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Wal-Mart, other forces are bad fits

Published January 31, 2007


Our neighborhood and surrounding area is under siege by both Wal-Mart and another attempt to force entry into our private community.

First, on the Wal-Mart issue that may be up for review soon: A Wal-Mart Supercenter on Barclay Avenue is not a proper fit for residential neighborhoods, regardless of current zoning. The Barclay Avenue area is nearly all residential, with the exception of two small shopping centers on the corners at Powell Road and Spring Hill Drive.

Wal-Mart by itself generates an enormous amount of traffic 24 hours a day, including enormous semitrailer trucks that service the store, as well as those that come in at night for sleepovers. Recreational vehicles always like to spend time at the 24-hour Wal-Marts.

This type of impact would devastate the surrounding area with traffic, noise and nuisance. The 24-hour lights that surround the super-sized store would show bright lights on nearby neighbors. It would be hard to determine how many homes would be affected.

Just a review of the prior four stores (including Sam's): All the Wal-Mart stores are on very large commercial highways, two on State Road 50, a major multilane commercial highway; one store on U.S. 19 is also located on a commercial six-lane highway. Finally, there is a store on U.S. 41, and it also is a major commercial highway with six lanes.

Barclay Avenue is a two-lane road that connects to State Road 50 and Spring Hill Drive. The northern portion of this avenue could never realistically be more than three or four lanes, if improved. It appears to be a Wal-Mart pattern to build on six or more lanes to accommodate all the massive traffic it generates.

Another concern is that there are four schools within a mile or so from the proposed Wal-Mart. This adds to a more major concern with school and Wal-Mart traffic, as they are combined at dropoff and pickup times during each school day, including traffic congestion with school buses.

The potential for young children to hang out around the store could be very concerning to parents and school officials. Crime - loitering and late-night mischief - can be a factor due to the store's 24-hour operation.

All these facts seem to point to one conclusion: A Wal-Mart Supercenter store does not fit on Barclay Avenue.

As for the Silverthorn intrusion attempt: Silverthorn is a private community that has a homeowners association and provides many services to its residents.

There should not be any access granted to any outside area into our community without our approval. This would seem to be a foregone conclusion, but we continue to battle outside property owners who desire access into our community for their use and benefit.

We surely hope that it is very clear that no one from an outside interest should intrude into any private community for any reason without the homeowners' approval.

We hope the County Commission agrees with residents on these matters.

Doug & Holly Sheffield, Brooksville


Minus complaint, where's the story? 

Re: Mystery at Rogers Christmas House Jan. 28 story:

I cannot adequately tell you how much your "news" article angers me.

You undertook, by innuendo and suggestion of illegal activity, to smear the Chapmans, although no complaint has been made to police, the Chapmans deny any wrongdoing and the owner admits not having informed the Chapmans of limitations on what they might do in assisting her in administering the business.

And then you gleefully conclude by informing us of your harassment of the Chapmans by phoning them at their home five times, four after they had told you they would have nothing more to say.

Without an official complaint, the matter is none of my business or that of the St. Petersburg Times. Trying people in the newspaper is not what freedom of the press is about.

Richard Desautels, Spring Hill


SPCA's needs are growing, too

As I write this letter, there is a long line of neglected, unwanted or abandoned animals out there, waiting for us to rescue them. Caring staff and volunteers provide medical care, rehabilitation and compassion, even before these pets are carefully placed in warm, loving homes.

At the SPCA, hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens receive a second chance for happier lives.

All too soon, however, many more dogs and cats arrive on our doorstep, each one wishing for food, veterinary care, and a safe place to live with lots of love. To care for them all, we need help ourselves. And that is why we count on you.

As we all know, in the past few years Hernando County has rapidly grown. We all can see the new shopping centers, housing and busier roadways. Along with this is growth in our animal population.

We here at the SPCA would like to think we, too, can expand to care for the needs of our animal friends. They wish for so little. Your support will make a difference for our animal friends whose wishes are so simple, but whose need is so urgent.

We are in need of donations and volunteers. Remember, we are a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter and the staff who run it are all volunteers.

Michele McCabe, SPCA Hernando County


A high-end home, high-end taxes

Re: A dollar a foot fair to every taxpayer Jan. 28 letter to the editor:

Sorry, Gerard Valone. If you buy a $500,000 home, expect to pay the taxes that go along with it.

Bob Cooper, Spring Hill

[Last modified January 31, 2007, 06:45:11]

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