In 1982 the English punk rock band The Clash asked the question, “Should I stay or should I go?” The residents of Fisher Plantation face a similar issue in 2017, “Should we continue to purchase services from Orange County or is it time to switch to the City of Apopka?”
The City of Apopka made the case for annexation during an hour-long question and answer session at City Hall yesterday. The 160 registered voters who are residents of the 80 homes in Fisher Plantation have until April 11th to return their ballots and vote either for or against annexation.
According to Fisher Plantation HOA President, Susan Pettingill, the process to be annexed into the City began almost two years ago when the developer turned the subdivision over to the homeowners association. Fisher Plantation is located west of Schopke Lester Road.
“At the first HOA meeting I asked people if they thought we should be in the city,” Pettingill said. “Most of the homeowners thought we were already in the city since they were getting Apopka water bills.”
Pettingill, who was with the Apopka Fire Department for nearly twelve years, knew better.
“We decided to wait until after the elections,” said Pettingill.
The meeting began with an introduction by James Hitt, Apopka’s Community Development Director. Hitt explained the annexation process, which requires a majority of the votes cast. He also reminded those present that the move to the city would save residents $75 per year.
He took great pains to point out that, while the Orange County Fire Rescue Department provides excellent service, geography favors the Apopka Fire Department. Indeed, three existing Apopka Fire stations are significantly closer to Fisher Plantation than the nearest Orange County Fire Station, which is in Zellwood. He also reminded everyone that Apopka was the first fire department in Florida to provide ambulance services, which began in 1966.
Apopka Police Chief Mike McKinley then discussed APD’s capabilities. Several of the residents indicated that on-street parking was the biggest issue in Fisher Plantation. McKinley explained Apopka’s recently-adopted parking ordinance, which was designed to ensure easy access for emergency vehicles.
Fisher Plantation residents have until 5:00 PM on April 11th to return their ballots to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. If the proposed annexation is approved, the residents of Fisher Plantation will join the City if Apopka on April 21st.