It’s Time To STOP!

Letters

BY MOLLIE CARDAMONE SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY NOV 9, 2019

We founded STOP!, a civic organization, in 2016 with the intention of being active for approximately one year. Our purpose was to focus attention on the inadequacies of the City’s zoning code particularly approval procedures, traffic studies and sidewalk width. STOP! received an overwhelming mandate from the public and remained active until 2019. Despite the fact that STOP!’s steering committee members stepped out of the limelight several months ago, we have continued to be attacked by a handful of individuals who apparently believe they can rewrite history. We felt it was our duty to set the record straight.

To STOP!’s detractors:

1. We are sorry you are still confused about the facts surrounding STOP! It was never a “no growth” organization. You are clearly mistaking us for another organization called “Control Growth Now.”

2. STOP! was primarily focused on educating the citizenry on the obvious pitfalls of the current major project approval process for downtown that prohibited most public hearings. We were always about quality development that would benefit the citizens by providing improved walkability and improved traffic flows while maintaining a cherished quality of life. We were NEVER about trying to control growth or anything else. Kindly review three years of City Commission meeting videos at which we laid out our concerns. The truth is there for all to see.

3. STOP! never addressed taxes or other financial issues relating to new projects downtown other than pointing out to the sitting Commissioners that the City had forgone several hundred thousand dollars in new site plan fees. This has since been rectified by a Zoning Text Amendment, which STOP! drafted and championed. That is something we would put on a poster. As for growth increasing the tax base, let’s not forget that good quality growth produces the same amount of increased tax base as poor quality growth. A well-planned city has a greater chance of seeing its tax base endure.

4. STOP! was led by a very small group of concerned citizens who volunteered their time, talents and resources to research a variety of important local concerns in the hope of providing appropriate solutions amidst a billion dollar building boom. Those activities garnered the support of 18 neighborhood, condo and civic organizations. At maturity, our email list was over 600 names long. Perhaps you are intimidated by the breadth of our support around the City. Please try to get over us!

In summary, we would suggest strongly that these inaccurate and aggressive attacks cease. It is true the STOP! organization has disbanded, but our support base has not disappeared. Many are watching, listening and waiting for a successor organization to engage where STOP! left off.

Mollie Cardamone is a former STOP! Steering Committee Member.

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