By Anna Vishkaee Eskamani
Last week, we all got an early Valentine’s Day gift when the proposed mass development of the Lake Pickett area was officially postponed.
Just to recap: this proposed development area is alongside the communities of Grande Preserve at Cypress Lakes and Corner Lakes Estates. The plan for this area could include more then 4,000 family homes, along with 1,000 apartments and some 700,000 square feet of commercial space. With Colonial Drive the way it is today, the thought of 5,000 new homes is nauseating, not just because of the traffic it would cause (like it isn’t bad enough), but also because our health, safety, and local environment would each be negatively impacted.
This postponement of the development plans was sudden, but unfortunately it wasn’t through the actions of our local government; in fact we haven’t heard any strong comments from our elected county commissioners or Mayor on this issue at all. Instead, the proposed construction plans were set on a three-month pause because their largest developer, Lennar Homes, decided to call it quits and leave the project.
No one really knows why Lennar Homes made the decision to withdraw their proposal, but I like to think that the over 3,700 signatures on Save East Orlando’s Change.com petition had something to do with it.
These extra three months can be called a victory for more responsible development and urban planning, but the fight isn’t over yet. Please sign Save East Orlando’s petition, spread the word, and stay tuned for more updates from the East Orlando Post on this critical issue.
Now a graduate student at UCF pursuing master’s degrees in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, Anna works full-time at Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando as their External Affairs Manager. She continues to be involved with many advocacy groups, including United Global Outreach through her work in the community of Bithlo. She is also a board member of several organizations, including the Orange County League of Women Voters, Orange County Democratic Executive Committee, and the UCF Women’s Studies Advisory Council. A lifelong feminist, Anna is excited to find even more ways to empower others and give back to her community.