County's poor choices led to unfair decision | editorial, Nov. 7
What about the noise ordinance?
Yes, it is true that our County Commission makes poor choices and unfair decisions, and lacks the backbone to say no to development of clearly incompatible projects that contradict laws to promote public health, safety, comfort, convenience and general welfare of county citizens.
Take, for example, the recent case of the neighborhood on Old Keystone Road that unsuccessfully fought the commission's proposal to expand the East Lake Youth Sports Association's sports complex located in this quiet, rural residential neighborhood. Yes, an additional 100 acres of sports fields will bring the complex's total to 127 acres, located less than 100 feet from some homeowners' front yards.
These homeowners attended the County Commission meeting on Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. and patiently waited their turn to voice their concerns to the commission. Their turn came at about 1 a.m.
One by one, weary homeowners got up and expressed concerns about how the East Lake Youth Sports Association with its 2,000 members already disturbs the peace and tranquility of their neighborhood. How the noise emitted from megaphones, air horns, metal baseball bats, boom boxes, whistles, drums, cheerleaders and spectators disrupts neighboring homeowners' rights to comfort, repose, health and peace. That these noises break the county's code regarding noise by surpassing the 72-decibel level approved by our commission for residential neighborhoods. And how this neighborhood has been affected by an overflow of traffic, speeders, bright field lights (which are left on many nights), trash left by association members, and concerns for the safety of the wildlife that inhabit this area and for horseback riders who use Old Keystone Road to get to the horse trail.
They questioned how a 27-acre sports complex was ever allowed in a residential neighborhood in the first place and why the commission felt this already burdened neighborhood deserved another 100 acres of ballfields.
The commission sat emotionless and appeared to have no compassion or sympathy as homeowners poured out concerns about how such an expansion of this sports complex would ultimately destroy their beautiful neighborhood, further disrupt their rights to peace and quiet, negatively affect their health and well-being, and further plummet their home values in an already depressed real estate market.
One commissioner had stated in an e-mail prior to this board meeting that "no" was not an option the board would consider regarding the sports field expansion on Old Keystone Road. How could he make such a comment without first hearing citizens' concerns?
And another commissioner insinuated that the protesting homeowners were against youth playing sports. How absurd. Was he sleeping while homeowners poured their hearts out about the multitude of problems this expansion would cause?
I am curious how our commission is going to deal with the fact that the East Lake Youth Sports Association violates the noise ordinance and the expansion will additionally violate this ordinance. Are they going to change the ordinance to justify their poor decisions while compromising citizens' rights?
Sue DiLenge, Tarpon Springs
Meres plan deserves environmental scrutiny editorial, Nov. 16
Pumping would prevent flooding
The city needs to review that whole area at Meres and Alt. U.S. 19 before allowing any development. There is flooding along the intersection during severe storms and also on Alt. U.S. 19 at the pond in the front of the city golf course in extreme storms.
The city should pump the water to the Meres property from both those sites to prevent flooding along Alt. U.S. 19 and Meres, a main evacuation route. There have been times that it flooded so bad in front of the pond at the golf course that Alt. U.S. 19 was shut down. Helen Ellis Hospital could potentially be inaccessible on either end, especially if more wetlands are allowed to be destroyed.
Tim Keffalas, Tarpon Springs
Clearwater prudent to follow its game plan | editorial, Nov. 13
Taking the stock market approach
Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! Neither wind, nor rain, nor hailstones, nor economic hard times will deter Clearwater city officials from following their intentions. Therefore, the city will be spending $2.3-million to buy the Royalty Theatre in a joint effort with Ruth Eckerd Hall in order to preserve the historic building.
Also on the agenda is a $12.8-million boat slip project on the Intracoastal Waterway near Coachman Park. Never mind that only one individual has sent in the required $500 deposit to reserve a slip. Since Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard was so gung-ho on the project, I can't help but wonder if the lone boat slip depositor may be him.
Nevertheless, we can look at Clearwater's game plan as we would the stock market. Buyers usually invest for long-range goals in order to build a portfolio, while the bottom line is to make money. And that's exactly what the city of Clearwater is doing — investing money in projects that city officials are hoping will earn even more money.
Like most everything else in life, it's a gamble. You can win, you can lose, or maybe you'll just break even. Only time will tell.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater