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News To Use / Safe Routes to School

PRESS RELEASE: Orange County School Siting Ordinance moves ahead for approval

February 23, 2017 – After more than two years of collaborative effort between OCPS and Orange County Government staff, a revised version of the School Siting Ordinance will be considered by the Board of County Commissioners next month.

At Thursday’s work session, the Orange County School Board reviewed the draft ordinance, which would modify a code adopted in 1996, and only applies to school sites within unincorporated Orange County.

Highlights include:

  • Charter schools will be covered by the new siting ordinance, including acreage minimums, height and location criteria
  • High schools will be prohibited in rural settlements
  • A new provision that, where practical, OCPS should provide connectivity to existing pedestrian access from a residential neighborhood
  • Changes to site size minimums. Elementary schools would drop from 15 acres to 7 to 11 acres, depending on school size and location. Middle/K8 schools would drop from 25 acres to 12 to 16 acres, depending on location. High schools would drop from 65 acres to 40 to 50 acres, depending on location.
  • Landscaping requirements already in OCPS design guidelines would be added to the ordinance
  • Requires OCPS to protect and preserve mature trees to the extent possible

School Board Member Christine Moore requested that a joint review of the siting ordinance every five years be considered for the final version.

“I’m so grateful that we have been able to work with our county partners as we make these long overdue changes,” said School Board Chairman Bill Sublette. “Hopefully having a new siting ordinance in place will help us avoid future conflicts.”

The draft ordinance will go before the Board of County Commissioners for a first reading on April 11. On April 25, it will go back to the BCC for a second reading and potential vote.


(For more information, please contact Lauren Roth, OCPS Facilities Communications, at 407.317.3774)

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