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We need more wetlands, not more malls

Letters to the Editor
Published September 28, 2006

Three cheers for the citizens and conservation groups opposing the potential loss of almost 60 acres of wetlands due to the proposed construction of the Cypress Creek Town Center mall.

Why is the Southwest Florida Water Management District even considering permitting the loss of these critical wetlands? That seems a questionable way at best to protect the natural systems that the district is charged to safeguard.

Wetlands are essential to the hydrologic cycle and are key elements of a healthy watershed. These wetlands, essential parts of Cypress Creek and the Hillsborough River watershed, should be completely protected and preserved.

We have enough malls and parking lots in Florida, but we could use more protected and functional wetlands. Government regulatory agencies like the district have a responsibility to the public to protect watersheds and wetlands. The district is failing in its mission if it grants permits that will degrade water quality, degrade natural systems, imperil water supply and potentially lead to flooding problems. The public, and the Hillsborough River watershed, deserve better.

Joe Murphy, Ridge Manor

Short-term rentals serve a purpose in the community

Re: Short-term rentals.

Not every one wants to stay in a hotel or condominium. Many of our visitors are families - mom, dad, grandma and kids of all ages - who wish to enjoy this beautiful area. As a property manager of many single-family homes that are all licensed and pay their bed tax, we see the joy that this area brings to people. We take for granted the things that bring people to this area.

Many of our owners have a passion and great love for Pasco County, far more than some of the locals. The tourists we see come here to relax, shop and eat at many of our fine restaurants. This brings in extra income to the area from our overseas visitors.

If residents have a problem with "tourists," perhaps we should get builders to zone areas of new communities for short-term rentals. This has been done in the past.

As a second home, these owners get no homestead or special treatment. They pay the full tax amount.

Our homes are well kept and maintained better than some of the residents' homes. What's the problem ?

Jayne Brewin, New Port Richey

Beacon Woods president's behavior was outrageous

Re: Beacon Woods.

Russell Schultz's response to Dan Meahl's letter missed the all-important points, which was the outrageous and bullying remarks by Beacon Woods president Ann Bunting. She demanded the removal of the Good Neighbors Association poster (which was outside the clubhouse), displaying news clippings and other patriotic information in support of the Operation Shoebox program.

It should be noted that the Good Neighbors Association attempted board approval as a sanctioned organization of Beacon Woods but was turned away by President Bunting citing liability issues. Therefore, they organized independently. The Good Neighbors Association initiated its extremely successful Operation Shoebox collection campaign in west Pasco, and following its success, the Beacon Woods Civic Association decided to start its own Shoebox program. The association now has a drop box just inside the entrance to the civic center.

Mr. Schultz's statement that this is "silly neighborhood nonsense" is an affront to every military man and woman fighting and dying overseas to protect the likes of him and his friends. I am a retired naval flight officer who has served him and this country for 21 years, and I am personally outraged by his comments and the behavior of our community president.

If Ann Bunting were a gracious and thoughtful president, she would have embraced the efforts and dedication of the independent residents' group, the Good Neighbors Association of Beacon Woods. Instead, she has taken a confrontational approach and will use every means necessary to maintain control over her subjects.

Dan Meahl does not deserve to be discredited. He is an outstanding member of our community and an effective leader.

Carl Spoeth, Bayonet Point

Leader of Beacon Woods should get her facts straight

Some think rules don't apply to them, Sept. 26 letter.

Let me begin by saying I am not a Beacon Woods resident, just an amused citizen who reads the letters to the editors. I found the referenced letter quite amusing. If Ann Bunting is so involved in Operation Shoebox (support for our armed troops), then why does she not have the proper Web site listed? This is the second article I've seen published in the Times which has improperly listed this Web site (unless you are supporting the poor and homeless in Honduras).

The Good Neighbors Association of Beacon Woods has drop boxes for Operation Shoebox in several stores in Hudson and New Port Richey, to which I have donated. I am all for supporting our troops overseas, as they do not have access to the essentials and other things that we, as U.S. citizens, take for granted. Anything that can be sent to them is greatly appreciated by our troops. Readers should note that the correct web site for Operation Shoebox is

The Good Neighbors Association is not affiliated with or supported by the Beacon Woods Civic Association, according to the literature I picked up at its drop box in Publix. If Ann Bunting expects to gather supplies through the Beacon Woods Civic Association, she really needs to do a little research on her own and get the Web site correct, or she may scare off citizens with good intentions.

Chris McFarland, Spring Hill

[Last modified September 28, 2006, 07:32:35]

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