Today's Letters: Keep golf course, forget new park

Published August 3, 2007

Re: Pinellas County's plan to buy the Tarpon Woods golf course.

Keep golf course, forget new park

We moved here from Long Island, N.Y., two years ago. The main reasons for moving were the weather, nature, year-round golf and the lower costs of living.

However, after our taxes increased beyond what they were in New York and our home insurance tripled, we contemplated moving to a different state. We decided to persevere for a few more years to see what the future would bring with a new governor, who so far has not effectively addressed these issues.

We now see that the other factors that held us here are becoming reasons for leaving Florida. We still love the weather. We have adapted to the heat. But the situation with the Tarpon Woods golf course may be the last straw.

We live in Lansbrook, but play golf every week at Tarpon Woods golf course because of the beautiful natural surroundings. We see deer, bird rookeries and alligators. The layout is challenging and the neighboring houses lovely.

How can the county even consider doing away with this golf course to replace it with a park? You claim this will relieve drainage problems. There are other approaches to the flooding problem, incurring much less cost to the taxpayer and inflicting less hardship on the people who own homes in this community who mostly bought because of the golf course.

Since we moved here, we have enjoyed Brooker Creek Preserve, John Chesnut Park, as well as eight or so other parks within easy driving distance. We do not need another park. Our taxes are being wasted on this pointless and heartless endeavor, just as Pinellas County has wasted taxpayer money on the purchase of our county property appraiser's land. Why don't you spend your energy and our tax dollars on matters that improve our way of life in Florida instead of taking away nature and affecting home-owners in Tarpon Woods?

This is further aggravated by your attempts to build soccer fields in Brooker Creek Preserve and use county water to benefit East Lake Woodlands Golf Course - a course that we cannot afford to play on.

The county and state government officials seem to have their priorities out of synch with the public.

Elaine Belle, Palm Harbor

Library and rec center won't mix

Some time ago a group of mainlanders down at Clearwater City Hall tried to move our beach library to the mainland. They lost that battle.

Recently, they agreed to send our beach readers to a municipal building (the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center) in hopes that the readers and the athletes there will make a natural mix. Don't bet on it!

Fred Nassif, Clearwater

Re: Uproar silences plan for kennel story, July 29

Kennel suffers residents' ire

I'm going to build a house that will cost me over a million dollars. I look for a lot that is just what I have been looking for. I find it in Safety Harbor, so I buy that lot and build my dream home.

Oops! When I move in, I discover that there is a dog kennel right over the stone wall that surrounds my property. The stone wall protects me from the rest of the world that could prey on me and my possessions. The problem is, it doesn't protect me from the dogs barking next door! And now they want to expand and there will be even more dogs that I will have to listen to and have spoil my outdoor parties and my peace and quiet, even when I am in my own house!

So I will go to the county government and tell them that I don't want any more dogs! Even though the dogs were there long before I was. And the county says yes, I should not be bothered any more than I already am, and besides, I pay a lot of taxes for the luxury of living in my dream home.

No one says to me, why didn't you do your homework before you bought your lot next to a dog kennel, spend some time hanging around at various times of the day to find out what your tolerance level was for barking dogs?

Now the Engelmanns, who probably can't afford to buy a house in that upscale neighborhood of Signature Estates, have been denied the opportunity to expand their kennel and increase their income as well as provide a service that we use pretty frequently.

We found that the Sheldegren Kennel provided a place for our little dog where they did their job with love and care for the pets that are in their care. I wish I could have been there to speak personally at the County Commission hearing. Unfortunately, I wasn't available. I'm sure it wouldn't have made a difference, but I would have felt better.

By the way, I can't afford to live in your gated community, either. But I do think that if I could, I would have made the decision about where I built my home after I found out who my neighbors were and if they were going to cause a problem for me. Making the Engelmanns pay for your shortsightedness doesn't seem fair!

Marie Chapman, Palm Harbor