© St. Petersburg Times, published May 23, 2001
We need rain, not retail.
At the initial rezoning hearing for the Cypress Pointe RV Resort on U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor, the owner's representatives attempted to show benefits to the area as the reason to approve the rezoning. Their reasons are flat-out wrong.
First, they made the case that our area is "under-served by retail." I say that in the most densely populated county in Florida, we want to retain the few remaining green spaces available, and only add commercial businesses as deemed necessary in the proper areas. As a nearby resident, I can truthfully say that to drive to the existing nearby retail and home improvement businesses is fine. We do not need to walk there.
They also argued that this rezoning and construction of a Target and a home improvement store (e.g., Lowe's) would actually lessen the traffic on U.S. 19. The truth is that these new businesses will only increase the traffic here in "Death Valley" by attracting more drivers into the immediate area. The fact that I have to drive to the existing Lowe's and both nearby Home Depots to find all that I am looking for speaks for itself.
Another argument was that this project would not proceed without the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Cypress Pond Road. They did not state that the rezoning, sale and construction are contingent on the approval of this traffic light. After many years (10 or more?), the intersection at Innisbrook and U.S. 19 is finally coming up for possible approval. Let us not be fooled into thinking that the intersection at U.S. 19 and Cypress Pond Road will not require a similar time frame just to be heard for possible approval.
They also argued that commercial development of the proposed kind on U.S. 19 is encouraged by planning documents. I will not argue that some commercial developments are expected on U.S. 19. However, this area of U.S. 19 is unique in that it is very close to Lake Tarpon. Similar properties in the area do not allow the commercial rezoning being requested at the depth proposed. We want to retain green areas around Lake Tarpon, not mow them down.
If Pinellas County approves this rezoning, then it is not balancing the requests of owners/developers with those of the residents. There are no benefits offered to the residents of Pinellas County, only the profit for the current owner. If the owner wishes to sell, let it be to a buyer that will retain the existing zoning, and hopefully, the existing residents of the Cypress Pointe RV Resort.
Send your comments to the Pinellas County Development Review Services at 310 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756.
-- Stephen Marra, Palm Harbor
Re: Proposed zoning change for the Cypress Pointe RV Resort in Palm Harbor.
Many oppose this zoning change for many reasons, among which are that a Target store should not be on the shores of Lake Tarpon; increased death and accidents on an already dangerous section of U.S. 19 known as Death Valley; another traffic signal on U.S. 19; and reduction of property values.
We do not need nor require another Target store. They already have one on the southeast end of the lake and we have a Wal-Mart on the northwest side of Alderman Road.
-- William Gold, Palm Harbor
Re: City's property values jump 12.3 percent, story, May 15.
I found it very interesting to read that Largo City Manager Steven Stanton thinks that the reason businesses and homeowners have been attracted to Largo is the expansion of reclaimed water and other infrastructure improvements.
We live in the city limits and have been trying to get reclaimed water in our neighborhood for five years. We were told five years ago that we would get it within five years. Now we are being told it will be within another five-year period, a total now of 10 years. By the time we get the reclaimed, we will be in a 10-year flood and will not need it.
To add insult to injury, we are now told that we cannot participate in the Shallow Well Rebate Program being offered by Pinellas County, because Largo has the whole city marked off for reclaimed water. Since Largo is not designating enough money for the program, I have a very difficult time understanding how the whole city will ever get the reclaimed water.
I sure hope that the neighborhoods that are being annexed are not doing it for the reclaimed water, since there is no real vision for it in Largo.
-- Kathy Zampieri, Largo
Re: Energy and water are spread ever more thinly, letter, May 1.
I agree 100 percent with the letter writer. I have been voicing my opinion of this very same situation for over a year now to anyone who would listen. It is time for an immediate moratorium on building permits to stop this insanity!
When the worsening situation gets to panic-button critical, who will be the first ones to whine and complain? The very same people who are passing out all the building permits so freely.
-- Mary W. Avedisian, Dunedin
The telephone number for the office of the League of Women Voters of North Pinellas County is (727) 447-1564, and that is the number representatives of organized groups should call to request multiple copies of the new Pinellas County Citizen's Guide. An incorrect number appeared in a letter to the editor Monday.