Say NO to the Sunbay Motel Purchase!!
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FIRST: Another petition is spreading lies and fear. TSPD made a presentation demonstrating the number of calls and arrests have gone down in that area due to increased police presence. The fear about crime in downtown is being spread in order to bring more on the side of purchasing the property to enrich neighboring property owners (which just happen to be some “powerful” Tarpon leaders).
From my Oct post:
We (as the citizens of Tarpon Springs) are being asked to pay an inflated amount for a property not remotely worth it, in hopes it will do something to improve the area and drug crime in the city.
One thing has changed, and that is we are now able to view the appraisal reports and the comps used in coming up with the two divergent appraisals. Please visit http://ctsfl.us/bayoudistrict.htm to view the Sunbay Motel's attorney's letter with their comps and the city appraisal report (separate link).
At first glance, the price is still outrageous. Hotels located blocks away (literally walking distance) to the beach in Treasure Island are used in comps by the Sunbay's appraiser. I think our appraiser was more realistic but still generous.
The property was purchased by the current owner in the early 2000s and he will be receiving a 146% return on his purchase. All the while, the motel has been in rough shape and he has done little to remedy the issues in any long-term fashion.
There are valid opinions to be held on both sides of the issue. I personally think it is ludicrous and sends a terrible signal to other business owners that if you are bad enough, the City will come and overpay you to make you go away. More than that, eliminating this one hotel will do little to curb drug crime. Hotels don't do drugs, people do. Perhaps the argument would stick better if there wasn't a similarly troubled hotel across the street. The residents of the Sunbay won't have to go far to find a new home for their crimes.
And anyone with two eyes and decent vision can see the improvement of our downtown in the last 2-3 years. As a lifelong resident, it is remarkable and encouraging. The GOOD will drown out the BAD. We have seen it in other communities, and I have trust in our Police Officers to do their job appropriately and confront crime when it occurs.
But even if you disagree, let's agree this is a lot of money and a complicated issue. An issue so divided that it should be settled by the citizens directly through a referendum. I don't see this as "passing" their job to the citizens... The referendum serves a proper role in government. We have used it before for other property purchases, what is so wrong with using it here?? If this purchase was before the Commission in their role as City Government, they wouldn't have a choice.
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