February 22, 2015
Dear Fellow Winter Park Voter,
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I am a Winter Park resident committed to reasoned governance for our city. I am paying for this letter with my money. I have served on city boards for eight years, having been a member of the city’s Code Enforcement Board, and currently serving on both the Tree Preservation Board and Planning and Zoning Board.
While elections tend to be emotionally driven and lack substance, I hold Winter Park to a higher standard; a standard based on knowledge of the circumstances, policy substance, and results.
Based on my knowledge Cynthia Mackinnon’s campaign for mayor is based on completely false narratives and offers no policy substance.
- Mackinnon says: “The current leadership has approved buildings that are out of scale – too massive and too dense.”
Uninformed. If Mackinnon had the opportunity to vote “NO” on the mass and density of these projects the city would be spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money paying developers not to build what they are entitled to build under the rules. The mass and density of every project approved in the past several years along Denning and on 17-92 was either grand fathered as a result of 2006 city commission approvals before the Comprehensive Plan was changed in 2009, or was consistent with the current Comprehensive Plan. If you want to blame somebody for the 2006 approvals it is not “current leadership.” See “History of recent developments” for links to source material.
- Mackinnon says: “New developments on 17-92 have been built with no consideration for parking or pedestrian safety.”
False. The developer of the “Trader Joes” project was not given final certificate of occupancy for all buildings until parking was provided to code. This same developer has now provided an additional 20 parking spaces above code AND has agreed to pay for a complete redo of the Morse/17-92 intersection to address pedestrian safety when the former “Mount Vernon” property across the street is developed (which the developer now owns). Further, the city cannot impose parking requirements in excess of code. See “History of recent developments” for links to source material.
- Mackinnon says: “The current leadership promotes one project after another that have little, if any, community support, including a professional baseball stadium adjacent to residential neighborhoods, and a massive apartment complex on Denning which is out of character with our community.”
Uninformed. The city commission does not decide what projects are promoted. Property owners do, just as you decide what kind of house you live in.
“Current leadership” asked city management to evaluate the possibility of combining the baseball needs of Rollins College and the Brevard Manatees minor league baseball team at various locations in Winter Park (see page 6). The evaluation ended when the Orange County Commission did not consider extending the Winter Park CRA as a funding mechanism and as Rollins College decided not to proceed.
The Denning apartment complex was approved for R4 zoning in 2006 and the developer is entitled to that zoning (4 story residential), just as you are entitled to build a single family home on your R1 residential property. It seems Mackinnon wants to return to those days of yesteryear when city cash reserves (accumulated with your tax dollars) went to zero to pay developers not to build what they have the legal right to build. See “History of recent developments” for links to source material.
- Mackinnon says: “We are losing our tree canopy with only one tree being planted for every three trees that are removed.”
False. The facts regarding our tree canopy are extremely positive exactly because of the actions of “current leadership.” Mackinnon’s numbers refer only to street trees, not trees on private property which require replanting upon removal and 2 for 1 replanting for trees removed over 19 inches in diameter. The 3 to 1 street tree removal to replanting ratio is an old number and a function only of timing. We are removing some trees planted on our right of ways some 50 – 70 years ago because they have become dangerous. “Current leadership” voted last September to increase the 2014-15 replanting budget by $100,000 (total $250,000) to begin to catch up the removals for safety purposes with new replanting (see page 12). As of December 2014, 93.5% of all street tree locations have trees planted. Most importantly, “current leadership” supported the first street tree management program in the 138 years of our existence. We are proactively managing our street tree canopy for the first time and, combined with “current leadership’s” commitment to electric under-grounding, can expect our street trees to provide a significantly healthier and larger canopy over the next 10-20 years.
I refer you to these city management reports for the facts: Tree Planting Report December 2014 and 4Q2014 Performance Measurement Report (see page 4).
- Mackinnon Says: “And, we are facing traffic gridlock.”
False. The city’s recent capacity report (see page 8) shows that traffic counts on our major roads stayed relatively constant between 2005 and 2013 and in several cases went DOWN. Ms. Mackinnon offers no solutions to problems she fabricates. The fact is that the vast majority of traffic in Winter Park is generated by the 2,000,000 people living around us, either visiting or passing through.
It is very disappointing that Mackinnon has chosen to campaign on completely false narratives, narratives that mislead the people of Winter Park. Also, Mackinnon’s decision to pursue the politics of personal destruction with her negative mailers damages our city. The person we want as Mayor of Winter Park needs to be a positive and forthright advocate of the varied interests of our citizenry, someone more interested in a vital and viable future for our city than in empty critiques of the past.
Based on my knowledge Steve Leary should be Mayor of Winter Park. Leary’s narrative is supported by the facts, his policy contributions have substance, and he has proven he gets results in his four years serving as our Commissioner and Vice Mayor.
- Leary is the only candidate with proven experience overseeing our $150 million annual city-wide budget.
- Leary has consistently voted to keep our property tax rate from increasing (see page 6).
- Leary supports building our cash reserves to 30% of general fund expenses, saving money for an uncertain future and protecting our service levels while balancing the city budget (see page 338).
- Leary secured $400,000 in State funding to improve Mead Gardens.
- Leary consistently supports both our city-wide electric under-grounding program and the street tree management program (he helped bring about), demonstrating a clear vision of how these two program will vastly improve our street tree canopy and the overall character of Winter Park well into the future.
- Leary was instrumental in initiating $12 million in State funding to underground electric lines on Fairbanks between I4 and 17-92. The process of finalizing this opportunity is underway with contract negotiations between Duke Energy, FDOT, and the city.
- Leary led the effort to revitalize the Cady Way pool complex, recently voted the best public pool in Orlando Weekly’s “Best of Orlando” poll.
- Leary has consistently supported sidewalk dining.
- Leary led the effort that stopped the 500% pay increase. (see page 5).
- Leary led the effort that overturned fees for using the dog park at Lake Baldwin Park (see page 5).
- With Leary’s support the city has been successful in securing a $1,137,500 grant to begin construction of “quietzones” at 12 major intersections in Winter Park. These improvements are expected to dramatically reduce horn noise from Sunrail and other trains going through Winter Park.
While Mackinnon offers us false narratives, Leary offers us a proven leader of substance, a positive professional who respects and acts on the facts, who is forth right with the citizenry, and who has made sound decisions significantly benefiting our city.
The contrast could not be clearer. Steve Leary has earned our vote for Mayor on March 10th.
Yours Truly, Peter J. Weldon
I can be reached at 407.212.7850407.212.7850, [email protected] and through winterparkperspective.org. Florida Statute 106.071(2) requires the following: Paid political advertisement paid for by Peter J. Weldon – 700 Via Lombardy – Winter Park, FL 32789 independently of any candidate or committee.