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    Letters to the Editors

    Clearwater should make bayfront quaint, not flashy

    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000

    Re: Condos: Striking gold or hitting nerve? Oct. 15 story.

    The city of Clearwater seems to have an uncontrollable need to develop itself into oblivion. According to the story, in trying to attract "new affluent residents," the city has "dubbed a section of the bayfront just north of downtown" (the Old Clearwater Bay neighborhood) "the city's new "gold coast' for condo high-rises."

    The city leaders and the developers see dollar signs flashing in their eyes as they envision the ritzy new neighborhood full of people who can afford to live in these proposed condos.

    Unfortunately, the quieter, historic, eclectic qualities of these areas of the city are qualities they don't appreciate. However, with some insight, a little planning and a partnership between the property owners and the city, this area could become an area of which to be proud.

    Anyone who has been to St. Augustine or Key West, or even to New England coastal cities such as Ogunquit or Bar Harbor, Maine, and Provincetown, Mass., can appreciate what the word quaint truly means. Built-out Sand Key and Clearwater Beach are far from quaint. There is no thriving movement to renovate the older homes in the area because there is no money in it for the big developers.

    Finally, what about the drug and prostitution problems in some areas, according to police? If the city thinks that developing the area with million-dollar condos will solve those problems, they are stupider than I thought they were.
    -- Leslie Ostergard, Clearwater

    Developers should pay hefty impact fees

    Re: Condos: Striking gold or hitting nerve? and Pinellas tourism goes back to nature, Oct. 15 stories.

    How ironic that these two articles should share the same page of the Times. One extols the lure of our natural environment as an asset in attracting tourists. The other is about the building of ever more condos on the Clearwater bluff, which will effectively restrict any view of the natural Clearwater Bay environment for anyone other than the occupants of these luxury towers.

    I have no doubt all of these condos will be built with the enthusiastic support of our city government. It bends any and all restrictions to meet the developers' wants (not needs), and the area will look just like Sand Key. But I feel there should be some concessions made since these people will surely want to bathe, do laundry, wash dishes and swim in their pools. Does that thought ever worry our planning department?

    Obviously, the buyers of these condos are wealthy. So why can't the city make the developers pay a hefty impact fee, which they, I'm sure, would pass on to the buyers, who can afford it? If a developer wants the property badly enough, the city ought to be calling the tune instead of agreeing to demands. The city, in turn, could use the money to beautify Cleveland Street. Madelyn Lawson, Clearwater
    Clearwater should put money into boat dock parking
    For the past year, the big topic around Clearwater has been development and redevelopment of the bluff, the beach and downtown. It's obvious that our mayor and city commissioners haven't visited the Seminole boat ramp on the weekends. Instead of putting more money into a developer's pocket, let's put it into boat dock parking. The need is there. We pay for it.
    Bob Dufina, Clearwater

    County's opposition to bikes comes down to money

    Re: Bike lanes make commissioners uneasy, Oct. 22 story.

    The County Commission's opposition to bike lanes and people using bikes instead of cars is simple: Bikes don't bring enough in taxes. More cars on the road means more money to fix traffic problems, more gas tax money, more registration and tag fees and more money to study pollution causes.

    You put a bike lane in and next thing you know, people that live close to their work will take a bike. Traffic will be lighter, pollution will be less and county revenues will be less.

    Don't think that the county commissioners are afraid of people getting hurt. It's the money, stupid!
    -- Ted Reinhard, Clearwater

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