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Revising development code will spawn more problems

Editor's note: The first two letters are in response to Clearwater revisits development code, story, May 8.

Life is made more miserable by those who run to government bureaucrats and politicians for every problem in their lives. All of us must then change our lives to accommodate them.

In the first instance, a condominium owner is unhappy that other owners have decided to rent their units rather than live there. Even though condominiums have legal agreements that all owners must adhere to, he wants to go to the city to force a change that the other members of the association do not want. But because he can't persuade the others to join his cause, he will go to a politician or bureaucrat who is always looking to expand his or her power. Other owners are the losers and so are the rest of us who lose more control over our lives to the state.

In the case of parking on grass, some neighbors want to force others to conform to their wishes. One person even has the silly notion that she has a right to a view. If those people are so concerned about how people park their cars, they should move to a deed-restricted community where that sort of thing is prohibited. Everyone who lives in a deed-restricted community has voluntarily agreed to abide by the same rules before they move there.

We should all remember the words of philosopher Albert Jay Nock: "Whatever power you give the state to do things for you carries with it the equivalent power to do things to you."

J. B. Pruitt, Jr., Clearwater

Rules help deal with raucous renters

It is imperative that the proposed amendment to the Clearwater Community Development Code requiring that condominiums and houses be rented for at least one month be passed. It should be three months.

Clearwater has two types of rental properties _ motels and residences. Motels are equipped to manage rentals for short durations. Condominiums and homes without such management resources cannot address the issues created by short-term renters _ especially abusive renters with callous absentee owners and agents.

Many condominiums have deed restrictions requiring rentals for at least one week, one month or three months, but these restrictions are difficult if not impossible to enforce. If these restrictions were local law, Clearwater residents who suffer from abusive visitors would have realistic and speedy recourse.

Clearwater is a very desirable and beautiful community, but it also attracts those who have a desire to pilfer and detract from the community. One source of detractors is the short-term renters at facilities without the resources to adequately manage them. There are renters who come for a week and bring as many as 20 extra guests. These people often party loudly all night, become drunk, abuse the beach and deface the area.

The rental agent is nearly impossible to get hold of and is often indifferent to the situation. One agent told me not to worry because the renter was only staying two days _ a clear violation of the minimum one-week rental rule.

If we had this law, we could call the police, resolve the abusive-renter problem and have the rental agent summoned. Ignore those few motivated landlords who want to retain their right to abuse and effectively ignore the well-being of the community.

William and Sheila Barrett, Clearwater Beach

"No parking' signs mean only one thing

Re: Moviegoers seethe after cars towed, story, May 18.

I am extremely disappointed in everyone involved in this situation. First, who do these people think they are? No parking means no parking. If they wanted to eat at the Burger King and had nowhere to park, they would swear at the manager or someone because they could not find somewhere to park.

Second, if anyone should be yelled at, it should be the city of Oldsmar. It is the one that had to have a movie theater in that area and did not plan for it to have more parking.

Third, in the article it said that Bayside Towing and Recovery did not have an occupational license. Guess what? The movie theater did not, either. So to all of you who think you are above the law, take your written driver's test again. Maybe you missed the question about "no parking" signs.

R. Schmidt, Holiday

Plan would build up a better Dunedin

Re: Proposal for seaport village sells out Dunedin, letter, May 11.

Recently, on behalf of the Dunedin Historical Society Foundation Inc., Richard Gehring made a presentation to the Dunedin City Commission regarding a possible extension of the vision for downtown Dunedin. It is important that the idea not be misconstrued.

It is not the intent of either the foundation or Gehring to seek the development of a highly commercialized historical village. Although Williamsburg and Mystic Seaport may be wonderful experiences, this is certainly not what is envisioned for Dunedin. The reference to those communities was intended only to paint a picture of the historical ambience so evident in those towns.

Dunedin's downtown redevelopment is the envy of many communities. As we ponder the future, we are seeking to continue this work with a renewed emphasis on preserving and re-creating the historical character of Dunedin _ one of the oldest communities on Florida's west coast.

Dunedin's marina is picturesque but certainly not quaint. In this area there are several buildings owned by the city, including the combination fish house and harbor master office, a boat club, a gazebo and public restroom buildings. Each of these buildings will require significant repairs or replacement within the next five or 10 years.

On behalf of the foundation, Gehring made the presentation at a commission strategic planning workshop. This is not a proposal seeking immediate commission endorsement. Rather we hope the commission might instruct city staff to study the proposal within the context of a long-range plan. We hope the study might identify the incremental cost of rebuilding these structures with a historical facade versus simply bringing the buildings up to current standards. Once the incremental costs are identified, the foundation would attempt to close the gap through grant writing and fundraising.

As currently envisioned, a slightly enlarged fish house and harbor master office would include a re-created Douglas-Summerville general store. A portion of a greatly improved boat club facility might include an area to highlight Dunedin's importance as a trading post, and the restrooms would be more functional and styled to look like the old library hall that stood there many years ago.

We are acutely aware of existing parking problems in downtown Dunedin, particularly within the marina area. At some future date we do hope to be able to develop a walking tour of historical properties in the downtown area. However, such plans will be carefully made and will include provisions for parking for visitors away from Main Street and the marina, but convenient to enjoy the shopping and dining of our delightful downtown. We hope that our vision may add to the character of Dunedin and cause visitors to linger just a bit longer and enhance the civic pride of our residents.

Kevin J. Donoghue, president

Dunedin Historical Society Foundation Inc.

A question of consultants' credentials

Re: Why do all the experts come from outside the area? letter, May 21.

To avoid venting my lengthy views on consultants, I will simply offer this definition of "expert": An expert is someone more than 50 miles from home with a briefcase.

James Kiehl, Largo

Anti-growth arguments have little depth

People who are against development because they say there is not enough water for new residents make no sense. To follow their argument, there should not be places for people to live in downtown Clearwater because we do not have enough water. Well, where should these people live? Should they live in Pasco County or farther out? Do they have more water out there?

Maybe we should not allow anyone new to live in the state of Florida. To follow this reasoning, we should begin sterilizing people so that no new residents will be born. That is the only solution for the anti-growth arguments.

One must ask, "What do people with this mind-set want?" They don't really want less growth of business; they want fewer people. They want the population numbers from 1950.

Jennifer Selinske, Safety Harbor

Police chief deserves to be defended

I am writing in defense of the Largo Police Department, its fine sworn officers and its very honorable chief, Jerry Bloechle. In the three years that Bloechle has been police chief, there has not been one iota of scandal.

This investigation of past indiscretions is nit-picking. No laws were broken, no written departmental policy violated, only poor choices were made. It only proved to Largo citizens and the Largo City Commission that our current chief deserves our continued support and gratitude.

Kathy Nudd, Largo

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