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Commission attacking nonexistent problem

After reading the notice circulated by the Pinellas County Commission regarding an amendment to restrict parking of recreational vehicles and vessels, we are concerned that the commission is trying to correct a problem that does not exist.

In its statement of intent, the County Commission says that the amendment is to "prevent diminution of property values" and "unsightly appearances in residential areas."

If our village of Crystal Beach is any indication, the increase of property values is just about the highest in the county. Clearly, home buyers are not concerned with either property values or unsightly appearances.

In fact, it seems to us that the visual variety and personal freedoms in Crystal Beach are highly appealing to residents and potential residents. That is why we choose to live in this kind of community! There are plenty of deed-restricted communities for those who choose the conformity that is included in this kind of restriction.

Perhaps the County Commission should be more concerned with the appearance of the commercial roads in the county, which will, if this amendment is approved, be home to an increasing number of commercial establishments for the storage of recreational vehicles and vessels, adding greatly to the sprawl and traffic that affects us all.

We urge all concerned to attend the meeting announced by the commission on Feb. 22.

David and Linda Smalley, Crystal BeachDead downtown drags down all parts of city, even county

Re: Voters, property owners control downtown's fate, column by Diane Steinle, Jan. 9.

Thanks for trying to explain the lack of concern for downtown Clearwater. You are 100 percent right, and the people need to let the city know what they want in downtown. We have had chances to get downtown redone, but both plans have been rejected by Clearwater voters. The mayor, city manager and the City Council have tried their best to get the area redone but can't act unless the voters approve. So that leaves the voters responsible for the empty buildings in our downtown.

Having seen what happens to a downtown area when people refuse to vote for redevelopment, I hope something will wake them up. I'm sure, most residents think our taxes will be higher if they vote for redevelopment, and they probably will be. However, if the downtown loses all its merchants, our taxes will be much higher because we'll lose the revenue that the shopkeepers currently pay.

Yes, even a dead downtown can be very costly to the taxpayers of Pinellas County. When the downtown dies, it won't be long until the outlying areas also start to deteriorate. To have a good, clean and active city, we all have to pitch in and do our part.

If and when another plan comes along to redo downtown, I hope the taxpayers will see that the benefits will outweigh the losses in the long run. To do nothing is to ask for a deserted downtown and I don't think that's what we want.

Frances Glaros, ClearwaterCity doing its part downtown, now voters must do theirs

Re: Voters, property owners control downtown's fate, column by Diane Steinle, Jan. 9.

You hit the nail on the head! It is up to the voters and the property owners to take responsibility for a successful downtown redevelopment.

Clearwater has gone out of its way in the last few years to entice new businesses to move into the downtown and to lure people downtown, often at a loss monetarily to the city. It is unfortunate that some businesses cannot wait for the new streetscape. Yes, during the construction phase, businesses might find it difficult, but the redevelopment must be done.

We cannot have it both ways. Either we try to make the downtown look attractive and inviting, or we let the blight continue. The city is doing its part.

I do wish the voters would realize that enlarging Coachman Park and giving us a waterfront we can enjoy (by taking out the adjacent asphalt street) and a marina to walk along would be a great gift to all taxpayers. We should vote positively for such a referendum when it is offered again. A negative vote goes nowhere.

Elizabeth France, ClearwaterBig buses aren't free no matter who pays to put them on roads

Re: Citizens' advice would fix bus route priorities for PSTA, letter, Jan. 9.

I have asked of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority the same questions pertaining to the use of fuel-guzzling large buses as opposed to smaller vans.

To make a very long story short, I was informed the taxpayers saved money by letting the federal government pay for the buses. Obviously, the head of PSTA believes the federal government gets private donations to fund these buses.

Now that that is cleared up, the only outlay by the taxpayers is upkeep and fuel.

George Arthur, LargoTrail users should have to stop at all intersections along route

You have published some letters recently that complain of Pinellas Trail users not stopping at intersections. As a motorist who occasionally cycles and skates on the trail, I don't understand why this seems to be such a big problem.

The trail is one of the very few places where people, especially children, families with youngsters and the elderly, can feel reasonably safe and be in a less polluted and more peaceful environment. Motorists kill and injure many people with their cars. I have never heard of a walker, cyclist or skater killing or injuring a vehicle driver.

Come on, you guys. Why don't you join many of your fellow motorists who stop and wave on with a friendly smile anyone on the trail approaching an intersection? You might waste a few minutes of your precious time, but on most journeys you will only cross the trail once.

For me, the best answer would be a rigidly enforced right of way for all trail users at all intersections other than those controlled with traffic lights.

Eric Ward, Tarpon Springs

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