1. Archive

Beach agenda leaves out green space

Re: Treasure Island land development regulations.

Some residents who have signed the petition opposing the new regulations truly have their "heads in the sand!" The reality is that buildings will eventually go higher. The question is who will set the standard. Will it be those in Treasure Island who have no history or vested interest and are in it for profit only, and will take their profits and run? Or will it be those who have contributed to the progress and processes to get us where we are today?

I grew up here on the gulf beaches, and up until about four years ago Treasure Island was one of the most run down of the gulf beach islands. In early 1998 we started the visioning process, and I am very proud of being a major contributor to the Vision Steering Committee.

We are a community that has residential properties and businesses that need to exist for mutual benefit. And we are and always have been a tourist-driven community. Our local taxes are among the lowest in Pinellas County, partly due to tourist dollars.

Property values of the mom-and-pop hotels on the beaches have quadrupled, just as the values of the residential properties have, over the past 20 years. The gulf-front properties are no longer worth just a couple hundred thousand dollars; some are now worth millions! How can they continue to operate if they cannot even rebuild to the existing capacity they have now if they were lost in a tornado or hurricane? Some of the local properties are no longer desirable to a portion of the tourist clientele. They look run-down, because they were built in the '50s and '60s and are old. Their owners need to have the right to upgrade in a way (with the current flood regulations) that will be both profitable and aesthetically pleasing and that will allow for more green space. Why should they continue to work so hard just to make ends meet when they could sell and take their earnings and run? Most do so because they truly love Treasure Island.

We, as a community, need to understand the true motivation of this current movement and what the outcome for the future could be. Residents are being sold a "bill of goods," by a group that wants to be the new leaders in City Hall. They have real connections with real estate developers and investors. Green space will not be on the agenda, with a group of real estate developers in City Hall.

Wake up, Treasure Island residents.

Kathy Macdonald-McCreary, Treasure Island

Eject speakers who misbehave

To the commissioners and mayor of Treasure Island:

We support you as our elected representatives and urge your continued patience, good will and professionalism in the face of personal insults and attacks from persons who are using the land development regulation issues for their political purposes. We support the current running of our city, including the Planning and Zoning Board and the recommendations of that body.

We abhor the personal attacks on our commissioners and volunteer board members by persons claiming to represent decent citizens of this island. They certainly do not represent us!

We urge that the conduct of and language used by speakers at the commission meetings be civil and not vile. We urge that any person speaking out, acting out or shouting out of turn or in a vile or threatening manner be ejected from the meeting(s).

Bob and Rosemary Thompson, Treasure Island

Pier arch a misguided idea

Re: No rise in tax rate, council decides, July 12.

Of all the bird-brained nonsense for absurd expenditures, a $270,000 gateway arch leading to the Pier really takes the cake! Come to think of it, the cost of a cake decorated with an arch would fit any budget awaiting my approval and be far more appropriate. I'd even bake it myself.

Can the misguided heads not zone in on vital projects to pour money into that would count for something of consequence? I can think of half a dozen. Can't they? Ugh!

Betty Honig, St. Petersburg

Give us more than a boardwalk

Re: From oil nightmare to beach dreams, July 7.

As a resident of St. Pete Beach, I found the article to be both interesting and newsworthy. However, I am not completely satisfied with the city commissioners' announcements of the beautification projects to be funded with the settlement amount of $752,500. I (and I'm certain that others in our community are curious) would like to know who is the final authority on this decision and what factors were considered to influence it.

A raised boardwalk and landscaped walkway seem feasible for beautifying our area, yet they serve as a "Band-Aid" and do not provide a true solution to the original problem. Our family often notices areas of filth along the docks and shores of our local waters. For those reasons, I pose this question to city officials and to marine scientists instrumental in advising our city officials: What options does the city have to fund a solution-driven project of cleaning and maintaining the local waters and shoreline?

From my understanding, the $752,500 settlement is due to the barges' collision and oil splattering along the gulf beaches. In addition to reporting on projects leading to a cosmetic facelift along the beach, please report on what steps have been (or can be) taken to resolve the water's problems caused by the oil spill.

Robert E. Pardo, St. Pete Beach

Library suits our needs

I think that the city of St. Petersburg is trying to fix something that is not broken with its plans to shut down the Azalea branch library. I use the library weekly and it suits my needs perfectly. The staff is helpful and friendly, the book selection is great, and parking and access are easy.

Moving the library to the St. Petersburg College campus might give me more reference materials, but nothing I could not access more easily on the Internet. Also, the campus parking and traffic are a real problem at present, and even with supervised reserved library parking I cannot see the problem improving. Azalea has always had adequate parking.

The present current Azalea facility now has the advantage that it is open after school and kids can use it to do homework or use the computers in a supervised area until working parents can pick them up. A library at the college campus would not have this advantage.

I would rather use the main library than one on this busy campus.

Ray Lydon, St. Petersburg

A small-business advantage

Re: Small-factory town, July 21.

You report that 55 percent of the manufacturing firms in Pinellas County have between one and 50 full-time employees.

There is a reason for this. Many government regulations apply only to firms with 50 or more employees. Thus firms smaller than this have a significant competitive advantage over slightly larger ones. So, many small businesses are discouraged from growing to a staff of, say, 70.

Harold Leiendecker, Clearwater