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This time, passing the buck ends in family's tragedy


The county issues about six permits a year to homeowner associations and developers who want to landscape and maintain a median, said Jerry Taylor, an engineer with the county's planning and growth department. Typically, all are approved, provided they meet requirements for how far drivers can see down the road.

"The county doesn't have the funds to do it, but they are glad to see the developer do it,"Taylor said.

It is typical for a local government, county and city, to pass the buck for responsibility of landscape maintenance of rights-of-way to the developers and homeowner associations because they don't have the expertise or the trained staff to provide the level of work required to maintain the standards necessary for this type of work. In addition, these local governments don't have the ability to maintain standards for other infrastructure built by developers as well, such as streets, sidewalks, curbs, street signs, bike paths, sewer and storm water systems, etc. Nor are they willing to spend the money.

Developers and local governments have long abused the guidelines by which these large developments were to be built. Lack of properly planned infrastructure, streets, schools, etc., and proper maintenance have resulted in many community problems that are neglected until the county and/or the city is forced to act. Sadly, this time it cost the life of an 11-year-old child, permanently injured her 7-year-old sister and devastated this family for their entire lives.

But this safety issue, like most other development issues, is being dealt with by pointing fingers at each other, trying to transfer blame and denying any responsibility.

This time it won't work. This time they're all going to pay the high price for their indifference but not one so dear as the price this family will pay for the rest of their lives.

Bob Doran,

Tampa Palms

How would rec center be used?

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