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Don't destroy more Pinellas wetlands

Don't destroy more wetlands

I am opposed to city of Clearwater Comprehensive Plan Amendment Case No. LUZ2010-06002 and Development Agreement Case No. DVA2010-06001, related to Clearwater Christian College.

The proposal is not consistent with Clearwater's comprehensive plan. It requires a change of land use from preservation to institutional.

Cooper's Point Bayou and Cooper's Point Nature Park (located adjacent to the college campus off the Courtney Campbell Parkway) are classified as "aquatic preserve" by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. They should be preserved, as originally intended, to benefit future generations of all life on Earth.

There are major concerns with the project's impact on environmental quality issues, including, but not limited to:

•Impacts on the Tampa Bay Surface Water Improvement & Management Plan (adopted by the Southwest Florida Water Management District)

• Impacts on marine and upland habitats, which support marine, avian and mammal species

• Impacts on wetlands, floodplains and coastal mangroves that protect land in hazardous storms

• Impacts on a resident bald eagle nest, monitored by the Clearwater Audubon Society Inc. under the auspices of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and supported by the Florida Audubon Society's Bird of Prey Center.

The proposed land use change, if approved, would permit destruction of at least 7 acres of wetlands. Remember, more than 80 percent of all wetlands that existed before Europeans arrived in North America have been destroyed by development.

Wetlands destruction is contrary to the reason Cooper's Point was originally purchased, which was to preserve those wetlands and prevent another Rocky Point-like creation on the west end of the Courtney Campbell Parkway. This proposed development would have serious long-term consequences for those habitats, their dependent wildlife and the human quality-of-life condition.

This development proposal should be denied.

Michael L. MacDonald, Clearwater

Clearwater has to protect the eagles

Clearwater Christian College, along with consultants and high-powered attorneys, is seeking approval of a land use plan amendment and a development agreement at a public hearing on Thursday, beginning at 6 p.m. in Clearwater City Council chambers, third floor of City Hall, 112 S Osceola Ave. I encourage the public to attend.

The proposals allow for full encroachment on one of two bald eagle nests located within Clearwater. The two Clearwater nests are dramatically different. One nest is located in a cell tower at a car dealership on U.S. 19. The other nest is in a live pine on Cooper's Point, adjacent to Clearwater Christian College.

The proposed development agreement between the city and college mentions the Bald Eagle Management Plan, which was created by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Audubon of Florida and developers. The goal of the plan is to maintain or increase the bald eagle population throughout the state in perpetuity so that bald eagles will never have to be relisted as endangered species again.

The only way to "enforce" the management plan and its required buffer zones is through landowner compliance and prevention of encroachment at local government levels. If a plan that obviously encroaches upon an eagle's nest and completely ignores state guidelines is presented, it is up to officials to deny it.

Green cities with comprehensive plans that tend toward conservation should be creating resolutions to uphold the Bald Eagle Management Plan and updating ordinances to increase protections of bald eagle habitat.

Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have the highest incidence of bald eagles nesting on artificial structures in the state. Protecting nesting eagles in natural habitats is an important goal in highly urbanized environments. Eagles typically return to the same nesting tree year after year unless they are disturbed. Eagles that get accustomed to human activity can lose their caution and have a higher mortality rate.

Right now it is up to the city of Clearwater to do what is clearly the right thing: Deny the amendment. Upholding the Bald Eagle Management Plan is a step toward smart growth.

Barbara Walker, Palm Harbor

Re: Charges mount for man after high-speed chase story, July 29

Where's the justice in this system?

Can someone please explain why anyone would want to be a police officer, considering our extremely liberal justice system?

Here we have a 21-year-old man, Jermaine L. Carlyle, who has been arrested almost three dozen times and was last sentenced to probation (probation?) on charges of grand theft, grand theft auto, burglary and felony driving with a license suspended or revoked.

Gee, is it a real surprise that this career criminal was arrested July 27 after police say he was speeding 100 mph down Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard with two teenage runaway girls in a stolen car?

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this man is sentenced to serve 14 days in jail with Lindsay Lohan for his latest escapades!

Bob Lindskog, Palm Harbor

>>Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our website at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

Don't destroy more Pinellas wetlands 08/03/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 7:48pm]

    

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