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New housing project location debatable

Editor: Re: Housing project not racial issue, Nov. 4 letter to the editor:

A recent letter from Donald T. Hammond, co-chairman of the Wellington Residents Action Committee, regarding the proposed Spring Haven Apartments on Mariner Boulevard, touched on several significant points relating to "affordable" housing projects in the Spring Hill area. While I am not a Seven Hills homeowner, I live less than 2 miles away and am just as interested in the potential effect that projects such as this could have on my property value.

While Hammond reviewed several valid points about the proposed projects, one item seems to be overlooked _ more acceptable locations. Since the beginning of the discussions, the only locations the county seems interested in are adjacent to Seven Hills, Silverthorn, etc.

I completely agree with the concerns of the residents of these areas, and have yet to hear why, with so much open land available in Hernando County, our planners feel they have to run roughshod over concerns of the homeowners and not at least consider areas less than a mile from the proposed locations. They might have less-agitated taxpayers.

One of the points Hammond reviews is the water situation. We are told that, in spite of the amount of rain we have had this year, there is still a shortage. Assuming this is true, why are the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the County Commission continually approving building projects ranging from multihome developments to shopping centers?

Roland J. Olsberg, Spring Hill

Veteran's helper has been a great asset

Editor: Re: He draws veterans' criticisms and kudos, Oct. 13 Times:

The article is obviously done for the purpose of costing Veteran Services Officer Deron Mikal his job by a group of interconnected individuals seeking revenge.

I am one of the 3,000 veterans who Mikal helped with a VA claim, which was approved. As far as I'm concerned, he does walk on water. I have known this kindly, caring, compassionate man for a long time. I have seen him give veterans money out of his own pocket and take them and feed and buy them clothes, and help them get a place to stay. If I was aware he needed anything, all he has to do is call this veteran and, if I have it, he gets it.

The timing for this couldn't come at a worse time for Mikal, who would never tell you he is being treated for cancer and undergoing a major operation on his hip at this time.

Ken Wrinkle, if you fire Mikal over these complaints, I'm one of the 23,000 veterans in this county who will be very upset with you. Your defense of Mikal was very ambiguous. In your shoes, I would have stated that finding another veteran services officer of his caliber is impossible. Only two complaints out of 3,002, and motivated for very petty reasons. I would have said I intend to give Mikal a pay raise, and keep him as long as he will work here.

As for the complainers, we have a very good county and the people who live here are of the highest quality. But if your group of whiners are not happy here, why don't all of you move elsewhere? We don't need your kind in this county.

Alfred T. DeVault, Brooksville

Will new commissioner benefit county?

Editor: The election is over. Did the best man win? Well, I am not sure. Former Hernando County Commissioner Chris Kingsley was a good man and did a good job in office. Many others did not think so and they voted Robert Schenck into Kingsley's spot.

Kingsley was criticized for being arrogant, talking down to people and not doing more to stop the affordable housing projects. (I do not agree.) I have known him as kind, caring, bright and dedicated.

Schenck received most of his support from developer-type sources, such as the builders and real estate agents. Now, Schenck will join four female commissioners on the board to deal with some of the same issues as Kingsley did. Will Schenck do more for the county?

Kingsley tried to help the appearance of the county by requiring a better-looking "box" for commercial structures, road paving, shed size, etc. Also, I believe Kingsley was concerned about the development of the new Wal-Mart store, under construction on U.S. 19.

Some residents of Hernando County are concerned about quality-of-life issues, such as traffic, water, crime, congestion, crowded schools, lack of community recreation (swimming facility), undesirable impacts, environment, etc. Will Schenck be a better man? Or will he be more concerned about new development without regard for residents' wishes? We will need to wait and see.

Hernando County will continue to grow, with or without help from the commissioners. The real concern is, who will manage growth the best?

All citizens wish Schenck the best of luck in his new office, and some will be watching how he votes on new development that is near and dear to his heart, as opposed to quality-of-life issues.

Doug Sheffield, Brooksville

Shrinking traffic lanes a smart decision

Editor: I would like to thank the Hernando County Department of Public Works and department director Charles Mixson for the recent decision to reduce traffic lanes in the Heather and save the existing trees in the median. By doing so, they also were able to create a much-needed walking lane.

Some residents were either misinformed or simply selfish in their quest to keep the road to four lanes. At any given time, children and adults can be seen riding bicycles or walking along St. Andrews Boulevard. Some said,"Let them walk someplace else." That is ridiculous, because St. Andrews is the main road in the subdivision.

The safety of the residents should be a top priority. There are never more than one or two cars entering the Heather at any one time. There is no possible way traffic would back up onto U.S. 19, as some suggested.

One of the most ridiculous reasons I heard for keeping the roadway four lanes was that those who live on St. Andrews would be unable to back out of their driveways if it was reduced to two lanes. They actually thought they could not cross the walking lane? Maybe they could have been airlifted?

Thank God for the common sense of Mixson.

Patricia Cameron, Weeki Wachee

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