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Questions and answers

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 9, 2003

The Times invited community organizations to submit questions for candidates. The questions and the candidates' answers will run in the Neighborhood Times beaches edition throughout February. For Madeira Beach, the John's Pass Village & Boardwalk Merchants Association asks:

In 2002 the citizens and leadership of Madeira Beach crafted a master plan for comprehensive growth and redevelopment of Madeira Beach. Do you agree with the components of the master plan, and how do you envision your role in implementing the plan?

Tom DeCesare: Incumbent candidate for mayor

While I might not agree with every component of the master plan, the Board of Commissioners adopted the master plan for the city of Madeira Beach. This adoption came after a number of meetings with the consultant and, more importantly, with residents of the city.

I see my role as a member of the Board of Commissioners to keep the momentum of this redevelopment effort moving in the direction adopted by the property owners in Madeira Beach. We must communicate the specific changes to the city's comprehensive plan and the changes to the land development regulations. Finally, our role as a commission will be to show leadership in adopting those regulations that best facilitate redevelopment that benefits the entire community.

Len Piotti: candidate for mayor

I have read the Madeira Beach Master Plan and feel each of the components has merit as a concept. However, I view the master plan as a reference for the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan.

As you know, successful plans must go from concept to implementation, and often these plans are modified and improved along the way. Our homeowners, business owners, employees and citizens must all benefit from these improvements. Together we can stand strong and accomplish change that is beneficial for all.

Many of our residents have expressed concern about the price tag of over $250,000 for a plan of concepts and initiatives, many of which are unable to be implemented in our lifetime. I see myself, as mayor, being vigilant, either by oversight or direct involvement in the development of Madeira Beach, assuring that it is truly a community effort.

Roger Koske: Incumbent candidate for City Commission, District 3

The master plan has its good and bad points, and it is only as good as the architects and engineers who draft it.

The visioning behind the plan can be used for years to come. It also has its good and bad points. Some of the process is viewed through rose-colored glasses, which may prod us to try and accomplish more than the city can afford.

We have to use good common sense, a good attitude toward projects and try to keep our goals in sight.

The commissioners' and mayor's role in this plan is to implement changes that have the most immediate impact for the betterment of our city while still maintaining a good fiscal attitude.

This process has already started with three or four of the projects already under way regarding charter change, comprehensive plan review and land development regulation changes to complement the master plan.

Cindy Saxon: Candidate for City Commission, District 3

The Madeira Beach Master Redevelopment Plan is a vision, which has many elements that encourage change. The cost and how this change will be incorporated or even how much will be incorporated is literally the million-dollar question. Our primary development role is to:

1. Protect the health, safety and welfare of the community.

2. Protect property owner values.

If we as a community focus on these two items, our answers become less of an "us vs. them" and more of a "we" concept. The primary role of the commission is to protect and serve the taxpayers' best interest and not get caught up in the "them and us" personal issues. In 1997, this city started focusing on state and federal grants, which have encouraged improvements with matching funds. Grants that help offset the cost and beautify the entire city are certainly consistent with sound business practices.

Charles Parker: Incumbent candidate for City Commission, District 4

The master plan provides a guideline for the future development of Madeira Beach. Used properly, it will assist in the controlled progress of the city. It is my obligation as a city commissioner to facilitate its application in a way to bring the most benefit to all of the residents of Madeira Beach.

Ken Schwartz: Candidate for City Commission, District 4

I am proud of what we have accomplished together. We started this process with an idea and inspired community involvement. To date, we have only seen a draft of the master plan. That draft contains some great ideas and some difficult challenges. I remember one of the consultants, Andres Duany of DPZ, saying: "I propose. You dispose."

Our citizens and business owners are in a very unique place. We have had, through our visioning, the opportunity to participate and shape the future of our city. From that effort the original draft of the master plan was created. The document contains some concepts which can be implemented immediately, while others may take some time to develop, and yet many will not come to fruition due to various obstacles.

I intend to support and represent the citizens and business owners of our city to promote change that is positive and beneficial to all.

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