Fire Creek Facts

Make sure you know the facts before you form an opinion about Fire Creek. Unfortunately, there is significant misinformation being shared about Fire Creek, much of which are simply scare tactics.

Statement: Some worry that increasing to more than one home per acre would be out of place with the rural settlement of Gotha.

The fact: Multiple developments have been built in the Gotha area with a higher density than Fire Creek. In fact, Fire Creek is surrounded on three sides with neighborhoods of higher densities. To the west of Fire Creek, it is five homes per acre and to the north of Fire Creek , it is two homes per acre. Just  to the east, it is two-plus homes per acre with no parks or green spaces.

In reality, Fire Creek keeps the rural environment of Gotha at its heart. It’s being built to include seven green spaces and parks, centered around the old-growth oaks on the property. On the property line adjacent to Oaks of Windermere, there will be a 10-foot tree-saving buffer. Only nine houses will be built abutting Moore Road and existing oaks there will be preserved. Equestrian-style fencing will be added, along with the addition of old-Florida vegetation and trees to keep the appearance of Gotha history.

Statement: Some worry Fire Creek will start a precedent for other developers.

The facts: As we showed before, the property is nearly surrounded by development with a higher density than Fire Creek. But, there are two main reasons Fire Creek will not be replecated elsewhere in Gotha. First, there are no large pieces of property in Gotha, except this one, to build a neighborhood. Second, Fire Creek has many self-imposed restrictions, such as the traffic-calming roundabouts and the construction of an entry park for the town of Gotha.  The extra investment in these projects is significant and only someone who loves Gotha, like Bob, would agree to these terms.

Statement: Opponents want to scare residents into believing Fire Creek will cause a rezoning of Gotha schools.

The facts: Orange County Public Schools has determined Fire Creek will add, on average, eight students to Thornebrooke Elementary School, Gotha Middle School and Olympia High School . All of the area schools serving Gotha have available seats for students. If these seats are not filled with Gotha students, then a redistricting could occur to fill those available seats with students from outside Gotha.

The issue is that many households in the Gotha area have seen their school-age children grow up and move on, but, because Gotha is such a great place to live, those residents have stayed in their homes and, therefore, there are fewer Gotha students in our schools. Orange County Public Schools will utilize the additional capacity if we don’t.

Statement: Opponents say the two roundabouts are unsafe.

The facts: The U.S. Department of Transportation studied the effectiveness of roundabouts in this study: Their study shows:

  • More than 90% reduction in fatalities
  • 76% reduction in injuries
  • 35% reduction in all crashes
  • Slower speeds are generally safer for pedestrians

Statement: Opponents have said the roundabouts will cause congestion AND cause higher speeds.

The facts: Again, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s study shows the opposite, saying they provide “typically less delay.” These roundabouts are needed as we have no control over the significant number of cars who will be using Gotha as a cut through for 1,000 new homes and apartments just west of Gotha. We already are in gridlock during the peak hours. We must prepare for the future with smart transportation choices

Statement: Roundabouts are dangerous for children walking to school.

The facts: The roundabouts are blocks away from Thornebrooke Elementary and will replace the extremely dangerous intersection of Moore Road and Park Ridge Gotha Road. They will slow traffic down.

This is what Denise Haltom, a school crossing guard said about roundabouts to the DOT: “Personally, I love them, and I’ll tell you why. You only have to stop one lane of traffic, then go to the middle and wait. The cars can’t go much faster than 20 mph through the roundabout so the crossing aspect is great.”

Moore Road Entrance Circle resized