UCF clears 1st hurdle to develop arboretum
The University of Central Florida got approval from the St. Johns River Water Management District to remove the conservation easement on 8 acres of arboretum land and is now awaiting state approval.
The arboretum area had a conservation easement on it, preventing development. The water management district approved lifting the 8-acre arboretum easement in exchange for putting an easement on a 17-acre parcel, also on the main campus.
UCF wants to use the arboretum site for “academic facilities,” but no solid plans are in place yet and the school would still have to get water management permits to build there. The swap has to be approved by the board of trustees for the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of Florida.
“This new parcel is more ecologically valuable because it’s bigger, it has the same amount of wetlands, and it has more uplands,” said Hank Largin, spokesman for the St. Johns River Water Management District. “And uplands are more valuable to preserve because you can build on uplands.”