Zoning battle over possible new school in Winter Garden - FOX 35 News Orlando

Zoning battle over possible new school in Winter Garden

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Some say it's progress versus peace and quiet, and that's why plans to build a new high school in West Orange County face strong opposition from folks who moved away from big city.

Many parents with students at West Orange High School say the school is overcrowded and a new school is needed for future growth, but right now plans for a new school are caught up in a zoning debate.

It was the ribbons versus the red shirts at Friday's Orange County Zoning Board public hearing.  The ribbons want a new high school near Winter Garden. 

However, the red shirts say that would step on their quiet lives, enjoying nature away from the city  Victoria Traut says the new school's parking lot would be right behind her house.

"The quality of our life will be totally destroyed because we are gonna have the noise, we are gonna have lights, we're gonna have traffic," Traut said.

Supporters say a brand new West Orange Relief High School would give their children more space to learn and more opportunities to take part in sports programs.

Marlene Kirtland likes the location. 

"It's convenient for all of the kids in the area to go to that school.  A lot of walkers will be going there.  I believe it's safe and convenient for everyone to get in and out very easily," Kirkland said.

West Orange High School has 38 hundred students.  It's almost at its capacity of 41 hundred.  The school board paid seven million dollars for the land to build a new school just east of the Horizons West development, but that area is zoned as a rural settlement. 

Now the school district wants county commissioners to grant  a special exception to the zoning rules so they can build the school.  School board member Rick Roach says the new school is needed. 

"West Orange High School is bursting out of the seams," he said. 

Orlando is growing, so we always have to build new schools and it's time to build one."

Orange County Commissioners will make the final decision on whether or not zoning will be approved for a new school. They'll make that decision in late October or early November. FOX 35 News will continue to follow this story.



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