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Commissioners voted against will of the people

Letters to the Editor
Published July 13, 2006

On Tuesday evening, the Board of County Commissioners held its meeting. The Riverside Retreats of Homosassa project was to be discussed, the owner being Gail Oaks. Her presentation was made by a laptop computer, with a limited amount being presented by Ms. Oaks verbally.

Ms. Oaks presented her development plans to build three stories over ground-level parking complexes, equaling four stories.

We citizens of Homosassa had spent approximately 4 years meeting and planning on a Homosassa Development Overlay, with the honest desire to try to preserve the quaintness of our community of Homosassa. It was our desire and intent to prevent high-rise development and limit buildings to two stories over ground and parking underneath, equaling three stories. This was very important in a number of ways: to control what our community would look like in the future, and to protect our environmentally sensitive community. The community's plan was accepted and approved by the county commissioners.

The natives of Homosassa can tell you that Homosassa is a community built over a few (higher) ridges (maybe 2 to 4 feet above sea level) of lime rock. This lime rock is very porous, with many holes twisting and turning and allowing rainwater and runoff of buildings to soak into the ground (rocks) and flow back into the Homosassa River. All one has to do is take a rock pick, (a primitive hand tool to today's generation), dig a hole through the lime rock until reaching water, and sit and watch the tides come in and out. Record this information, then go down to MacRae's and check with them the times of the high and low tides. Your records will match.

Now the rest of the buildings in Homosassa are built over swamp land (usually deep areas of nothing but muck). This is land that has been filled in by loads and loads of lime rock and sand hauled in from the piney woods off Grover Cleveland Boulevard and the lime rock pits in Lecanto. For instance, all the western part of River Haven was at one time nothing but muck and sawgrass. The only high ground, if one can call it that, was from about River Haven Drive and east. Norris Development hired a small landfill company by the name of KING B., (King being my third cousin from Lecanto), to build up and make River Haven. (My father, Clifford, and my uncles Jocky Cato and James Harman were in the landfill business after World War II and hauled many a load of dirt into Homosassa.)

At the board's meeting last night the commissioners listened to both Gail Oaks and her employees (or guides that worked out of Riverside) and the citizens of the community. After spending approximately three hours listening, the commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of Ms. Oaks, violating the Homosassa Development Overlay plan we had worked so hard for in months and months of planning meetings. Our time, planning and working toward one goal, the direction of our community now and in the future, was a total waste .

These three commissioners, Gary Bartell, Dennis Damato and Jim Fowler, voted against the will of the people. With Damato's oratorical, very well-prepared speech after the hearings, it was very clear that his decision had been made way before the meeting was held. Bartell's vote was a shocking surprise for me, since he had worked with us at many of our planning meetings and development of the overlay plan.

So, why do they have these public hearings if they are not going to listen to the voices of the people? Did we not elect them to represent us?

By this meeting, the county commissioners have opened the floodgates for all development around the lakes on the east side of the county and along the rivers on the west side.

In Homosassa, when Sportsman's Cove starts development, how many stories will the county commissioners allow them to build: four? Maybe five? How about 10? After all, they do have property owners rights, you know.

Why have codes anyway? We can go to the board, and it will change them for us. Not only that. The county staff approved Oaks' plans. It worked with the citizens of Homosassa to develop the Homosassa Overlay Plan.

What can we do to protect our environmentally sensitive areas around our lakes and rivers? Frankly, I don't know any more. Perhaps we need to clean house? We, the people, must be heard; if not, we don't have a democratic, free country.

C. Carlis Harman, Homosassa

Assessment fees may cost mobile-home owners their homes

What is the truth behind the Chassahowitzka water and sewer project?

The proposed cost of about $14,000 per household plus about $4,500 in connection fees will be assessed against each property. Low interest financing for the assessment will be available to homeowners but is not available to owners of mobile homes, which are about 85 percent of the properties.

The failure to pay the lien will result in the forfeiture of the property to the county. Instead of using the Right of Eminent Domain action to take the property of Chassahowitzka residents, the county commissioners are using the water and sewer project.

They can take the property to satisfy the lien without having to pay a fair market value.

Larry McCartney, Homosassa

Let Gospel Island remain an undeveloped paradise

I have lived on beautiful Gospel Island for 19 years; it is a beautiful place, a paradise - or was until the influx of people who have no interest in maintaining the rural character of the area or its beauty.

Many of us remember the song They Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot. That is happening here. It is happening throughout the county, and it must be restrained or we will have no better quality of life left.

I would rather see birds, trees, flowers and animals (even snakes) instead of beer bottles, beer cans, cigarette butts, fast-food wrappers and other debris, thrown on the side of the road.

I would rather see willow trees, cat-o'-nine-tails, and swamp rabbits nibbling on the grasses instead of bulldozer tracks and piles of brush pulled from the wetlands.

I would rather not have neighbors who feed gators. I would rather have the "authorities" enforce the laws against such acts instead of simply saying there was nothing they could do.

I would rather folks not destroy the berms that protect the lakes and filter the runoff.

I would rather people conserve water and forget about their lawns being green all the time. A program of very limited watering only every few years is achievable with the proper learning and following of knowledgeable practices. The lawns will still be green.

In short, I would like to have my paradise back.

I really don't give a flying leap how they did it up North. If they liked it so much, they should go back, PLEASE!

Carolyn Rudd, Inverness

Representative's support needed for electronic voting legislation

Our right to vote in an election is one of the most sacred rights, privileges and obligations that we possess as U.S. citizens. The right to have our vote accurately counted is even more important.

Just last week, the Brennan Center Task Force on Voting System Security published a study (reported via USA Today, Fox News, Reuters, ABC News, and many other media outlets) finding that the nation's three most commonly used electronic voting machine systems are vulnerable to fraud and in are need of a paper trail with audit capability.

Further, the study estimates that about 80 percent of voters in this November's mid-term elections will vote on one of these electronic systems.

Why is it then that our representative, Ginny Brown-Waite, has resisted all attempts to date to enlist her support of pending federal legislation, H.R. 550, to require a paper trail nationwide?

Is it because she simply doesn't care if your vote, or mine, is really counted? Doesn't this bill sound like a common-sense, no-brainer solution to protect our voting rights?

I urge you all to join me and to contact Rep. Brown-Waite and ask her to do the right thing, and tell her if she doesn't co-sponsor H.R. 550 that she'll have one less vote (yours) for her to worry about in November.

Please protect our right to have our precious vote accurately counted.

Richard A. Franks, Hernando

Liberals' language twists truth about airport fence

Re: Airport's fence hits too close to home, Citrus Times, July 3.

The article concerns a typical rabble-rousing liberal and was obviously written by another liberal, in typical twisted liberal derogatory language.

"Surveyors popped up in their back yard." "Points to stakes in his back yard." I doubt that the surveyors did much trespassing and I know the stakes would be on the line.

I recently had only a 4-foot chain-link fence installed at $11.87 per foot. That fencing would be at least $50 per foot, likely higher when government pays!

Most normal people would be happy for free fencing of that type. "The fencing will be 1 foot to 2 feet inside airport property." Sadly, not many liberals are normal people.

They want the fence further inside the airport property! I have seen this often, an example is when the Cross Florida Trail fenced the trail that abutted Oak Run.

Truth is, those people have used the airport property as their own for years, and in their greed want to continue.

A few additional quotes: "False imprisonment, inexcusable behavior, heartbreaking predicament. The county should consider placing the fence closer to the airport runway. That 'shadow' of a 7-foot fence will be halfway on my property, it will create a prison effect."

Really intelligent, sensible comment (sheer shameless lunacy).

Don't bother with any half-baked rebuttal attempts, many of your Times' cohorts have tried and after four or five exchanges, the facts and truth beat down the Liberal gobbledegook.

Fred Miller, Inverness


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[Last modified July 12, 2006, 23:22:17]

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