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Firmenich Protest Attracts Attention on S.R. 590

Around 60 people showed up to express their displeasure with the latest proposal from the Richman group on Friday night.

Sheryl Hollen figured about 40 to 50 people would come out in support of a protest she planned against the Firmenich property proposal on Friday.

As it turns out, she got that number and a little bit more, including a police presence and plenty of honks and waves from cars passing by the old citrus center on State Road 590.

Around 60 people showed up, many wearing red and waving signs warning motorists that if the latest proposal from the Richman Group is approved, the traffic on the road would get a lot heavier than on a typical weeknight.

"I would say for our first time we got a nice turnout," said Hollen, who lives around the corner from the property and got the whole thing started by putting a sign outside her house last week.

"We got a lot of waves, a lot of honks. I can tell there's a lot of interest in this."

What started out with a small circle of friends and neighbors around five o'clock quickly swelled to a large group that included men, women and children and some outspoken leaders in the community.

That led to Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies showing up, who said as long as the demonstrators stayed off the road, they were fine to do what they were doing.

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Sandy Blood, who has organized an online petition opposing the project, said she just wants everyone to be aware of what is going on in their community.

"The purpose of the petition is to bring attention to this issue, because the a lot of people don't even know this is happening," she said.

"My concern is the density, the height of the buildings and the traffic," she added. "I felt someone had to do something to let people know, because this is going to greatly affect the city of Safety Harbor."

Christina Jackson, who also lives nearby, believes the property, which has been vacant for approximately three years and covers more than 34 acres, should be used to position Safety Harbor as a leader in the county when it comes to going green.

"I'd like to see a smaller, single-family home development with 40-50 homes and maybe a recycling center," she said as she waved a sign and hollered at passing motorists.

"I'd like to see us take the lead in Pinellas County as a healthy, sustainable green community."

Whatever the reasons for being there, the group of red-clad protesters was united in its cause.

"At least we made our statement," Hollen's partner, Barbara Hugg, said. "We tried to make a difference."

Related Content:

  • Reworked Firmenich Proposal Receives Planning & Zoning Approval
  • Photo of the Day: Firmenich Proposal Protest Sign
  • Firmenich Proposal Protest Set For Friday
  • Firmenich Demonstration To Take Place This Evening
Dee Dokumaci January 21, 2013 at 12:18 AM
Now lets take a look at "Compare owning vs. renting" There are many advantages of owning a home, both financial and emotional. But there are a lot of responsibilities, too. Benefits of Owning: 1. The house is yours — you can do what you want to it. Renters are usually extremely restricted; sometimes they can't even repaint the walls. If you own your home, the only restrictions are local building codes. 2. You may be able to have more stable housing costs. With a fixed-rate mortgage, you'll be able to predict your monthly payment amount. Property taxes and insurance are the primary things that can change the monthly cost of your home. Renters, on the other hand, could face big rent increases each time they move or if their lease is renewed. 3. You may be able to reduce your income tax costs. You can deduct mortgage interest and your local property taxes at tax time. That could save you a lot, especially in the early years of your mortgage, when your payments will be mostly interest. Renters don't get this tax break. Consult a tax advisor about your personal situation. 4. Eventually, you will own a home free and clear, with no payments required. Whether you get a 15- or 30-year loan, at the end of that time, the house will be yours. Renters will have to pay rent every month indefinitely. 5. A house can increase in value.Depending on where your house is located, what kind of house you have and economic conditions, your house may become worth more than you paid for it.
Dee Dokumaci January 21, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Now here's the advantages of renting but remember the money spent is gone forever, so lets analyze the rent scenario: Benefits of Renting; 1. You don't have to handle the repairs and upkeep. If you have a leaky sink in a rental property, all you have to do is call the landlord to fix it. If you own the home, you have to hire a plumber, or fix the leak yourself. (Not necessarily true if the leak was caused by your carelessness then you are responsible). 2. You may not have to cover insurance and utilities. These costs can add up quickly and strain your budget. Renters are often buffered from these costs, or the costs are rolled up into their rent. (In most cases the costs are rolled up in the rent whether you want it or not). 3. Moving is a lot less complicated. A lease is a shorter-term commitment and when it expires, renters are free to go. As a homeowner, you'll have to worry about finding someone to either rent your house or buy it. (Not necessarily free to go, the deposit in most cases are not returned so wherever you go you will have to pay a non refundable deposit). 4. A house can lose value. While your house could go up in value, it can also go down, as many did during the housing crash that began in 2006. If your house loses value and you need to sell, you'll need to repay the full amount of your mortgage even if your house is worth less in the current market. (that's a risk you take, a real estate agent can help you tremendously to make the right choice)...
Dee Dokumaci January 21, 2013 at 12:54 AM
I would also like to remind that if you are a pet lover like I am most rental properties will not allow pets or require at least a $200 non refundable pet deposit & if your beloved pup or kitty has an accident you are responsible for the clean up which can get very expensive that's more money out of your pocket :)
Barbara W. Hugg January 21, 2013 at 01:42 AM
How about a new stadium for the Rays? Ha, I just needed some comic relief...
Barbara W. Hugg January 21, 2013 at 01:46 AM
Hope everyone makes it to the city commissioners meeting on 2/4 @ 7:30 @ City Hall. The more the merrier and will certainly be an impressive showing to appeal to the good senses of our city...

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