TALLAHASSEE, FL – A invoice was handed by the Florida Legislature and signed into legislation by Governor Ron DeSantis in February that eliminated Walt Disney World’s capability to successfully self-govern its property and changed it with a brand new state-controlled governing physique.
The legislation eliminated the Reedy Creek Enchancment District – which covers almost 40 sq. miles in Orange and Osceola counties – and changed it with a brand new entity often known as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which might oversee the whole thing of Disney’s theme park points of interest, together with Disney World, EPCOT, and extra.
The five-member board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District was totally handpicked by DeSantis.
Nonetheless, it seems that the Governor’s bid to take over the Reedy Creek Enchancment District – a promise that he made in 2022 after a spat with the leisure large over their public opposition to a state legislation that restricts instructor/scholar dialogue on gender and sexual id in class lecture rooms – has seemingly backfired due to a loophole in the agreement which will strip the brand new board members of almost all of their oversight capability.
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The settlement in query was authorized by the earlier board on February 8, the day earlier than DeSantis assumed management of Disney’s land, and invokes a legislation often known as Rule In opposition to Perpetuities, setting the date for “twenty one (21) years after the loss of life of the final survivor of the descendants of King Charles IIII, King of England dwelling as of the date of this Declaration.”
The brand new settlement grants Disney quite a few and huge powers – regardless of the dissolution of the Reedy Creek Enchancment District – comparable to improvement rights till 2053, in addition to the authority to approve any design enhancements or adjustments.
Ron Peri, a member of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board, stated throughout a gathering on Wednesday that this under-the-radar settlement principally strips him and his colleagues of almost any energy they in any other case would have had over Disney World.
“This primarily makes Disney the federal government,” he stated. “This board loses, for sensible functions, nearly all of its capability to do something past preserve the roads and preserve primary infrastructure.”
Disney has managed the district because it was first established in 1967, which allowed the theme park to deal with its personal 911 calls, hearth safety, the ability grid, planning and land use choices, street upkeep, mosquito abatement, flood management, and water high quality.
Brian Aungst, a member of the board, stated throughout a gathering on Wednesday that a number of legislation corporations have been retained to analyze the present state of affairs.
“We’re going to must cope with it and proper it,” he stated. “It’s a subversion of the need of the voters and the Legislature and the governor. It fully circumvents the authority of this board to manipulate.”
A 3rd board member, Bridget Ziegler, stated that “if illegal actions had been taken, this improvement settlement can be nullified.”