Saturday, December 16, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Sheriff's Office deserves thanks for catching thief

Nabbing thief was a job well done

Last week, our commander at VFW Post 10209, received a call from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office giving us the good news that an arrest was made in the Jan. 2 theft of our air conditioning units.

My thanks go out to all within the Sheriff's Office who worked with diligence to solve this crime. Our community is served well by the Sheriff's Office and members of law enforcement are not recognized often enough for the work they do.

My heartfelt thanks for a job well done in apprehending these criminals who created so much havoc in our community.

Stacy Johnston, Spring Hill

Plan for new channel deserves close scrutiny Jan. 15 editorial

Dredging defies Pasco's own rules

The editorial was right on the mark. In applying for this dredge permit, Pasco County has failed to show how it is following its own goals, objectives and policies as published in the county comprehensive plan.

An environmental impact statement is required by the comprehensive plan to show that the impact of the project on natural resources is not adverse. No environmental impact statement has been ordered by the county or submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The comprehensive plan also prohibits the use of public money for private benefit, and this in itself is reason to deny the permit application out of hand. (Policy COA 2.2.2 Coastal High Hazard Area: Infrastructure Limitations — "Pasco County shall not provide nor allow either directly or indirectly infrastructure to be provided to serve the private development of offshore islands, coastal swamps, marshlands, and beaches. Pasco County shall prohibit county investments for public infrastructure within the coastal high hazard area except for public recreation.'' And, Policy COA 2.4.1 — "Pasco County shall prohibit the expenditure of county funds for the construction of facilities within the coastal high hazard area which would open up new areas for development.'')

The sole reason for dredging to the width and depth requested is to accommodate the private interests proposing SunWest Harbourtowne. As proposed in the intertwined SunWest DRI, the dredging would establish a route to the Gulf of Mexico for private yachts berthed in a marina where public access to facilities is denied. Exceptions to this prohibition are public recreation and facilities needed to serve existing development. The existing channel is adequate for the type of boats (transported via trailer) that the county park at SunWest is designed to accommodate. Evidence of the channel's adequate width and depth is demonstrated by the fact that the SunWest mine property owner has constructed a boat launch facility on the north side of the existing channel and has solicited charter captains to use it for a fee.

The county's application further violates its policy on sea grass protection and its policy on development conditions for marinas, which states they should be located in areas which require minimal submerged land alteration. A dredged channel over 4 miles in length can hardly be called a "minimal submerged land alteration."

Additionally, Pasco's application fails to demonstrate consistency with the state Department of Environmental Protection coastal management plan. Without an environmental impact statement, compliance with the coastal zone management plan may not be assumed.

Areas of critical concern are defined by state law as: Containing, or having a significant impact upon, environmental or natural resources of regional or statewide importance, including but not limited to, state or federal parks, major rivers and estuaries, state environmentally endangered lands, Outstanding Florida Waters and aquifer recharge areas, the uncontrolled private or public development of which would cause substantial deterioration of resources.

The Fillman's Bayou flats area and adjacent marshes are critical to the maintenance of healthy populations of many fish species, both recreational and commercial. Destroying the integrity of this area to accommodate a private developer would result in a loss of spawning grounds, juvenile nurseries and habitat that has made this area an angling hot spot recognized on most fishing guides to the Gulf Coast.

The call for an environmental impact statement to assess the effects, both short term and cumulative, of the proposed dredge merely asks Pasco County to abide by its own rules and regulations.

By his visceral ad hominem attacks aimed at responsible environmental professionals, Commissioner Jack Mariano has revealed that Pasco County realizes the proposed dredge cannot pass scrutiny on its merits.

McMillan Davis, Aripeka

Comments

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Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

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