Saturday, December 24, 2005

James W. Holton, DFAF and Fowler Mall

Originally posted as "Florida Dept. of Community Affairs throws wrench in Sembler's plans for Fowler Mall"

The Winter Garden city council voted to let Sembler build a monster-sized open-air shopping center despite the objections of their own constituents who live out there. But now the state Department of Community Affairs has told Winter Garden it will cost the city $ 6 million and neighboring Ocoee $ 5 million to let Sembler build there. That money is required to widen S.R. 50 (state road 50) where the sought-for development would be. But it's worse for Sembler. Thanks to a new law enacted this year and proposed by state Rep. Randy Johnson, R-Celebration, Sembler might have to fork over $ 9 million for the road widening. Johnson's law requires developers to share in the cost of growth managment to build projects they will profit from.

But it could have been even worse for Sembler. Already the state transportation agency made available about $28 million for right-of-way acquisition along S.R. 50. And TRIP (the Transportation Regional Incentive Program) is another state pot of money that has set aside $30 million for projects in the local DOT region that includes Orange County. But officials warn it's unlikely all those funds will be used for Sembler's pet project.

Perhaps it is worth noting that Jeb Bush appointed James W. Holton, a Madeira Beach real estate developer and attorney with beachfront holdings, and a big Republican contributor, to the Board of the Florida Transportation Commission.The Florida Transportation Commission is a nine-member body created by the Legislature in 1987 to provide oversight of the Florida Department of Transportation and to advise the Governor and Legislature on transportation policy issues. The Commission also serves as a search committee for the Secretary of Transportation. Today James W. Holton is chairman of the Florida Transportation Commission and also a board member of Drug Free America Foundation (formerly Straight, Inc.)--Mel and Betty Sembler's drug policy foundation. (Here's where Holton sits among the folks who decide how and where Florida's highway money will b e spent.) Read Orlando Sentinental Story.

Holton Contributions

Holton, James W. $25000 to REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE on 05/14/03
Holton, James W $25000 to REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE on 03/19/04
Holton, James $5000 to REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA on 07/03/03
Holton, James $495 to REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA on 08/20/03
Holton, James $4505 to REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA on 08/26/03
Holton, James $2500 to REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA on 03/05/04
Holton, James $5000 to REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA on 04/05/04
Holton, James $17500 to REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA on 06/15/04
Holton, James $2500 to MIDNIGHT SUN POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE on 07/25/03
Holton, James $2500 to MIDNIGHT SUN POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE on 06/25/04
Holton, James W. $2000 to FRIENDS OF KATHERINE HARRIS on 09/22/04
Holton, James W. $5000 to DEMOCRACY BELIEVERS PAC (DBPAC) on 06/04/04
HOLTON, JAMES W. $2000 to BUSH-CHENEY '04 (PRIMARY) INC. on 07/07/03
HOLTON-P, JAMES W $2000 to FRIENDS OF JOHNNIE BYRD on 10/14/03
Holton, James W. (Holton Companies) $1000 to FRIENDS OF CONNIE MACK on 06/22/04