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Tarpon Springs water project has not been a secret

Re: City well meeting notice misleading | letter, Dec. 27

Water project has not been a secret

I would like to provide information in response to the above-referenced letter regarding an apparent mistaken perception of Tarpon Springs' actions related to acquiring well sites for our alternative water supply project.

The project being planned by the city is an important water supply project not only for our city, but also for our region. Through a carefully managed brackish water supply as proposed by the city, this project will serve to lessen the demand on our regional water supplier, Tampa Bay Water, which in turn will allow for further recovery of inland freshwater aquifers and more options to meet the region's growing demands.

This project has included thorough study both in the planning stages and in the field through comprehensive testing programs to demonstrate that the project is not only feasible, but also environmentally responsible. Concerns related to sinkholes and water quality impacts have been satisfactorily reviewed by experts and will continue to be reviewed on a site-specific basis through the construction and testing process.

The water use permitting process that the city will complete before the proposed wells are drilled establishes a process to protect pre-existing groundwater users throughout the life of the project.

Many of the well sites the city is proposing are on city property. There are several well sites that are proposed on property not previously owned by the city (in unincorporated Pinellas County). I must emphasize, however, that in these cases, even though these sites were not yet owned by the city, the city followed standard procedures for siting the wells on these properties.

The city could not legally submit for variances or conditional land use approvals under its own name since the city was not the legal property owner at the time of each application, though the city was listed as "party to the contract" as a co-applicant on each application.

In addition, the documents also listed and explained the city's intended use for each property (i.e., underground potable water supply well with related piping). As stated by some members of the Pinellas County Local Planning Agency, it is not at all uncommon for the property seller to apply for a variance or conditional use prior to completion of the sale of the property.

In addition, in accordance with state and county procedures, the request for conditional use was publicly advertised in the newspaper, in direct mailings to adjacent property owners within a more than 200-foot radius of the property, and a sign was posted on the property itself.

From a public meeting held in 2004 to present the initial draft of the city's alternative water supply plan, to ongoing Internet postings on the city's Web site, to intensive public information efforts during the 2006 referendum that allowed the city to — among other things — purchase well sites, to regular updates at Board of Commissioners meetings open to the public, the city has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to make this a community project that is open to the public.

Paul Smith, Public Services director, city of Tarpon Springs

Re: Where will the speed bumps lead us? | Diane Steinle column, Dec. 20

Post a speed limit that's reasonable

Why do I have to slow down to 15 mph for a speed bump when the posted speed limit in my neighborhood is 25 mph? Why can't the speed calming device be engineered and constructed for the posted speed limit?

Is there an engineering plan that must be followed, then inspected, once the device has been put in place to ensure that the posted speed limit for the device is to design specifications?

In Lakewood Estates in St. Petersburg, there have been many speed bumps installed and each one is constructed differently. There are several that if you did drive 15 mph over it you would bottom out the front of your vehicle. You had best do 10 mph to keep from damaging your car.

I am not complaining about the speed bumps/calming devices in general, for they do address the speeding issues. It is the way they are constructed and the damage that can occur to the vehicle due to incorrect construction.

And again, why do I have to slow to 15 mph or less when the posted speed limit is 25 mph?

Laura Kingsland, St. Petersburg

Re: Where will the speed bumps lead us? | Diane Steinle column, Dec. 20

Speed bumps harm home sales

Thank you for the article on speed bumps. Everyone we talk to about this agrees that traffic calming devices are a real nuisance, and perhaps a public hazard, as you say.

In Tanglewood, where we live, the neighborhood has been without representation by the Council of Neighborhood Associations for years. Efforts to get it going again invariably turn on this one issue.

One side effect of the speed bumps and islands seems to be that houses nearby don't sell readily. We believe this is driving down home values for the sellers as well as for the neighborhood. These devices are an obvious red flag to any potential buyer that "something is wrong here."

Mark and Pam Reinecke, St. Petersburg

Tarpon Springs water project has not been a secret 01/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 7:22pm]
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