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04/18/2019 Our Voice

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Council bows to pressure from Blue Cove

“It is imperative that with the increased pressure from developers to make Dunnellon into a resort town that we make sure our elected officials have the communities (sic) best interests at heart.”

— Blue Cove Homeowners Association Board in an August 2018 email to its members.

What is the “communities” best interest? Is the community the greater Dunnellon area or is it just the Blue Cove area? Since this was written by the Blue Cove Homeowners Association as information shared to their community, it is probably safe to assume the “community” is Blue Cove.

With residents of Blue Cove serving both on the planning board and city council, it is probably not surprising when one of those nasty developers brings up a proposal in Blue Cove’s backyard — the plan is going to get a big thumbs’ down.

That scenario happened last week when Charles “Chuck” Dillon and his partners request to change the density of a 2.5-acre parcel west of Blue Cove Lake — long-time residents might think of the location as Short Tower Pit — so they could build an upscale 55-plus townhouse community of only 18 units. Elevators and exteriors maintenance offered in Dillon’s plan would be a nice plus for those moving up in years.

While Blue Cove residents — many with the same last name — spoke out against the negative impact on property values and their quality of life, presenting a petition with 70 signatures; Dillon and his partners countered with their own petition, which included more than 100 signatures from long-time residents and business owners. The Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association favored the plan, pointing to a number of positives for not just the city and residents, but businesses as well.

City staff had reviewed Dillon’s plan for his property and recommended approval of his proposal, but council took no notice.

The council lamented the potential for up to 30 units, a lack of congruency with single-family homes within the community and the potential for a loss of property values. First, Dillon wasn’t likely to build more than 30 units. Could the property have been sold to a developer who wanted to build at maximum capacity? Certainly, but Dillon stressed he and his partners had no plans of selling the property they’ve owned for more than 15 years. In addition, Dillon and his partners indicated the project, between 14 to 18 units, made more fiscal sense.

The message we received, especially if you’re not a Blue Cove resident or a member of the business community, which supported the plan, is your voice doesn’t matter. It’s not just disappointing, it’s disheartening. Council bowed to the pressure of a small neighborhood in Dunnellon.

It begs the question: Does the council have the whole community’s best interest at heart or that of one subdivision?

Each community within the city limits of Dunnellon deserves to be considered each time a vote is called.

The “Not in My Backyard” — no matter how it is worded — chant is getting a bit old and does nothing to serve the community as a whole.