Letters to the Editors
Developers soak up millions, then fight wetlands
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 13, 2001
Re: Developers call new Pasco land rules unfair, March 8
Editor: Boo-hoo. Waaaaa waaaaa. That is the tune the developers are crying because apparently they felt they didn't have to observe a deadline to challenge concessions given to the people by the county, with respect to preservation of our wetlands, and (what a nerve the county has!) to force the developers to be more protective of the water wells that we rely so heavily on, especially in this day and age of drought.
So they cry and carry on that they want to make more money. Neither the county nor its citizens have any right to tell them what they can do with their lands, and if they want to pollute and destroy the environment in order to sell lots in a subdivision, then they should be able to do that, right? No. This county has been awfully good to some of the large landowners, some of whom have not owned their land for any good length of time.
One such developer pays a mere $400 in property taxes for more than 250 acres of land on State Road 54 near Lutz and is part of the development plans being affected by the new rules. This is land that supposedly is grazing and timber lands. With market values in the millions, can you imagine how much money in property taxes these victim landowners have saved by having paid only a few hundred dollars?
So now we the people, who have subsidized the low taxes generated by these developers' properties, ask only that they be careful of the wetlands or build homes a tad bit farther apart from each other so the meter reader can navigate between the two structures without getting scraped by the stucco, and we are called unfair.
Developers, how about giving back to Pasco County some of the same considerations it has given to you when it came to appraising your property over the years? We have a right to clean water and protected wetlands. This is no hijack; this is what is called fair.
Need to raise up neighborhood? It takes a code enforcer
Re: Tempers over apartment project, Feb. 28.
Editor: Although Commissioner Peter Altman may have used words that inflamed the people who live in Embassy Hills, his observations, no matter how insensitive to the people in that area, were largely correct.
The decline of Embassy Hills, as Altman contends, is factual. For a number of years, I had owned a home in that subdivision. I have seen a lack of vigilance by the civic association in reporting and following up on tenants and homeowners who fail to follow the communities' deed restrictions. Like others, I never became involved in the subdivision; I went along to get along: not my problem if the guy parks his boat in his driveway, not my problem if he parks on the grass, not my problem if he uses his yard as a dump, not my problem if he uses his house as a business, not my problem if he uses his yard as a parking lot. Nope, not my problem; but it is all of our problems when we let and accept this slow erosion of our neighborhood to occur.
In most civic associations, there are deed restriction committees, and it's the committee that roams the neighborhood, writes down the violation, street, name, and number of the tenant or homeowner who is not in compliance. The (written) complaint is forwarded to, and on behalf of, the association's committee, to code enforcement. It is up to the committee to stay on the county, by (documenting), in writing what is or is not being done by code enforcement. Embassy Hills should not go along to get along.
Embassy Hills is not alone in what Altman claims is a declining area. Look around at other subdivisions. The subdivisions that have active deed restriction committees that rigorously patrol, write, follow up, and stay on the county have nice-looking neighborhoods. The size and cost of the house are not factors; it's the outlook of residents who live in these communities that determines how nice the area looks, or how well the property is maintained. They must record the deed violators, and proceed through the system, but it takes the civic association to place as much of a priority on its deed enforcement as it does its bingo.
You can blame Altman for being insensitive, you can punish him at election time by withholding your vote, but the real root cause for any neighborhood's decline rests upon those that live there and their unwillingness to get involved until it's too late.
Leaders need to look beyond their richest constituencies
Editor: Are there low-income, multifamily housing developments in Commissioner Peter Altman's neighborhood? Or near property he owns that was mentioned during the election campaign?Why is Commissioner Steve Simon so opposed to low-income housing near River Crossing? Stress on schools? Traffic? Quality of life? That sounds familiar. What neighborhood does he live in? Rape the land. Ruin neighborhoods that are not yours to benefit fat-cat constituents. Be arrogant about it.
Leadership? I think not.
County needs to ride herd on areas with code violations
Editor: Code enforcement is lax, particularly in areas like Beacon Square west of Moog Road. You can drive up and down the roads and see many violations.
Neighbors are afraid to call the county. Why? Because the county gives out their names. That's really smart on the county's part -- less work for them. Code enforcement needs to pick an area and go look for violators, or maybe the commissioners need to live in some of the older neighborhoods and then maybe things will change.
Coronado Way is good enough for school buses and to pave
Editor: We live on Coronado Way, a heavily traveled ugly, dusty, lime rock road. We have been watching other roads all around us being paved, always skipping over Coronado Way.
Coronado Way consists of a stretch of road (naturally in front of my house) that is level, straight and free of potholes. The rest of the road is full of turns and loaded with potholes. This is the street from hell.
You would be amazed at the land speed records that are set in front of my house by various pick-'em-up trucks, autos in various states of construction. But the true leaders of the pack are the Pasco County school buses. They kick up a cloud of dust so thick that you barely see their yellow paint.
I tried complaining last year, but was told I had to get the "bus number." The man I spoke to was sure the computer system would not know this information, and he couldn't help me without it. I called him back with the bus numbers, and the speeding lessened for maybe a week. That's when I knew my complaints were falling on deaf ears.
Why is Coronado Way skipped over in the schedule of paving? The road is a shortcut from Moon Lake Road to Lake Drive and certainly is important enough for the school buses to use.
So, either pave this street or get the school buses off it. Reroute them on a road that was important enough to pave. Give the residents a chance to take a deep breath without choking on lime rock dust.
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