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Letters to the Editors

Decision will leave a mess for the next generation

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 17, 2002

Editor: I couldn't believe the decision of Commissioners Jim Fowler, Josh Wooten and Roger Batchelor at the Feb. 12 hearing regarding the Halls River Retreat time-share condo project.

These three commissioners voted in support of building this project. How could they possibly think that this oversized development on our small peaceful river is good for not only our community, but the future of the Halls River? If their goal is to turn Homosassa into a congested area with condos up and down a polluted river, this is a great start.

A major issue that has yet to be brought up is that there will be a substantial increase in boat traffic going to the springs to see the manatees. With all of the talk about closing the main spring at the headwater of the Homosassa River to people and boats, you know that once the state gets word that a time-share resort is going to be built only a mile away from the springs, it will be closed. Also, an increase in boat traffic could lead to even more areas being closed to the public.

So now, commissioners, you have turned our beautiful river into a polluted river that has yellow tape telling you where you can and cannot go. Is this honestly what you wanted?

Mr. Fowler, I do not mean to personally attack you, but it really bothered me when you said that no substantial evidence was presented that night. I watched as you condescendingly pushed aside a book full of documents that was handed to you, and it became obvious that you already had your mind made up and had no intention of considering any information presented by the public.

If you would have looked at that book, you would have seen in black and white the many areas where this project does not meet government standards. Instead, you chose to ignore the factual information given to you, and then you had the nerve to complain that nothing but opinions were given that evening.

I might only be 15, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out this is a bad idea. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against growth, but senseless decisions like this one will only continue to take away from our community and leave a real mess for the next generation.

(I could have had hundreds of signatures on this letter, but seeing as how Mr. Fowler clearly stated on Feb. 12 that "you don't count noses in this process," I figured it would not matter if there were 1 or 1,000 signatures.)
-- Carrie Bartell, Homosassa

Parkway issue should make us cry out: 'Not in my county'

Editor: It has been a whole year since I made any comment on the Suncoast Parkway. How time flies when you are trying to get all the facts together in order to make a fair statement on this matter. Seems both sides have points that can be valid if you don't feel truth is important -- like the Board of County Commissioners.

They tell you we need to fix the infrastructure or face many other problems with services to Citrus County, and we can't do this unless we get the Suncoast Parkway, we are told. That's holding us hostage with our own taxes!

Citizens Opposed to the Suncoast Tollroad, or COST, has been up front with Suncoast Parkway issues so as to inform people why this is not in our best interest. Yet, nobody seems to care if the Nature Coast lives or dies from the impact of overgrowth, pollution and a tax base that goes through the roof in order to fix the damages the Suncoast Parkway will bring to all of us.

The commissioners say we do not need to vote on this issue, that they have the last word no matter how you and I feel. That's because we don't have charter government and can't vote on issues of this matter. Well, folks, let's get a charter and make sure we do have a say in our government and how we want our taxes spent. Elections are coming up, and that is a good start.

To our faces, the commission says what we want to hear, but behind our backs we are just revenue for their pockets. The commission and the Southwest Florida Water Management District sold us out to a time-share condo development and they are allowing private pumping of public resources -- our water -- for profit.

COST and many other environmental groups have tried to tell us that with only one major mishap, environmentally, we will lose every reason we originally had for moving here and why we call this the Nature Coast.

If you value your families' investments as a citizen here, go to the Property Appraiser's site on the Internet, or to the Tax Collector's office and learn who owns what properties around the Suncoast Parkway and the areas of proposed road construction through the next five years. It could be very enlightening. Don't assume what you are being told is true. For your own peace of mind, get the facts as to who gains in the county and who gets the shaft.

I feel that if push comes to shove, then I must protect my investment. No one else in this county seems to care that the commission is playing both sides for a buck. I'm considering selling to Joe Redner or "We Bare All" because the location is perfect and it meets all the codes for that type of business and would be right next to the Suncoast Parkway. I can sell out, too, and then leave knowing nobody cared enough to stop this unjust behavior from the commission and the state Department of Transportation.

The meetings and planning for the Suncoast Parkway are a smokescreen. The commission can vote any way it wants, just like Enron; they are not up front with the truth. The final investment of this county lies with the people, not the commission or the DOT. Fight back now, or plan on being sold out to big money that doesn't care about the mom-and-pop stores and businesses, or you and your needs, only their bank accounts. We can fix this problem only when enough people get together and say "Not in my county," and where are my taxes going?

Get involved or you will be very disappointed. This is our county, not the commission's bank account. We can't allow outside interests to profit from our hard work. We need to keep the Nature Coast what it is: Ours.
-- Grant Stevens, Lecanto

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