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Chamber signals willingness to compromise on signs

Editor: The Clearwater City Commission made another mistake by moving ahead to enact the sign ordinance section of our land development code.

No one likes unsightly signs or any other type of clutter that affects the beauty of our city. On the other hand, we need proper identification and promotion of our businesses so people can find them and do business here in our city, to help our economy.

Obviously, we need a compromise where all interests are satisfied.

The sign code was developed in 1985 by city staff with limited input from the business community. Your chamber encouraged city officials to delay enactment of the code until they could receive more input from the community. They refused and proceeded. They gave the community seven years to conform to the sign code or be penalized.

In 1988, your chamber was successful in developing several revisions that were accepted by the city. The code became better but was still not at an appropriate compromise level.

Now comes your City Commission seven years later with a sign code that still needs work to make it reasonable. They also are not taking into consideration the recession we are in.

Although most of the firms that have non-conforming signs know their signs have to come down, they did not anticipate a three-year recession preceding this expense, which could be thousands of dollars.

Many small businesses are failing. Many more are experiencing severe financial downturns. The cost of a new sign could cause them to go out of business or severely hurt their ability to be successful.

Your chamber encourages the commission to get out its "I-told-you-so" mode and look at the reality of the situation. We encourage them to delay enactment of the sign code for three years. During that time, we suggest the city put together a group comprised of city staff, business people and residents to develop a compromise, the results of which would enhance the beauty of our community, yet appropriately identify and promote our businesses.

City officials may feel they gave adequate notice. They did, but on a sign code that was unacceptable and that they would not change.

We need your help and the help of our commissioners. We are willing to help arrive at a compromise to help improve our city and help businesses at the same time. Will you support that? If so, please write to your City Commission and to the newspaper with your comments.

Kenneth G. Hamilton, chairman of the board,

Greater Clearwater Chamber of Commerce

Vote "no' to Morgan Drive access

Editor: Renourishment of our beach for protection of our coastline from hurricanes or storm surges is a daydream of the Belleair Beach City Council.

Upon speaking to David Bielodeau in the Pinellas County emergency office, I received the following information. A hurricane rated No. 1 to No. 6 has a storm surge from 6 to 18 feet, one rated No. 7 has a surge from 18 to 20 feet. This will not only lift the renourished beach away but will carry all the sand, rocks, etc., from the beach and dump it landward. Mr. Bielodeau said the only protection would be to evacuate the city of Belleair Beach.

With or without renourishment, flood insurance premiums definitely will rise, but not to the outrageous costs of $13,000 stated by John Hackett. Flood insurance certainly will be available and no current policies obsolete as we have been misled to believe by Hackett. The unknown cost to Belleair Beach residents for beach renourishment would be far more costly than our flood insurance premiums.

By petition, an extremely large percentage of our citizens do not want our beach renourished. Nor do they want our Morgan Drive access opened to the general public.

The referendum of Nov. 3 will ask us if we want to open the Morgan Drive access to the public. Providing parking spaces to the public is a prerequisite for application by the city to the federal government for the funding to renourish our beach.

It is imperative that we all remember to vote no on this issue.

Audrey Hughes, Belleair Beach

Good Samaritan should be thanked

Editor: I would like to write a short note about a young man whose story should be told.

As I came south on Seminole Boulevard and prepared to cross to my driveway, there seemed to be something holding up traffic. I saw that traffic coming north was at a standstill.

Then I saw the young man on his bike. He wheeled it across the street to the sidewalk and ran over to a van that had somehow caught on a dead limb underneath the wheels. The van was stuck there with the traffic piling up.

He went to the van and, struggling with the branch, pulled and tugged it out of the way and the traffic started up again. There was no one to applaud his quick action, but I saw it and wished I could have thanked him.

There are many nice young people who help when needed!

Barbara Rogers, Seminole

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