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Palm Coast Tuesday, Mar. 21, 2017 2 years ago

OPINION: If you build low-income housing, you’re asking for trouble

Letters from residents address topics including low-income housing, pit bulls and vacation rentals.

Dear Editor:

It seems like the city of Palm Coast is contemplating rezoning a property, allowing for the addition of low-income rental housing. In my opinion, that represents a grave and irreversible mistake.  

As anyone who has ever lived in a large urban environment knows, the concentration of low-income residents into any community brings with it a host of problems which become a permanent fixture — problems such as drug trafficking, gun violence, gang affiliations and a whole host of crime, which destroys quality of life, property value and wreaks havoc on the surrounding community.  

The warehousing of low-income residents into apartment complexes is a failed experiment that has brought irreversible blight not just into the complexes themselves but into the surrounding area as well.  

Palm Coast should learn from these mistakes and not even consider bringing that in.  

Lets take a look at an example, the Gardens of Daytona apartments, which, according to a 2015 Daytona Beach News-Journal article, receives approximately $2 million per year in rent subsidies as well as close to $400,000 in annual utility subsidies. From January 2012 through June 2016, 5,000 police calls were made to the development to cover a multitude of crimes such as armed robbery, carjacking, narcotics, gun shootings, disturbances, assault, etc.  

I can't think of anyone who would want to live in such an environment or anywhere near it. Nobody builds dilapidated and run-down "ghetto" housing, but that is what they become when you concentrate low-income residents.

As for businesses not wanting to locate in Palm Coast because we lack so-called affordable housing, I simply cannot fathom any such business unless you are talking about for-profit private prisons.

For those who complain about the lack of affordable housing, I believe you live where you can afford. I personally would love to live in a beautiful house on the beach, but I can't afford it, so I live where I can afford.  

Granted, we do have people in need and who should receive assistance, but these programs have created a cycle of dependency which is continually perpetuated.  

A good education and a job work wonders for lifting people out of poverty and into the mainstream of American society.

People move into Palm Coast for its beauty, good schools and quality of life. Let us keep it that way and as far as any elected official who is in favor of low-income developments, build them in your back yard but keep it out of mine!

Jose Vasquez

Palm Coast


Town Center is the ideal place for multifamily housing

Dear Editor:

There are almost always resident concerns when large development plans involve one's neighborhood. It is easy to understand why the residents have opposition. 

The ideal location for such housing need seems to be Town Center. It is sectioned off by State Road 100, Interstate 95, drainage canal with FPL main power lines, and Belle Terre. Along the perimeter are commercial properties, a high school, hospital and so on. What better way to build the Town Center concept than with multifamily housing?

Tom A. Gailliot

Palm Coast


Challenges remain for the working poor

Dear Editor:

One of the primary goals of CareerSource Flagler Volusia is to increase the prosperity of all workers and all employers in the region. While we continuously measure the outcomes of our services, we also pay close attention to external indicators to assess our effectiveness. One of these indicators is United Way’s ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed) report.

In February, United Way of Florida released the updated ALICE report, detailing the plight of the working poor. The rates of households within the poverty and ALICE thresholds in Flagler and Volusia counties were unchanged and in some cases improved. But the challenges remain for those struggling to provide for their families.

The ALICE Report is designed to call attention to these families that make more than the federal poverty guidelines, but less than enough to survive. One way to help stabilize these families is to provide them with educational opportunities in managing and maintaining a budget.

Programs like the United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or free financial education courses help to equip individuals with financial literacy skills. Last year, the VITA free tax preparation sites saved Flagler and Volusia residents over $1.5 million in tax prep fees. Studies show that there is over $28 million in unclaimed tax credits in our two-county area alone.

The United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties is focused on solving these community challenges by supporting education, financial stability, and health programs across the two-county area. Together, we can change the course of our community and help families become more financially stable.

Robin King

President and CEO

CareerSource Flagler Volusia


Vacation rental legislation must be stopped

Dear Editor:

Sen. Travis Hutson, my wife and I voted for you, in large part, because of your 2014 position on allowing for local communities to regulate short-term vacation rentals. This year’s Senate Bill 188 would take home rule away, but as chairman of the Regulated Industries Committee, you can stop the bill by not placing it on the agenda. I strongly urge you to do so. 

In 2011, the Florida Legislature created a totally unregulated short-term rental industry.  We saw 8-plus bedroom houses built as short-term rentals without the minimum safety and fire standards required in commercial lodging facilities. The local government could not oversee the short-term rentals, and the state would not.

While Sen. Greg Steube wishes to return to this era, he uses emotional arguments not based upon fact. Since local rule was established, travel and tourism have flourished in our communities, while the property rights of all Floridians have been preserved.

Flagler County's top legislative priority the last two years was short-term rentals. This bill is an attack on home rule. The current political climate mandates local control of local issues, not state control. Please stop this legislation from moving forward.

Warren Hodges

Palm Coast


City’s goals are full of garbage buzzwords

Dear Editor:

Just had to comment on the March 16 article, “Palm Coast officials consider city goals.” And first the caveat that this is in no way intended to “dis” the author of the article, News Editor Jonathan Simmons; after all, he was just reporting. But truly, this article was full of enough undefined “buzz words” to clog a garbage disposal! Let’s review.

First, the City Council had to work on a “vision statement.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a clue what is meant by that. Tarot cards? Here are the components of the “vision”:

No. 1: Building a diverse, sustainable economic base to support innovation while providing necessary infrastructure and services

Whoa, doggies! That sounds very important, until you put Drano in the clogged buzz words. You know, diverse can mean anything; the sustainable economic base has always been the retirees; innovation can mean anything; and providing necessary infrastructure and services is simply about taxes. So, basically, when you unclog the drain of buzz words you’re left with sustainable economic base and taxes.

No. 2: Providing exceptional amenities and standards that support a high quality lifestyle.

Well, unless you’ve been in a coma, this all translates to taxes; and high quality lifestyle doesn’t comport with proposed Section 8 development housing, does it?

No. 3: Protecting the environment and beauty of Palm Coast while conserving natural resources.

Umm, have I lost my facility with the English language, or is this blatantly redundant?

Shirley Carter

Palm Coast


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