Jul 14, 2019, 7:51 PM
Dear Mayor and Commissioners:
I attended and spoke at the July 10th City Commission meeting regarding items 11a-Woodlands Country Club Large Scale Land Use Plan Amendment and 11b- Woodlands Country Club Rezoning. I live in Section 7 and my home backs up on the proposed Pod G where the zero lot line 2 story homes will be. Even though many speakers at your commission meeting spoke against the development of the zero lot line two story homes, I don’t think that 13th floor is interesting in eliminating the zero lot line homes because Pod G allows them to maximize their profits. Pod G will bring in income for more than half of the proposed development. I have heard supporters of the plan basically saying its no big deal because these homes are only in the southern back corner of the development. However, the residents who currently live in the southern back corner are also part of the Woodland community.
Some of you who voted in favor of these two items suggested that we work with 13th Floor to find compromises. As residents we have no clout or power. 13th Floor representatives are willing to talk to us in order to gain our support for their development and dangle hope that they will consider our concerns but their bottom line is all about company profits and therefore it is very unlikely that they will consider significantly reducing the number or type of homes on their current plan without your directives. You are the ones with the power, not us. 13th Floor executives and staff are seeking your votes to approve the zoning changes more than they are after our support. If you are serious about supporting the concerns of the residents and community about having changes made to their plans, you need to be the ones to meet with 13th Floor and demand the changes your constituents want. However, I don’t know how you can do this when at this time there are no final site plans, no final traffic analysis, and no flooding, infrastructure or density studies for you to analyze, review, criticize, or endorse. Additionally, there are serious questions about the dangers of the chemicals/arsenic in the golf course soil that need to be addressed.
I am not a politician but I don’t understand how you can move the amendment and rezoning forward on such abstract and vague information. There needs to be more due diligence at the early stages of the approval process because once the ball starts rolling forward it is hard to stop.
Vice Mayor Placko seemed to base her supporting vote, in part, on the fact that ClubLinks will definitely close the course and walk away if this development does not get approved. This is not a given at this time unless she has information that we are not privy to. And if you listened to the 2 gentlemen who presented documentation about the financial health of TWC, ClubLinks parent company, a totally different picture was presented. I don’t think you can ignore the information in the article TWC Enterprises-Drive For Show, Develop for Dough. I live on the golf course and in the winter months the course is extremely busy and there are numerous golf tournaments. Just like ClubsLinks Canadian courses do not do a robust business in the winter months, Florida golf courses are much slower during the summer months. Are you just accepting 13th Floors information submitted to them by ClubLinks about their financial loses as accurate? There are many ways to present financial statements to favor a desired outcome. Of course ClubLinks would rather have the greater financial benefits of the sale of this course but this impending sale does not demonstrate or confirm that they are in financial distress.
If you as commissioners are receptive to the needs and wants of the Woodlands community, and its surrounding neighbors you can start by expressing your opposition to the development of the zero lot line homes as well as the other issues raised by the residents and neighbors of the Woodlands. Let 13th Floor know that you support the concerns of the residents that have emailed you, called you and spoken at the various public meetings and that there is strong opposition to the two story zero lot line homes.
In conclusion, I am disappointed that the majority of commissioners decided to support the amendment and rezoning items. I hope that you will reverse your affirmative votes when the items come back to you for final reading. In the meantime I urge that as this process moves forward you will consider the impact this development will have on your constituents and their quality of life regarding flooding, traffic, infrastructure, density, and environmental issues. I think the negatives definitely outweigh the positives when it comes to this development project.