Quick takes ― S.R. 417 construction noise, big-truck ban and a pause on fireworks sales vote

Public speaks up to quiet down State Road 417

Former Winter Springs City Commissioner Michael Blake, a namesake of one of the city’s roads, spoke up at the most recent City Commission meeting to voice concerns about and suggest solutions to the noise of the proposed State Road 417 widening in Seminole County. The development would affect Winter Springs and Oviedo residents.

Blake brought up road noise quieting measures not mentioned during a presentation on April 11, including alternate road materials that could quiet tire noise and special noise-reducing devices under bridges.

“As I sit in my backyard and I listen to where more noise as opposed to less noise is coming from and it’s actually at those two bridges,” Blake said, referencing bridges at Red Bug Lake Road and S. R. 434. “Where that wall is ending is an elevated point in the roadway,” he said.

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The wall he referenced was proposed by a Florida Department of Transportation study in 2016 that would be built along the western edge of S.R. 417 next to Tuscawilla’s Chelsea Woods and Seneca Bend neighborhoods.

Other residents spoke up about the noise as well, hoping for a longer wall that would possibly extend all the way north to the Cross Seminole Trail or beyond.

Public information sessions about the expansion are tentatively scheduled for late June.

Seminole County talks about banning trucks from more roads

Road construction that has led 18-wheelers to use roads in a residential area sparked a discussion about banning heavy trucks outright from more roads in Seminole County at a Seminole County Commission meeting April 12.

Commissioner Andria Herr said that trucks using Longwood Markham Road were causing issues for residents there. She requested the county look into adding signs to S.R. 46 barring trucks from using the road. But when she proposed making that an item for a vote at a future meeting, Seminole County Commission Chairman Bob Dallari said he wanted to add even more roads to that discussion, including one of Oviedo’s most heavily-traveled roads.

Dallari said he’d prefer to “look into it holistically” to make sure that 18-wheelers weren’t pushed into other neighborhoods when they’re banned from some roads. City staffers mentioned that the county does already have some rules regarding where heavy trucks can drive. Dallari suggested holding off on any votes until the county could consider all roads that could be impacted.

“If you’re asking if I have an objection, I vehemently object,” Herr said. “This is an immediate need for this community. We have been messing around with this quite honestly since the day I got in office.”

A vote to put the item on a future agenda passed by a 3-2 margin, with Dallari and Commissioner Jay Zembower objecting.

Dallari noted after the vote that he would like to discuss possibly barring heavy trucks from using Lockwood Road, which spans Oviedo and parts of Seminole County, and Snow Hill Road east of Oviedo.

Oviedo fireworks sale ban vote tabled

In discussing ways to deal with future violations to the city’s policy that the sale of sparklers is allowed while consumer-grade fireworks are not, the Oviedo City Council explored denying outdoor sale permits to repeat violators and confiscating illegal fireworks on Monday night.

Fire Chief Mike Woodward told the Council that confiscation was not possible because they would need a bomb shelter-like structure to safely house explosives.

The Council had considered implementing a six-month ban on the issuance of city permits to sell sparklers to give City Attorney David Hall time to further research the issue. Instead, the Council voted 3-2 to postpone a vote on that ban until they have more information.

Hall said vendors typically apply for their outdoor sales permits around this time of year in order to be ready for business by the Fourth of July.

In previous meetings, city officials said vendors who have applied for sparkler permits, namely Big Bang Fireworks, have purposefully sold consumer-grade fireworks when enforcement officials weren’t watching. These fireworks are illegal to buy in Florida, unless a person signs a waiver saying they’re going to use the fireworks to scare away birds for agricultural purposes.

During a February code enforcement magistrate hearing, it was noted that a violation notice was only delivered to the folks who owned the property where Big Bang had set up their tent: Tee It Up on East Mitchell Hammock Road, which kept Big Bang from getting into trouble.

At Monday night’s meeting, City Manager Bryan Cobb said the city would issue the violation to both parties in the future – the permit holder and the property owner.

Woodward said selling fireworks creates safety issues as the use of fireworks result in injuries and deaths every year nationwide.

Council members in previous meetings have acknowledged that Oviedo residents can go to neighboring municipalities that do not have such a ban to buy fireworks but that this issue is also about folks not respecting city rules and having appropriate consequences for that.

“You’ve got to have a process,” Councilman Jeff Boddiford said.

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