Saturday, April 27, 2013

Annexation Alert, Part 2: Who Is Pete Madison? [UPDATE]

As described in my prior annexation article, I was initially made aware of the City's annexation plans through rumors from Belle Isle residents - rumors which were eventually confirmed by my February 27 public records request. These annexation rumors were often tied to the name "Pete Madison" as well as some sort of race track in Taft. As I attempted to decipher this information and track it to its source, a Sun reader alerted me to a January 16 Facebook post by Vice-Mayor Lydia Pisano, in which she states:

"Pete Madison is a great guy, we are looking at annexing the CFRC, amongst other properties."

I have since learned that "the CFRC" refers to the Central Florida Road Course, a drag racing strip owned by Belle Isle resident Peter Madison, as well as Beverly Madison and their business associate, John Russell. (Source: Florida Department of Corporations). Mr. Madison, through his company, Taft-Vineland Properties, Inc,, also owns a number of other Taft properties which may be included in City Hall's annexation plans.

Under Florida annexation laws, City Hall could not annex just the track by itself, but would also have to annex all the properties leading up to and surrounding it. So, to annex the CFRC, Belle Isle would have to annex all the industrial and corporate properties leading up to the track, including Rachel's. The below map, produced for City Hall, shows how much industrial and corporate property Belle Isle would have to absorb just to include the CFRC within its city limits (dark section at bottom left of map):

And these are only the properties that City officials are seeking to annex in Taft. Documents produced by City Hall in response to public records requests indicate that the planned annexation does not stop at Taft, but that City officials have much broader plans for the areas surrounding Belle Isle. These documents can be found in the Annexation section of

Why would City officials be interested in annexing a race track, not to mention a strip club? Our residential community obviously has no place for the now-defunct CFRC race track. Southchase, the neighborhood presently harboring the CFRC, recently banned it from operation due to noise and safety complaints, as well as resident concerns that it would decrease local property values. (Source: Central Florida News 13).

City Hall's push to annex the CFRC appears to coincide with the track's recent shutdown. This fact has fueled many Belle Isle residents' suspicions that City officials plan to allow the track to resume operation once the annexation process is complete. Although I have not yet been able to confirm these suspicions, it is clear that the CFRC property has no apparent value unless it is allowed to resume operation as a race track.

Is this your vision of Belle Isle? In my prior annexation article, I suggested contacting your elected officials about City Hall's annexation plans. 

I would also suggest attending the City Council workshop meeting on Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 a.m. The Council may choose to address the annexation issue due to the number of residents speaking out about it. However, there is no way to be certain because the meeting agenda has not yet been posted to the City website. Regardless, you should come out to the Wednesday meeting to support Commissioner Harvey Readey as he helps us take the first steps towards Restoring Democracy in Belle Isle!

UPDATE 4/28/13:  I was contacted by a few local residents who were under the impression that the CFRC had been sold and is no longer owned by Pete Madison. While the CFRC property was technically sold on December 28, 2012, Orange County Property Appraiser records reveal that this was actually a transfer from Taft-Vineland Properties, Inc. to Cosmonaut Holdings, LLC, a company owned by Taft-Vineland Properties. In other words, Pete Madison transferred the property from his company to its own subsidiary. (Source: Orange County Property Appraiser, Florida Department of Corporations).

If you have reviewed the annexation documents at, you may have noticed that they contain a study performed by Compass Development Management, Inc. This study was commissioned by City Hall to evaluate the feasibility of annexing a huge area of Taft. One astute Sun reader recently noted that this study was apparently provided by Compass Development to only one person outside of City Hall: Pete Madison.

Additionally, this report contains a map of the actual area proposed for annexation in Taft. To avoid any potential confusion, the previous "rough estimate" map in this article has been replaced with the actual annexation map produced by City Hall. See the entire feasibility report at

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