Horizons West should be a cautionary tale of mismanaged growth for Central Florida

There was a well done story in the paper this morning regarding the challenges of the residents in the Horizons West area, that comes from terribly managed growth in the Soutwestern Orange County community that brushes up against Disney (story HERE).

Poor traffic conditions, overcrowded schools and not enough commercial amenities for residents. A trifecta of poor community building stemming from bad decisions and greed. An example of “Slam and Cram” development at it worst.

You see, developers and the lobbyists donate large amounts of money to political campaigns and in return they get to build, build, build.

Schools, services, and roads. Not their problem.

My heart goes out to the residents there. The bad traffic means less time to get their kids ready for a day in an overcrowded school, and less commercial services which only make things harder when everybody gets home in the evening.

These obstacles strain family relationships. That’s often overlooked.

Meanwhile developers are laughing all the way to the bank.

And when Horizons West is eventually full, they’ll move to another part of Central Florida.

And then they’ll build, build, build again.

The solution would be slower, more calculated growth. Although, I haven’t seen that recently in Orange County. And sadly we’re unlikely to learn from our mistakes. Orange County residents just aren’t in tune and many don’t believe they can make a difference. After all, how can they compete with that much money?

And there are no easy solutions. “Be patient” says those who aren’t dealing with overcrowded conditions everyday and are profiting from the mess. Even after the improvements are eventually completed the development will just increase the needs for more roads and schools leading to more traffic and overcrowding.

Another sad aspect is that on the other end of the housing spectrum there are families that can’t afford a place to live in Orlando as it continues to suffer from an affordable housing crisis (story HERE).

On one end we have people in Orange County that can’t afford housing and on the other end we’ve got people that can afford it but are put in positions to fail by poor development.

What a mess.

Let’s hope that residents in other areas will become aware of how poorly managed growth can affect their community and let’s also hope that Horizons West eventually balances out an provides a better quality of life for residents.

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