Subaru: Don't Kill Orlando's Last Urban Forest

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We the People are very unhappy that Subaru, which claims to “loves the Earth,” is seeking to build a Subaru car dealership in Orlando’s last urban forest.  


We the People are very unhappy that Subaru has applied to remove this last forest out of its current conservation zoning in order to build a Subaru car dealership. There are many other suitable sites in Orlando that can be recycled and repurposed and used as a car dealership.   Please do not destroy Orlando’s last remaining forest.


We the People wish to bring to Subaru’s attention that this last forest is in the headwaters of the Little Wekiva River; is part of the protected Wekiva Study Area as designated by the Florida Legislature pursuant to Florida Statutes Chapter 369, Part III and is also designated as “Tier One Protected Wetlands” by the City of Orlando.


We the People wish to bring to Subaru’s attention that this wetland forest and its wetlands are classified by the state as vulnerable and more vulnerable aquifer recharge areas for the Wekiwa Spring. The geology of this area creates a conduit for groundwater from these wetlands to travel underground into the aquifer that provides the water for Wekiwa Spring. The City of Orlando is already allowing the destruction of other portions of this recharge area. As a result, a critical point has been reached in which any further destruction to the aquifer recharge area will, in all likelihood, have a significantly negative impact on the water flow of Wekiwa spring by decreasing its already low flow rate.


We the People wish to bring to Subaru’s attention that this wetland forest is the last refuge for numerous federal and state protected species such as wood storks, Eastern Indigo Snakes, Snowy Egrets, Tri-colored herons, Little Blue Herons, and Swallow-tailed kites. This forest also provides flood protection and water quality benefits to the Little Wekiva River.


We the People wish to bring to Subaru’s attention that, for decades, this forest has surrounded an African American neighborhood; removal of this forest will increase the air pollution problem that this community is currently facing as the City of Orlando allows developers to destroy the other portions of this forest in spite of the community members’ protests. The destruction of this forest has created a serious environmental justice problem in Orlando that Subaru may want to consider before embroiling itself in the problem.

Please see the following link:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/florida-poor-black-neighborhood-air-pollution_n_5a663a67e4b0e5630072746e


We the People wish to bring to Subaru’s attention that we are discouraged and disheartened that the various federal, state and local  designations and laws for this land mean nothing to the Orlando City Commission and Mayor Buddy Dyer, who are speedily permitting the destruction of this last remaining forest through their approval of several other developments that are destroying this forest. 


We the People wish to bring to Subaru’s attention that during the 2018 and 2019 Florida Legislative Sessions, citizens proposed legislation to fund acquisition of this land in order to ensure its permanent conservation. Unfortunately, the City of Orlando sent lobbyists to ask legislators to kill the bill, and so it was.


We the People respectfully request that Subaru honor its promise to “love the Earth” and abandon its application to rezone this property, abandon plans to destroy precious acres of the last of the remaining Little Wekiva wetland forest and help our community to save this sensitive site rather than paving it over to build a car dealership. 


We the People further request that Subaru aid and assist us in our quest to provide permanent conservation protection for this last forest so that future generations can enjoy and benefit from this critical green space.

Thank you for considering our request

Aretha Simons-Candidate for Mayor of Orlando