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Friday, November 20, 2015

Universal Studios and 'concerned citizens' send out anti-Skyplex mailers

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 4:56 PM

  • Photo via Save Our Orange County Community website

The bad blood between Skyplex, the $460 million planned development that includes the world’s tallest roller coaster, and Universal Orlando got a bit uglier this week.

For those of you who haven’t been following this story, Skyplex is the brainchild of developer Joshua Wallack and plans to include a 570-foot-tall polercoaster, a 700 ft tall Skyscraper, a 450-foot SkyFall drop tower, a surf park and the world's largest Perkins on International Drive.

A group affiliated with Universal has been sending out mailers against Skyplex and made a website against the project called Save Our Orange County Community that currently lists 25 concerned residents and Universal opposing the project. 

According to the site: 

“On December 1, your Orange County Commissioner will vote on a request by a Miami Beach developer that would change the character and face of our community forever. This project will result in noise and light pollution, as well as more traffic at the heavily congested intersection of Sand Lake Road and International Drive.

Standing at 700 feet, nearly 50% taller than any structure in the county, this enormous proposed ‘Skyplex’ tower will be seen for 30 miles.

Commissioners are being asked to bypass current regulation and allow this project, setting an ominous precedent for future projects of this magnitude.

The Orange County Planning and Zoning Commission has already said “NO.” Now, please ask Mayor Jacobs and Commissioners to do the same and vote no on the Skyplex exception.” 

The group also has a petition, which currently has 376 signatures, asking that Orange County “limit the height of the Skyplex tower to 300 feet based on the distance of the attraction from its neighboring communities, and the overwhelming amount of light pollution it would impose on those who call Dr. Phillips home.” 

Skyplex launched its own petition in October, which collected 1,550 signatures, to let Skyplex become a "symbol of Orlando." 

The animosity between these two goes back to when the Orange County Planning and Zoning Board denied 4-3 Wallack’s development, overriding county staff who actually recommended the project. When they were still trying to appear friendly to Skyplex, Universal said they supported the project, but didn’t think it was compatible with the size and scope of International Drive.

Skyplex responded by calling Universal a “bully” who needs to “play nice.”

Oddly enough, Orlando’s City Planner Dean Grandin showed up to this meeting to ask the board for a delay on the project. City staff told the Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell that Universal asked about the city speaking at meeting, but didn’t ask them to take a position.

The Orange County County Commission still has to vote on the project in December, so until then, we'll probably hear more about this rivalry. 

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