The Fight for the Rural Boundary

What is the Rural Boundary?

The Rural Boundary was established by voters in 2004 to protect the natural lands and areas that make Seminole County “Floridas Natural Choice”.

  • The Rural Boundary is made up of 74,413.87 acres
  • It includes Black Hammock, Little Big Econ, Geneva, Chuluota and the Econ River 

2/4/19 Litigation Update

The Court granted in part and denied in part Seminole County’s Motion to Dismiss.  In order to support their allegations of racial discrimination, River Cross put forth statistics which showed that the population of minorities is different within and outside the Rural Boundary.  However, the Court agreed with Seminole County that River Cross was required to put forth a causal connection between the Rural Boundary and/or the decision regarding River Cross and the population statistics, and that River Cross did not do so.  River Cross does have an opportunity to amend their pleading to fix this.However, the Court found that River Cross did sufficiently plead that the Rural Boundary and the decision on River Cross had a segregate effect on the community.   This was not a finding that the Boundary or decision do in fact have the effect, only that it was sufficiently plead.  River Cross’ action goes forward under this theory.  The County will in response need to show that the Rural Boundary and the decision regarding River Cross were necessary in order to achieve a substantial and legitimate interest, and that those interests were not motivated by discrimination.  If the County does so, River Cross will then try to respond by showing that the County’s interest can be achieved through a practice which has a less discriminatory effect. 

In summary, the lawsuit goes on and continues to be a threat to the Rural Boundary and to our effort to keep parts of Seminole County natural.

Litigation Timeline

  • Case filed against Seminole County on 10/2/2018 on behalf of River Cross development.
  • County responded with Motion to Dismiss on 10/24/2018
  • Plaintiff’s opposition to Motion to Dismiss filed on 11/14/2018
  • Seminole County filed additional support for its MTD 2/4/2019               
  • Motion to Dismiss not yet ruled on Case ordered to mediation on 11/27/2018
  • Mediation deadline is 11/15/2019.  Don’t know when mediation is set, or if it is set.
  • Discovery deadline is 11/1/2019
  • Plaintiff expert deadline is 8/1/2019
  • Defendant expert deadline is 9/3/2019
  • Set for trial on 4/1/2020 

River Cross

  • Proposed River Cross development of 670 total acres behind the protected Rural Boundary. 
  • It includes 520 single-family homes, 270 townhouses, 500 apartments, 80 estate homes & 1.5 million square feet of commercial space.  
  • Development on and over the environmentally sensitive Econ River. 

The Ramifications

  • Developers will have legal precedent to fight the Rural Boundary and build developments on any protected land beyond the boundary.
  • Habitat destruction for alligators, bears, bobcats, gopher tortoises, bald eagles and many other animals.
  •  Pollution and destruction of the Econ River and all Wilderness areas connected

We Need Your Help!

Please show your support and follow us.

  • Follow Save Rural Seminole on Facebook (Save Orange County is the neighboring opposition group working in tandem with the Seminole group)
  • Join the Chuluota/East Seminole Community Page on Facebook
  • Register to vote. Voters must be registered 29 days prior to the election in order to vote. July 30 – Deadline for voter registration in order to vote on August 28 October 8 – Deadline for voter registration in order to vote on November 6
  • Contact the St Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), where the project is under review NOW and voice your opposition (there is a place “to comment or receive notifications” here)
  • Email the Seminole County Planning & Zoning Board asking them to oppose the River Cross development. Feel free to use the points above.
 Michelle Ertel, Chairman – michelleertel@me.com 407-432-0709
 Richard Jerman – rjerman@sunterracommunities.com 407-221-7040
 Matt Brown – browncon76@aol.com 407-782-4061
 Jennifer Dane – jdane@jenniferdanelaw.com 407-312-0503
 Carissa Lawhun – carissa@flarealtyinvestments.com 
 (or her assistant Mandi mchapman@flarealtyinvestments.com) 407-288-5102
 Jeanne Miller – jeanne.mmiller@hotmail.com 407-432-5454
 Rob Wolf – rjbwolf@gmail.com 407-765-1010
  • Email the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners asking them to oppose the River Cross Development. Again, feel free to use the points above in the “Why should I care?” section. In the same email, ask that they put a referendum on the November ballot to strengthen the current boundary. The referendum must include clear language that the current boundary stays if the referendum is not passed in November.
 Bob Dallari – kedenfield@seminolecountyfl.gov
 John Horan – jspry02@seminolecountyfl.gov
 Lee Constantine & Carlton Henley – gvenn@seminolecountyfl.gov
 Brenda Carey – stucker@seminolecountyfl.gov
  • VOTE August 28, 2018! There are 3 ways to vote in Seminole County:
  1. Vote at home by mail
  2. Vote before election day at one of the early voting centers
  3. Vote on election day at The Clubhouse between 7am-7pm
  • Learn about the candidates running for District 2 and District 4 County Commissioner on the November 6, 2018 ballot (incumbents John Horan and Carlton Henley are not seeking re-election). 

Candidates Durso and Zembower have both accepted substantial campaign contributions from River Cross developer, Chris Dorworth.

VOTE November 6, 2018! This particular election is critical as far as who is elected to the Board of County Commissioners for District 2 and District 4. 

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