They’re Ba-ack! Part-2: Widening Lake Pickett Road Detrimental for Property Owners

After writing my first article, “They’re ba-ack!,” where I compared the “evil spirits and strange forces” in the thriller Poltergeist to developers who are going to bring more traffic and congested roads to rural east Orange County, I wanted to see how widening Lake Pickett south from two to four lanes would impact my property.

I armed myself with a tape measure, wood stakes, orange tape, fluorescent paint and a hammer and “staked” out 45 feet (widening the road to four lanes will require a total road width of 90 feet) from the current roadway center line to identify my “new” property line.

Here it is. The fluorescent stakes (to my immediate right) delineate the new boundary. In addition to the land, I lose the cypress trees and perimeter fence, everything with an orange ribbon. The four broken poles leaning against the fence (visible lower left corner) are the result of motor vehicle mishaps (we have several each year) usually caused by DUI and/or excessive speed.

Drivers routinely obliterate our mailboxes. Occasionally, vehicles go airborne after leaving the road and entering the drainage ditch. Some of these have impacted telephone poles and trees, destroying the vehicles. My collection of broken car parts continues to grow.

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for southbound vehicles (especially motorcycles) coming from the Percival/Pickett split to reach speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour by the time they pass our home. When they crash, it’s usually further south on Pickett, closer to the plant nursery. In the 14 years I’ve lived on Lake Pickett south, I’ve never seen a police presence for speed enforcement, only post-accident response. I hesitate to contemplate the outcome of four-laning the Lake Pickett ‘speedway!’

Now, imagine a not-too-distant future where 11,000 additional homes are built in east Orange County. It can be done because there’s plenty of undeveloped land. You know they’ll be back again — and again. They want it all.

By Mark A. Bernhardt, Resident Observer