Residents have taken to social media regarding an online poll to vote on new names for villages in Horizon West. This started as a second vote was announced for names on Village F, which is located along Siedel Road, due to the lack of a clear winning in the initial vote Approximately 600 votes were cast in the first poll. Many residents stated their displeasure with the options available and the process in which it was taking place. Due to the push back in the comments on Facebook, moderators shut off comments for a temporary period of time, which upset residents even further.
How did this get started?
Voting for new village names was initiated by the Horizon West Happenings website, which operates the Horizon West magazine, upcoming Horizon West Fest, and numerous Facebook Pages. This group is practically everywhere in Horizon West and does a great job encouraging residents to get involved in their community. Users following one of the organizations Facebook pages or in their group were notified of a campaign to rename several villages in Horizon West. Users were asked to submit ideas, and then voting began on Feb 3. Based on initial Facebook post to vote and one comment posting about the lack of choices, engagement and interaction was low, indicating many residents in Horizon West simply had no idea this process was taking place. When a second vote was then announced, with names people didn’t like, in a process many residents were not aware of, engagement quickly exploded as residents chimed in.
What will happen with the results?
It’s not exactly clear what will happen once voting ends and the winners are announced. In several Facebook posts, Horizon West Happenings has stated that winners will be announced at their upcoming Horizon West Fest with an “Orange County representative on stage”. The organization has not stated how they will proceed after the names are announced and how Orange County will respond. It’s also questionable if elected officials would support any new names that are submitted from an online poll by a few hundred people.
Do village names even matter?
In our opinion, for most residents, no, these village names no longer matter. While the intent of creating new names is to give residents a better name than a generic village letter, most communities in Horizon West have been developed into large-scale HOAs that come with their own names. For example, the village name for Hamlin is “Town Center”, not “Hamlin”. The name “Hamlin” was created by Boyd Development to be the brand name for the town center. It’s possible to live outside of Hamlin, but still live in Town Center, but what would most people refer to the area as? Hamlin. Another example is Storey Grove and Waterleigh. These are two large-scale residential developments that regardless of the name of the “village”, most people will refer to their community name as to where they live.
Village F is the only village without any type of dominant name, which further complicates the vote-off for the area. Village F does not have a single large-scale residential development, and some neighborhoods are a patchwork of different builders and HOA names. Village H is already named Hickory Nut, which is listed on the map next to the name Village H, and Village I will most likely be associated with Flamingo Crossings as it is developed and Western Way expands to connect to Avalon. At the end of the day, the developers control the names of their projects, and community involvement may not be as large-scale as desired.
Voting on the Village F ends tonight, so there should be more information soon if any of the process will change. Based on comments made by Horizon West Happenings, they have been receptive to suggestions on the naming process, so we’ll have to wait and see what they decide to do. In one of their comments, they stated, “we have no agenda other than being a positive force in the process of Horizon West becoming the best version of its masterplan that it can.” With this mindset, it’s good to see active participation and discussion among neighbors through an organization that is focused on improving our community.
This post was updated on 2/13 to better reflect the situation based on facts.
If you receive a public hearing notice or zoning change request in the mail, please share it in the Horizon West Development Discussion Group.