Water views on Clearwater Beach
For about five years, the resident of North Clearwater Beach have begged the officials of the City of Clearwater to please preserve their views of the water. A view of the water is not only a large part of what the expensive living on the beach is about, it is also about the flow of the breeze off the water and the enjoyment of sunsets and sun rises.
Each time, Clearwater officials ignored the requests that builders not be allowed to build closer to their lot lines than the law allows, especially if it denied adjacent property owners, as well as the general public of their views. Residents were told that a property owner has "no right to a certain view" and that "loss of water views would not reduce the value of properties."
The latter is contrary to the real estate ads, which use "water view" as a plus in advertising properties for sale.
Nevertheless, when business people on the South Beach came before the City, protesting that planting sea oats to protect Beach Walk from blowing sand would "destroy their view," the City listened.
It turned out to be immaterial that the proposed sea oats project was environmentally good for the area, would protect the area from flooding in a storm and would save all the tax payers of Clearwater large sums of money now paid to hire workers to clear up the encroaching sand. No appeal was made except that the sea oats would produce sand dunes, which would be detrimental to the property owners' "water view." The decision was quickly made to drop the plan that would have saved taxpayers money and protected the upland.
Theoretically, the City of Clearwater does not indulge in, nor approve of discrimination. It even has a department that investigates incidences of discrimination. But, in this case, it would seem that the city officials are themselves guilty of discriminating against residents in their decision-making. Surely, the residents are entitled to the same consideration as the business owners-or ought to be.
Anne M. Garris
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