Thursday, November 4, 2010

Voters Give Smart Growth Mandate to Teresa Jacobs

Source: Orange County Supervisor of Elections
Teresa Jacobs' overwhelming 68% victory for Orange County Mayor translates into one of sweeping geographic scope.  The election results, and the precinct map above, confirm she is Central Florida's most formidable--and popular--public figure. 

In her campaign mailers, Teresa touted her chairmanship of the Central Florida Smart Growth Alliance.

Teresa stated she opposes expanding the Urban Service Area when our population is not growing and so much of our urban core needs redevelopment.  Teresa voiced her opposition to Innovation Way East, which included two miles of one acre homesite sprawl next to the Econ River.   (That was the basis of my "no" vote on the Planning and Zoning Commission). 

On the campaign trail, Teresa promised "frankly, more urban" development for Orange County.  That's a good thing.  Urban means walkability.  It means development patterns shifting to create human-scaled environments like Baldwin Park and Celebration--with safe streets so our kids can walk and bike to school and to interesting places--and less disconnected, traffic-clogged, strip shopping center suburban sprawl based on 45+ mph highways that severely maim or kill our children walking to school and waiting for their school bus.

While campaigning, Teresa spoke of her lost effort in the 1990's to replace a planned arterial highway--Apopka-Vineland Road--with a tamer road that would not have divided her neighborhood.  The experience propelled her into public life. 

At the West Orange Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Candidates Forum, Teresa spoke in favor of a transportation future that is "multi-modal."  At a WMFE debate, she described SunRail as an "insurance policy" to keep our economy moving when we again see gas prices soaring to $4.00 or more. 

  At the Orlando Business Journal's Mayoral Candidates Forum, Teresa spoke of the need for "predictability" in how development appears.  She spoke of the need to streamline bureaucracy so that good development is not stymied.  Form-based SmartCodes, like those adopted by Miami and Denver this year, incorporate both principles and merit her serious consideration.  Orange County staff will come under Teresa's direction in January.  As staff prepares a Unified Land Development Code, you can rest assured that Teresa will read every word and consider every detail. 

The voters gave Teresa a mandate to lead Orange County into a Smart Growth future--and that mandate is as strong as anyone can conceive. 

For more on the principles of Smart Growth, click HERE

Mayor-elect Teresa Jacobs and family.