissioners held an update on Hurricane Ian during their October 11 meeting. The update included presentations by each department in Orange County followed by a question and answer session where Commissioners could ask specific questions to each department. The session lasted close to 3 hours.
During the session, Commissioner Wilson, who represents District 1 which includes Horizon West, drilled into Public Works, developers, and the permit process on flooding in Horizon West. The Commissioner also called out the hypocrisy of the BCC for calling to help and prevent future flooding at OrlaVista, while also just recently approving 57 new homes surrounded by wetlands at Reams & Ficquette. Commissioner Wilson also asked for unified communication to residents on specific local issues, such as road closures, and to create a plan for the future.
Reams Road is discussed around the 30 minute mark and again at 1 hour 35 minutes.
The section of road currently closed is elevated, but sits between two wetland sites. Due to the large volumes of rain during Hurricane Ian, both north and south wetland sites flooded and reached levels higher than the existing roadway, which necessitated the road closure. It hasn’t been until the water level of the entirety of the southern wetlands subsided that Public Works could start pumping water from the north to increase the flow rate. The Reedy Creek Improvement District controls the property to the south, and while Orange County reached out for their assistance, it is unknown if they took any actions and when contacted by Horizon West Info, they replied that they have no statement.
Public Works did not offer a timeline for when the road will re-open, but did state that once the water subsides, the road will most like need repairs before being opened. Staff is now monitoring the road daily. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office stated in an email to Commissioner Wilson that the road cannot be reopened until cars do not need to cross the double yellow line to avoid standing water, which would cause hydroplaning.
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