Today's Letters: No leader saying no to developers

Published April 26, 2007

We are reminded every day to conserve water because of the shortage. Who is going to put a brake on the powers-that-be who continue to allow overbuilding when we know there is not enough water for the number of houses and residents now?

These planning boards and county commissions continue to approve golf course subdivisions with huge houses, each of which contains numerous baths, pools, hot tubs and landscaping, requiring thousands of gallons of water each day.

Wetlands are being destroyed, trees are uprooted to be replaced by houses and concrete driveways and roads. Each new development brings more vehicles, which pump more pollutants into the air. Then we cover the golf courses, landscaping and lawns with fertilizer and insecticides that drain into the ground water and pollute it further.

And I haven't even mentioned the schools and business places required to support these subdivisions. Of course, they will need water, roads, parking lots, etc.

When are we going to elect people who represent us and not just the business interests? Surely, there must be a logical way to solve these problems before the whole state is a giant subdivision with no water.

Virginia Conn, Spring Hill

Developer sticks to its standards

A very important item, the Hickory Hill Project, will come before the Hernando County Commission today. A lot has been written about this in letters and newspaper columns. Some writers have put a lot of misconceptions out there. Remember, anyone can say anything about any subject, whether they are an expert on the topic or not. It is up to people to read and study and find out the facts before forming an opinion. This is what I hope our county commissioners do before making their decision. I don't envy them. It is very hard to sort out emotions from fact.

I would urge anyone interested in finding out the facts about Hickory Hill to go to their Web site (www.hickoryhill update.com) and read what they have to say. I also would urge them to speak with representatives from Sierra Properties if they have questions. As a person who lived near another of their big projects, Avila, when it was being proposed many years ago, I can tell you Bob Sierra and his representatives will tell you the truth, whether it is what you want to hear or not.

I have met with them and I have asked some hard questions. I, too, was worried about water, wildlife and the many other concerns I have heard. But, after talking to the Sierra Properties group and reading the studies that have been done in the past couple of years on this project, I can honestly tell you that my concerns were met and answered, as they were before Avila came to Hillsborough County.

My concern now is that this excellent community will not be built. The alternative of small farmettes of 5 to 10 acres, each with a septic tank, well and fences, scares me. These could be built on the Thomas property without regard or regulations. The property is zoned agricultural so anything from puppy mills to hog farms can be on these tracts. There could be fences every few acres with no trees in between. Where would the wildlife go then? Who would we go to when our wells go dry? Or who would we hold responsible when our groundwater is contaminated?

Sierra Properties has met each and every concern. It has been held to the highest standards of anyone I have ever heard of trying to build in Hernando County.

Becky MacKinlay, Spring Lake

County has plan it should follow

Do we want to look like Clermont, Tampa or Ocala? I moved here to the eastern section of Hernando County because of its beautiful country setting and all the open land, cattle and horses.

I am opposed to the idea of amending our county comprehensive plan to allow the Hickory Hill development in Spring Lake. We need to focus on preserving open space and growing smarter, not creating dense developments in a rural area, as has happened in Clermont, where there are no more orange trees to admire on the drive to Orlando. We have a comp plan so we can set aside places like Spring Lake as rural and allow development in other parts of the county where the roads, schools and services are in place. If you allow these homes, then along will come businesses, and it will be another U.S. 19 or State Road 50 - another nightmare road.

The County Commission should listen to the loud, clear message it is getting from the public that enough is enough, and it's time to manage growth with good planning, not just keep saying yes every time developers want more.

Hickory Hill might be fine in some parts of Hernando County where the comprehensive plan has designated areas for that type of growth, but it is the wrong project for Spring Lake. The commission should vote no.

MaryLou Patton, Brooksville

Hickory Hill vote looms with county still divided April 24 letter

To stop developer an expensive fight

One reads the words from Glenn Claytor and George Lee and is left with an uncomfortable feeling that these folks must have a sticky finger, somehow or somewhere, in the proposed Hickory Hill development by Sierra Properties. Only Amy Wilson, a college student, comes across as speaking with real, if misdirected, sincerity.

I am not a Hernando resident and it could be argued that I am not directly affected by Hickory Hill. Conversely, it could be reasoned that we are all affected every time a large-scale developer seeks to further rape and pillage our diminishing open space. Remember, the best development is always no development.

This is rarely an option because speculators scream property owners' rights just as soon as residents dare to protest their plans. This should not deter Hernando Times readers from voicing their opposition, vocally and visibly. Commissioners will listen to legitimate argument, but it needs to have a legal, rather than emotional, basis.

Just across the county line, we have fought and won several battles with the progrowth faction, but be warned it's a war without end, a war of attrition that is expensive to litigate and frustrating because Tallahassee government has a strong bias for concrete and blacktop.

It is interesting that investors are still enthusiastic to build even more homes for buyers who are fast diminishing in number.

This factor that may well cause the market to impose the controls residents are so often denied.

Chris Lloyd, Lecanto