Here’s how all 3 Oviedo mayoral candidates think the city should manage growth

Voters will pick between three mayoral candidates Tuesday

OVIEDO, Fla. – On Tuesday, voters in Oviedo will cast their ballot for who they want to be their mayor this next term and the main issue leading this three-way race is growth, including traffic and development.

In the last 20 years, the population in the City of Oviedo increased by 52%, up from 26,316 in 2000 to now 40,059, according to census data. The population raising 25% since 2010, the data also shows.

That growth has led to new development and traffic troubles which all three candidates agree are the No. 1 issues driving this campaign.

MEGAN SLADEK

Megan Sladek, incumbent Oviedo Mayor (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

“It’s probably going to be traffic and second place growth,” incumbent Mayor Megan Sladek said.

Sladek was born and raised in Oviedo and said no matter what growth is coming.

“Well, what I have discovered is we are not allowed to not accept new residents, the state assigns us a number and says ‘Hey, you have to plan for X number of people to move here.’ We cannot close our borders, so it really creates a challenging situation with how do we manage that growth?”

Sladek’s plan is to continue what was started in finishing the City’s Comprehensive Plan which will serve as a plan to manage growth and development.

Included in that plan, a requirement for new apartments to have their first floor dedicated to commercial property that will be open for the public to use. Sladek said it will help keep people off of the roads.

“Nineteen percent of all trips that are taken in cars in Oviedo city limits are two miles or less,” Sladek said. “That is a way to start thinking about traffic and getting people from point A to point B without it being all road dependent.”

Sladek said that’s already happening at apartments being developed along Mitchell Hammock Road.

“It has been an honor serving as your mayor and I would love the opportunity to continue serving you,” Sladek added.

To read more about Sladek’s campaign, click here.

KEVIN HIPES

Kevin Hipes, one of three candidates for in Oviedo mayoral race (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Kevin Hipes previously served as chairman of the Sanford Planning & Zoning Board and as commissioner for District 4 in Sanford. He is now running for Mayor of Oviedo, living in the city for 8 years and currently working as the Development Director for the Oviedo Mall. He, too, is running on a platform to manage growth.

“It’s a combination of traffic and growth, and they kind of go together,” he said. “I think this is the most important campaign in the history of Oviedo because whoever takes the helm now... puts together a plan now for growth and puts in place (a plan) that’s going to be for a long time to come and I definitely want to be involved in that.”

Hipes’ plans to manage that growth includes changing plans to make the current Oviedo Mall mixed-use. He said the city has already approved to bring apartments on the property.

“We want to put growth here on these 90 acres,” Hipes said pointing to a map of the Oviedo mall property. “400 apartments are going here, another 400 apartments here.”

Hipes said the mall serves an area in Oviedo that can handle growth, close to 417, and he would like to see its redevelopment include, apartments, retail and restaurants.

“It’s by 417, so it serves two purposes: It puts the growth where you want it, it helps the commuter and it fixes your mall at the same time. It just all makes sense,” Hipes added.

As far as traffic, he’d like to also work with the county to continue to get drivers off of Mitchell Hammock Road and onto parallel 434 and Slavia Road.

“I’ll tell you this with me sitting on the city side of the table negotiating with the developers they get nothing past me,” Hipes said.

To read more about Hipes’ campaign, click here.

ABE LOPEZ

Abe Lopez, one of three candidates running in Oviedo mayoral race (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Newcomer Abe Lopez is ready to take on Oviedo’s growth with a fresh look after moving to the city from New Jersey more than three years ago. He’s currently working as a teacher at Westridge Middle School in Orlando.

Lopez is also running for mayor on a platform for better infrastructure and sustainable planning. He also said growth is the biggest issue in this campaign.

“It’s development, development, development,” Lopez said. “My plan is let’s execute the plans that we have been talking about in this town for the last 15 years.”

His platform, he said, is to be community-focused, adding that trust has been broken in regards to growth management within the city.

“I want to serve as someone not running to tell the community, ‘This is what we are going to build.’ We have had enough of that,” Lopez said. “When developers come with opportunities to invest, we serve as a bridge connecting the residents to the developers, so the final product is community-focused.”

To read more about Lopez’s campaign, click here.

Early voting begins in Oviedo on Saturday, Oct. 30. Voters head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 2.


About the Author:

Nadeen Yanes joined News 6 as a general assignment reporter in 2016. She grew up in Leesburg and graduated from the University of Florida. Nadeen has won three Associated Press Awards for her reporting on the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the trial of the Pulse gunman's wife and the capture of an accused cop killer, Markeith Loyd.