Isle of Pines (IOP) Preserve
Back in 2006 there was a plan for a community ("Hampton Bay") to be added at the very end of Lake Mary Jane Rd in the Isle of Pines. The land owner had made plans to put in 100 - 120 homes and access at both LMJ Rd and Lacebark Pine Rd (click on map to the right to enlarge). The entire Isle of Pines combined with Lake and Pine Estates was only 365 homes, so to add another 100 - 120 or more homes would have a significant impact on the community. Most importantly it would increase traffic on LMJ Rd that has no sidewalks or street lights (part of being a rural settlement.) Residents got together and formed the Lake Mary Jane Alliance with a 2 part focus: 1) to look for violations of the rights of a rural settlement (too much traffic, noise, water use, and lack of transition from the existing 5 acre lots to small lots.) and 2) to look for alternate solutions that could turn this situation into a win/win situation for all.
Lake Mary Jane Alliance Volunteers
(click the picture to enlarge)
Residents began their research and found that there was still money available in the GREENPlace program to purchase this small but important 365 acre property since it was in the middle of a wildlife corridor and adjacent to the lake, Moss Park, and the rural settlement! Residents worked with Orange County and got it added to the list of potential properties. When reviewed by GREENPlace, it was moved to the top of the list of priorities and was purchased within a year! This was a huge success, yet residents really didn't know how critical this preservation was until later years. Then they realized that it was up against a portion of Osceola County that is looking to create a huge development and connecting roadways could have turned LMJ Rd in to a very busy street and eventually into a main road! We have learned that one of the most important things to keep our small rural settlement away from sprawl, is to not allow other roads to connect to our long one way in/one way out road.
Over the years the Alliance has continued to grow as we face ongoing development pressures in this area from Innovation Way and Medical City. Even residents from neighboring communities have asked to be a part of our group to help protect the few remaining rural areas left in Orange County.