Today's Letters: Boosting beach density is unwise

Letters to the Editor
Published September 5, 2007

Re: Board favors larger hotels story, Aug. 22

Boosting beach density is unwise

I am very disturbed about the proposal to increase the density limitations for hotels on Pinellas County beaches.

As a resident of Madeira Beach, I drive along Gulf Boulevard every day and I see all the "Vacancy" signs in front of the existing hotels.

If current structures are demolished to make room for bigger, denser, higher hotels, the developers will make lots of money, but we residents and the tenacious businesses that remain here will just have more empty hotel rooms to add to the empty condos that the greedy "flippers" are now unable to resell.

Of course, a change in density limitations will surely force the remaining low-density property owners to sell because their property taxes will skyrocket, as you will have made their properties more valuable under Florida's "highest and best use" tax appraisal requirements.

Instead of helping our local property owners, it seems more like the Pinellas County Commission will, in effect, be signing their eviction notices. I've seen nothing to indicate what impact the increased development will have on county services and infrastructure, but surely there will be an impact.

Instead of turning the entire Pinellas coastline into an extension of Clearwater high-rises and instead of making our beautiful coastline look just like overdeveloped South Florida, why not look for some creative solutions that will allow the Pinellas beaches to maintain their unique character?

That's what attracted me here, and it saddens me to discover that my commissioners are so ready to sacrifice that unique character for the sake of putting money in developers' pockets.

Instead of building more boxes, why not think outside the box to come up with solutions that will benefit the local businesses and homeowners?

Robin Warren, Madeira Beach

Re: Developers see shiny jewel in old landfill, story Aug. 12

Landfill plan is recipe for disaster

If you look at the Pinellas Economic Development Council's Request For Proposals that invited these possible future Toytown developers to present their plans, you'll note that no mitigation has ever been done on the site. You'll see that only monitor wells have been in service to determine the leachate levels and only since around 2001. These wells send excess water to the northeast reclaimed water facility near my home in St. Petersburg.

By the way, who will take care of the monitoring and capping after the county sells the landfill? According to the Request For Proposals, the developer!

The county spends $750,000 a year currently just to monitor Toytown for contaminant levels, which are seemingly on the rise (there are at least 21, with many being carcinogenic).

And the county will allow kids, ball fields and recreation centers, family homes and other park areas on this unknown quantity?

This requires much more thought. And for sure, nothing should be done without public hearings - several.

Affordable housing doesn't translate into affordable risk-taking for humans. Do we want Love Canal Part 2?

Lorraine Margeson, St. Petersburg

Lets give dolphins a little leeway

On Sunday afternoon, my husband and I were riding our bikes over the Memorial Causeway Bridge. As we stopped to rest, we noticed the Sea Screamer, Thriller and two Dolphin Encounter boats down below us, all crowding around two dolphins.

We've seen dolphins many times feeding along the sea wall in that area. While it's exciting to see all our Florida wildlife up close, I think that these boats should have kept a more respectful and safe distance from the dolphins. They leak gas and oil into the water, generate a lot of noise, and their props can injure the dolphins if they get too close.

Let's all do our part to take care of our Florida wildlife.

Carol Vanderlubbe, Dunedin

Bad owners give dogs a bad name

My heart goes out to the "parents" of Leo, who lost their dachshund after it succumbed to an attack by the neighbor's pit bullterrier, Zeus. While I have never had the experience of losing a pet in that fashion, I can only say how sorry I am that their beloved pet was killed in this incident, and that children were present and had to witness the attack.

However, I would like to send a message to all dog owners. I wasn't present during this incident, so I am not sure how Zeus got loose and entered the Mailles family's yard. There is a leash law in Pinellas County and Tarpon Springs. Perhaps if Leo had been on a leash, this incident may not have occurred .

Please readers, take note. Any animal that is outside your yard should be on a leash. Also, be aware, that should you own a dog, make sure the yard is secure. Walk the perimeter once a week to ensure that your pet will stay within the confines of your property.

Dogs are territorial and will usually protect their property. Again, since I wasn't there, it is hard to say exactly what occurred. It seems as though Zeus' owner and the neighbors had never seen Zeus act out in this way before.

In closing I would just like to add that I thought it was inappropriate for anyone to say, "I want to put the dog down myself" or, "These dogs are made to kill."

Perhaps, readers, you should look up the breed American pit bullterrier. You will find that, properly raised, they are great family pets. The problem is that we only read about them when an unfortunate incident occurs.

The other problem is that these dogs, due to their strength and size, are used for inappropriate activities, such as dog fighting, which always portrays them to be the "bad dog." There are no bad dogs, only bad owners who continually break the rules and the dog suffers the consequences.

Again, my heart goes out to the Mailles family.

Nancy Dively, Tarpon Springs

Oldsmar party was a big hit

Way to go, Oldsmar! Your "Celebrate Oldsmar" party was a huge success, and the fireworks were 30 minutes of excitement and beauty. Thanks a lot.

Carole Mason, Oldsmar

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