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Orange County pursues conflict resolution over Orlando’s Sunbridge annexation

The City of Orlando's annexation of Sunbridge's northern half of land, which is along State Road 528.
Orange County
The City of Orlando's annexation of Sunbridge's northern half of land, which is along State Road 528.

Orange County commissioners are in a tug-of-war with the city of Orlando over the annexation of a large piece of land.

On Tuesday, county commissioners voted unanimously to begin a conflict resolution procedure with Orlando regarding the city’s recent annexation of half of the Sunbridge area, which is located along State Road 528 and east of the Orlando International Airport.

The Orlando City Council voted unanimously Monday on an ordinance to annex the second half of the Sunbridge land. It will have to go through a second reading of the ordinance next month before the annexation is approved.

Commissioners were opposed to the annexation. District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson expressed concern over what the disagreement symbolized for the county’s relationship with Orlando.

“This is, to me, sort of the biggest indication that that partnership is only good for when they want money, not for when the county is concerned about growth management and protecting our own residents in the future,” Wilson said.

Wilson asked how much money the annexation would cost Orange County taxpayers, but the answer was unknown at the time.

Over the next five days, city and county administrators will begin the conflict resolution. Then over the next 30 days, city and county staff will attempt to broker an agreement. If one is not met, then a joint meeting between elected officials will occur.

If there is still no resolution, then either party can request mediation, but according to assistant County Attorney Andrew Mai, the dispute could fall before a judge.

“If there's no resolution if mediation has held, then the county is authorized to challenge the annexation ordinance by writ of cert in court within 30 days of failure to resolve the conflict. And then we go through the normal writ of cert process,” Mai said.

Orlando’s next City Council meeting is scheduled for May 13.

Originally from South Florida, Joe Mario came to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with degrees in Radio & Television Production, Film, and Psychology. He worked several beats and covered multimedia at The Villages Daily Sun but returned to the City Beautiful as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel where he covered crime, hurricanes, and viral news. Joe Mario has too many interests and not enough time but tries to focus on his love for strange stories in comic books and horror movies. When he's not writing he loves to run in his spare time.
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