Reducing impact fees a costly move
Cutting impact fees is essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul. When the piper plays it will be the citizens that pay the piper, especially those with school-age children.
The subdivision developers, home constructors, Realtors, property appraisers, mortgage brokers, et al. were either in collusion with the Wall Street gurus or cognizant and only happy to ride the gravy train spawned by the housing bubble they helped created via the sub-prime market.
When the bubble burst and the piper played, it was the citizens that took out mortgages they could afford to repay only to find themselves underwater on the mortgages when the bill came due. Again the citizens paid not the developers or others.
Reducing impact fees is an economically unsound idea. It only serves to revive the gravy train for special interests.
George Ellsworth, Dade City
Re: Changing West Pasco, April 10 article
My neighborhood is filling with junk
I live in an area that has changed. There are homes in my neighborhood that are no longer occupied by the owners. They are rentals. The yards are filled with cars and trucks so there is no grass growing. Junk and trash in the front yards. Then more trash in the back yards and bags of garbage.
The value of my home has fallen. What a shame.
Pamela Moore, New Port Richey
Honor Miss Julie for her dedication
One great lady is gone. Many may not know of her, but what she did for recording the history of our area is monumental. Julie Obenrader did more for documenting our heritage than anyone. She realized it was necessary to ask questions, preserve the history and did so in her books.
She was the momentum behind getting the school building, which houses the museum, moved to downtown New Port Richey. Without her, it's questionable if the West Pasco Museum and Historical Society would even be in existence. She, with tenacity, (ask County Administrator John Gallagher) with her husband, Roy, with toil and with a few friends, got it done. They didn't do this for a tax deduction, personal recognition or glorification. It was done by them for their dedication, love of the area and the preserving of its history.
She was quietly caring of the mothers who were giving birth especially on Pine Hill in the black community. Julie was there when the doctor wasn't and was a great comfort to the women of the hill.
I will remember Miss Julie for her good works, kind spirit and drive. If anyone's name belongs on the West Pasco Historical Society and Museum, it should be hers.
Joan Rees, New Port Richey
DeWitt should focus on real issue
Regarding Dan DeWitt's recent column about the Chassahowitzka River, Dan just can't help himself. When he has the opportunity to say something really worthwhile, like questioning a proposed Southwest Florida Water Management District rule that will legally allow harmful additional impacts to the Chassahowitzka River, he chooses instead to personally attack the author of a very well-written letter. It is ill advised, immature and certainly not professional.
This is an issue that concerns the Chassahowitzka now but has applicability to all gulf coast spring-fed rivers such as Weeki Wachee, Rainbow and Silver Run, to name the major ones. This is a very significant decision by the district that needs to be thoroughly assessed by all interested and potentially impacted persons as well those concerned about these very sensitive coastal ecosystems.
The problem is that the water management district's scientific premises are so esoteric few people have the background to question its conclusions. Don't get me wrong. The district's scientists are great and I have deep respect for them, but this is all new stuff requiring very iffy judgment.
By iffy, I mean it involves creating a public policy that when applied will legally allow additional negative environmental impacts upon a complex and very sensitive living coastal system without tripping a standard called significant harm. Not a simple task. The very concept of allowing additional harmful impacts by regulatory design upon a river system — beyond those which locals are saying has already occurred — to the edge of a vague, undefined statutory test referred to as significant harm is simply not wise.
Years from now the question will be asked, what were we thinking? But it will be too late because the permits for removing the flow from the springs will have been already granted. The question will likely be answered with a great sigh of resignation and a declaration that the spigots can't be turned off because the public now depends upon the supply and finding another will be too expensive. It is an all too familiar refrain.
Dan obviously has some personal vendettas remaining over past battles of his — long-lost battles legitimately won by a respectable company after extended public discussion. He should've focused on the real issue here, the harm that is about to be allowed upon a sensitive river system by a government charged with its protection.
Sonny Vergara, former executive director, Southwest Florida Water Management District