Letter to the Tamarac Commissioners from neighbor @5721 Coco Palm Drive

Tamarac City Commission

7525 NW 88th Ave.

Tamarac, FL 33321

 04/30/2019

Dear elected officials,

After attending the neighborhood meeting charade organized by 13th Floor Homes or, as they called it,  “open house styled”,  I decided to write this message personally and send it from my personal e-mail account to emphatically express my objection and full opposition to the land use amendment and rezoning of a significant part of The Woodlands Country Club’s recreational green space to residential. Petition that has been made by 13th Floor Woodlands HB GP as designated agent of Clublink US Corporation.

The mentioned satire of a neighborhood meeting was designed to marginalize the members of the community that had concerns with the redevelopment plan for The Woodlands Country Club. Considering this premeditated discrimination, I rightfully request that you designate this pre-requisite of their application as not in compliance. It was impossible for me and other concerned residents to express our dislikes and problems with their plan for our beloved surrounding living environment, all 13th Floor Homes’ personnel ignored the voices of opposition and only focused in pre-selling their units from blueprints and pictures, as if it was already a fact that they will be built. I even witnessed a neighbor been registered in a 13th Floor ‘s VIP list due to her interest in buying one of the projected units.

The event was a trade show with multiple sales booths, only directed to people interested in buying real estate and never meant to listen to the concerns of all the adjacent property owners. The frustration of many attendees could only be channeled to the Mayor, the District 2 and the District 1 Commissioners that were in attendance as well.

I decided to write this letter, myself, to express my opposition to the rezoning of the recreational green space in The Woodlands Country Club soundly and clearly, and to distance my name and my address from any inaccurate interpretation of my presence in an event full of unfortunate contempt towards our desires for quality of life in our neighborhood. 13th Floor Homes is driving an influencing campaign that goes as far as to post a web site to register the community members and send, on behalf of them, support messages to our elected officials.

When I established my home in the corner of Coco Palm Drive in The Woodlands, I based this lifetime decision on environmental features that I deemed uniquely essential for physical, psychological and spiritual balance. The home I decided to buy was designed to offer broad views of long-lived nature that hosts the most beautiful living species. This green ecosystem around my home has also been acting as wet lands, containing to safe levels the waters that accumulated from the longest rainstorms in the past years. The usurious business plan by 13th Floor Homes will occlude and pave over the most sensitive aspirations and features that our home offers to the wellbeing of my family. It will also impact negatively the social cohesion of our community. It has already generated aggressive behaviors and bullying between neighbors being affected and the few whose homes won’t get any of the new units nearby or can see some individual gain from the redevelopment.

The amount of confined residential growth projected by 13th Floor Homes in The Woodlands will have a strong neighborhood effect in terms of augmented stress, displays of antisocial behavior, neighbor’s alienation, crime and other undesirable results known to overurbanization. The Woodlands went through its design and development phases half a century ago, the founder’s built their vision for a way of life cocooned in a peaceful natural habitat and in close contact to recreational amenities for comradeship between neighbors. The organic growth of the city of Tamarac got traction because the original residents and authorities shared this vision and worked with passion to preserve it in time. Why wouldn’t our contemporaneous elected officials embrace and display the same passion for the preservation of this heritage?

A question that was part of my decision-making process when I invested my savings and signed for a mortgage to be part of this way of life. It didn’t seem a foolish thought that the city wouldn’t change the ordinance that has been protecting the use of the open green space during the last five decades. Furthermore, the uniqueness of this environment would protect the premium invested in the broader views for the years to come.

A century long evolving scenic with plentiful venerable nature, designed by architects Robert Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin, its timeless connection to people and events since the community was first developed and their vision for a way of life, are endangered.

It has been disheartening to hear some good neighbors that are in love with The Woodlands, the kind of people we’d be blessed to retain in our community, say with profound resignation that they are contemplating the sale of their homes to avoid living in a construction site for the next five years or more. When someone settles down in a long-lived community won’t expect to ever be subject to the safety risks, noise, dust and pollution of a construction site.

If you decide to approve the rezoning of the open green space in The Woodlands Country Club to allow the construction of new homes, you will be using a power granted by your constituents against them. Why would you use the power to protect, to instead enable outrageous profits that are only available through the favorable rezoning of our irreplaceable green space? While 13th Floor Homes will be given the opportunity to make five or six times more profit than what’s possible on land already zoned residential, the community of The Woodlands will see their quality of life plummet in a similar proportion.

The short lapse of your term in office should be about improving our collective wellbeing. If you abide by the economic interests of a small group of transitory real estate developers, then your term in office will result in irreversible damage to our quality of life. Harsher conditions that we can only expect to adjust to. Greater probability of financial losses and higher insurance premiums as consequences of the increased risks. Your legacy will live in the collective memory forever and get to be part of the history of the city.

Let’s work together to find a solution that focuses on the best interest of the community of taxpayers and their concerns.

Stop the redevelopment-friendly lawmaking. We are suffering from its lethal impact on a daily basis. The traffic is making our commute increasingly unbearable. The neighborhoods that have already been infilled with units of tract housing are reporting water pressure and flooding problems. Property desirability and values decrease while the incentive of the favorable rezoning fuels the redevelopment of green space into projects that won’t create opportunities and won’t contribute to the health of the community. The AARP livability index for Tamarac continues to rank below the average for all the Broward County, with the current policy making we can only expect our city’s livability to get worse.

Let’s rather commit to improving Tamarac’s livability. Let’s work on ideas that create opportunities for all and develop indicators to show improvements in traffic, crime rate, risks, safety, open green space per capita, air quality, clean water, employment opportunities, inclusion in sports, cultural expression, neighborhood preservation, sense of belonging and resident’s participation. With these indicators in place we will engage in a continuous improvement paradigm and create a distinctive identity for the city. Personally, I would like the formal recognition of the finite nature of our ecological environment be the flagship of our identity.

The cities with greater livability have a competitive edge attracting entrepreneurship and economic activity. Let’s switch gears to avoid winding up in a dormitory town.

Please vote “No” to the rezoning of the green space of The Woodlands Country Club and its infilling with the three versions of tract housing proposed by 13th Floor Homes. It is vacuous architecture that will ruin the original inspiration. It neglects urban planning criteria.

Use the power trusted by the people to create opportunities and inclusion for all. Expand to the majorities the reach of the potential wealth encapsulated in your vote, 13thFloor Homes has already been granted enough wealth with the Sabal Palm and Monterey golf clubs.

I am willing to participate in any project of endogenous development that will preserve the green space in The Woodlands.

José Spena

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