(1) The “Wekiva Parkway” means any limited access highway or expressway constructed between State Road 429 and Interstate 4 specifically incorporating the corridor alignment recommended by Recommendation 2 of the Wekiva River Basin Area Task Force final report dated January 15, 2003, and the recommendations of the SR 429 Working Group that were adopted January 16, 2004.
(2) The Wekiva Parkway and related transportation facilities shall follow the design criteria contained in the recommendations of the Wekiva River Basin Area Task Force adopted by reference by the Wekiva River Basin Coordinating Committee in its final report of March 16, 2004, and the recommendations of the Wekiva Coordinating Committee contained in its final report of March 16, 2004, subject to reasonable environmental, economic, and engineering considerations. For those activities associated with the Wekiva Parkway and related transportation facilities which require authorization pursuant to part IV of chapter 373, the Department of Environmental Protection is the exclusive permitting authority.
(3) With the exception of the road commonly referred to as the Apopka Bypass, the construction of any other limited-access highway or expressway that is identified by the Final Recommendations of the State Road 429 Working Group adopted January 16, 2004, within the Wekiva Study Area shall adhere to transportation and conservation principles identified within the Final Report of the Wekiva River Basin Coordinating Committee dated March 16, 2004. If any other limited-access highway or expressway is considered within the Wekiva Study Area, then such a project shall adhere to the extent practicable with transportation and conservation principles identified within the Final Report of the Wekiva River Basin Coordinating Committee dated March 16, 2004.
(4) Access to properties adjacent to SR 46 shall be maintained through appropriate neighborhood streets or frontage roads integrated into the parkway design.
(5) In Seminole County, the Department of Transportation shall locate the precise corridor and interchanges for the Wekiva Parkway consistent with the legislative intent expressed in this act and other provisions of this act.
(6) The Central Florida Expressway Authority is hereby granted the authority to act as a third-party acquisition agent, pursuant to s. 259.041 on behalf of the Board of Trustees or chapter 373 on behalf of the governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District, for the acquisition of all necessary lands, property and all interests in property identified herein, including fee simple or less-than-fee simple interests. The lands subject to this authority are identified in paragraph 10.a., State of Florida, Office of the Governor, Executive Order 03-112 of July 1, 2003, and in Recommendation 16 of the Wekiva Basin Area Task Force created by Executive Order 2002-259, such lands otherwise known as Neighborhood Lakes, a 1,587+/-acre parcel located in Orange and Lake Counties within Sections 27, 28, 33, and 34 of Township 19 South, Range 28 East, and Sections 3, 4, 5, and 9 of Township 20 South, Range 28 East; Seminole Woods/Swamp, a 5,353+/-acre parcel located in Lake County within Section 37, Township 19 South, Range 28 East; New Garden Coal; a 1,605+/-acre parcel in Lake County within Sections 23, 25, 26, 35, and 36, Township 19 South, Range 28 East; Pine Plantation, a 617+/-acre tract consisting of eight individual parcels within the Apopka City limits. The Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection, the St. Johns River Water Management District, and other land acquisition entities shall participate and cooperate in providing information and support to the third-party acquisition agent. The land acquisition process authorized by this paragraph shall begin no later than December 31, 2004. Acquisition of the properties identified as Neighborhood Lakes, Pine Plantation, and New Garden Coal, or approval as a mitigation bank shall be concluded no later than December 31, 2010. Department of Transportation and Central Florida Expressway Authority funds expended to purchase an interest in those lands identified in this subsection shall be eligible as environmental mitigation for road construction related impacts in the Wekiva Study Area. If any of the lands identified in this subsection are used as environmental mitigation for road-construction-related impacts incurred by the Department of Transportation or Central Florida Expressway Authority, or for other impacts incurred by other entities, within the Wekiva Study Area or within the Wekiva parkway alignment corridor, and if the mitigation offsets these impacts, the St. Johns River Water Management District and the Department of Environmental Protection shall consider the activity regulated under part IV of chapter 373 to meet the cumulative impact requirements of s. 373.414(8)(a).
(a) Acquisition of the land described in this section is required to provide right-of-way for the Wekiva Parkway, a limited access roadway linking State Road 429 to Interstate 4, an essential component in meeting regional transportation needs to provide regional connectivity, improve safety, accommodate projected population and economic growth, and satisfy critical transportation requirements caused by increased traffic volume growth and travel demands.
(b) Acquisition of the lands described in this section is also required to protect the surface water and groundwater resources of Lake, Orange, and Seminole counties, otherwise known as the Wekiva Study Area, including recharge within the springshed that provides for the Wekiva River system. Protection of this area is crucial to the long term viability of the Wekiva River and springs and the central Florida region’s water supply. Acquisition of the lands described in this section is also necessary to alleviate pressure from growth and development affecting the surface and groundwater resources within the recharge area.
(c) Lands acquired pursuant to this section that are needed for transportation facilities for the Wekiva Parkway shall be determined not necessary for conservation purposes pursuant to ss. 253.034(6) and 373.089(5) and shall be transferred to or retained by the Central Florida Expressway Authority or the Department of Transportation upon reimbursement of the full purchase price and acquisition costs. (7) The Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Protection, the St. Johns River Water Management District, Central Florida Expressway Authority, and other land acquisition entities shall cooperate and establish funding responsibilities and partnerships by agreement to the extent funds are available to the various entities. Properties acquired with Florida Forever funds shall be in accordance with s. 259.041 or chapter 373. The Central Florida Expressway Authority shall acquire land in accordance with this section of law to the extent funds are available from the various funding partners, but shall not be required nor assumed to fund the land acquisition beyond the agreement and funding provided by the various land acquisition entities.
(8) The Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District shall give the highest priority to the acquisition of the lands described and identified in subsection (6) for Florida Forever purchases.