Today's Letters: Wal-Mart would endanger kids

Published May 9, 2007

Re: Wal-Mart on Barclay

It is my opinion that it is not in the best interests of the citizens of Hernando County to allow Wal-Mart to build a store on Barclay Avenue. The closeness to Powell Middle School poses a danger that cannot be overlooked. No amount of road reconfiguration can make this a safe situation for the children attending this school.

What is the rationale for planning and zoning in allowing this plan to move forward? It can't be the well-being of the citizens. This area was never meant to have a building of Wal-Mart's magnitude.

The school has been at this location since 1984 and a community has developed around it. This includes housing developments and small businesses. A large business such as Wal-Mart belongs on major roadways such as U.S. 19, State Road 50 or U.S. 41. Barclay Avenue certainly does not fall into this category. Look around and see if another community has a Wal-Mart within 1, 500 feet of a public school.

I implore the County Commission to discuss this issue and come to the conclusion that it is not in the best interests of our children. I have found in life that legality and morality are not synonymous. I write this letter not as a representative of the School Board, but as a 34-year resident of Hernando County.

Dianne Bonfield, Brooksville

Re: Wal-Mart a threat to our lawns April 30 letter to the editor.

Development drained county

Mr. Novak, I see you are worried about watering your grass. Well, I lived in Hernando from 1969 until 2002. As soon as Spring Hill and other communities started to build up, I could see the water going down. Out on State Road 50 by the twin lakes, the holes would fill up and flood the whole field around them. I have not seen the water that high for more than 20 years or so.

My question to Mr. Novak: Would you rather have a nice glass of water to drink, or go pour it on your lawn? I guess you will say "Well, I pay for it." I'll bet there are a lot of people on water wells who would be glad to pay for water. Why? Because the well has gone dry, or the well pump has broken down, or there is no electricity to pump the water.

I'm glad to be out of Hernando County. Now I can sit by the creek bank and watch the free water just flowing by.

Vinton Holley, Smithville, W.Va.

Citizens always doomed to lose

Why do we have go to all the time and expense to put together a comprehensive growth management plan when it can be changed if you have the money and lawyers? I don't get it.

Hickory Hill is just the latest example of the people of our state and county wanting to go one way, and the outside money the other. Over and over again, it is the citizen volunteer trying to fight the outside money interests. If I could think of one instance in which the people spoke and the elected officials listened, I would be more encouraged.

I have been speaking up for environmental concerns for many years and I can't think of one time in which the citizens have come out on top on an issue. Can any of you think of an example in which our elected officials (excluding Hernando County Commissioner Diane Rowden) said no to the outside money, and yes to the people?

Please, help me out. I am getting discouraged.

Michael Liberton, Webster

Amendment vote was against rules

The vote taken by the Her-nando County Commission on April 26 to amend the comprehensive plan was in violation of state Department of Community Affairs rules. I checked the DCA rules on April 27 and sent an e-mail to DCA Secretary Tom Pelham to verify if I was correct. This is part of the response I received from Vicki Morrison on behalf of Secretary Pelham:

"You are correct that Rule 9J-11.011, F.A.C., requires local governments to adopt their comprehensive plan amendments within 120 days of receiving the Department's Objections, Recommendations, and Comments report." Ms. Morrison also forwarded this information to Ron Horlick, Planner, and Ms. Brenda Winningham, Community Program Administrator.

The OCR 06d-1 dated Sept. 16, 2006, was not voted on until April 26, 2007 - far more than 120 days. The board should delay sending the amendment to DCA until the County Attorney verifies the rule and, once verified as accurate, the vote should be reversed and the plans resubmitted for DCA review.

If the board takes this action, then this amendment should be included on the next county ballot and voted on by the people in the affected precincts.

Should the board decide to proceed in violation of the DCA Rules, this one fact should trigger all of the steps to challenge and reverse the change, costing the county thousands of dollars.

Richard Ross, Brooksville