OPINION: Don’t get triggered

Posted on February 26, 2019 by OPINION

It seems a few local pot stirrers have been using plays out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” book, trying to spur the community into unrealistic calls to action, including seeking a moratorium to stop development until infrastructure to support the future growth is put into place.

Some activists started dressing up in matching “Save our Soundside” shirts to speak out against certain development plans, and one even seemed to be crying during Monday’s county commission meeting when she spoke about protecting lives and God’s green Earth.

Others from the Whispering Pines Boulevard area bullied an area developer, trying to be the boss about what he could and should do with large tracts of undeveloped property his family had purchased. They want green space in their area, not more housing.

Give me a break. This isn’t about a sustainable Planet Earth.

Commissioner Bob Cole during Monday’s meeting called it just what it is – a NIMBY (not in my backyard) issue.

“The NIMBY mentality has got to go away,” Cole said.

We agree.

It’s just too bad Cole didn’t stand up against the incited activism last month when he and two other commissioners put the brakes on a 284-home project in Midway called Forest Bay Estates, following coordinated opposition which cited concerns such as a possible threat to wetlands.

That unprecedented delay cost Wetland Sciences, which performed the initial wetlands review for the Forest Bay Estates’ property owner, an additional $7,000 for the further review but only resulted in another 0.128 acres of the 80-acre property being deemed wetlands.

But that delay by the county also prompted a show of force from the local housing industry during Monday’s meeting when follow-up discussion about Forest Bay Estates took place.

The largest crowd in 20 years, perhaps ever, attended the county commission meeting. The audience was mostly comprised of members of the Home Builders Association of West Florida, who were opposing the coordinated activism against development.

Ultimately the entire board unanimously moved to approve the preliminary plat for Forest Bay Estates, and Cole specifically apologized to Keith Johnson, co-owner of Wetland Sciences.

Reasonable people understand we’re not going to make up for decades of poor local planning in the 1900s by halting construction of new businesses and residences now.  That growth can help fund much-needed infrastructure.

The bottom line here is…don’t be a useful idiot.