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interviewed by William Mansfield.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file ( 79 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
West Central Florida land use oral history project
Rich Dugger, former president of the Keystone Civic Association, comments about development in Hillsborough County. His discusses the change from rural to urban, how expensive homes protect land from development, deceptive practices to get Agricultural Exceptions, his experiences with the Keystone Civic Association, the Citrus Park Baptist Church, and corruption in the County Commission. He highlights a number of techniques that developers use to manipulate zoning.
Interview conducted on June 25, 2007.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
x Citizen participation.
Keystone Civic Association.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0
Land Use Oral History Project Patel Center for Global Solutions University of South Florida Interview with: Mr. Rich Dugger Interviewed by: William Mansfield Location: Keystone, Florida Date: June 25, 2007 Transcribed by: Wm. Mansfield Edited by: W m. Mansfield Audit Edited by: Jessica Merrick Audit Edit Date: December 5, 2007 Final Edit by: Nicole Cox Final Edit Date: December 28, 2007 WM University of South Florida t alking to Mr. Rick Dugger Is it Dogger? RD WM: Talking to Mr. Rich Dugger at his home in Keystone, in Florida on June 25, 2007. And we always get people, whe n we start off, to state their name and tell us when they were born and where they were born, so let her go. RD: All right. My name is Richard Dugger and I was born in Tampa, Florida [on] September 25, 1966. WM: Okay. And when did you come out here to Ke ystone? RD: My parents moved out here when I was one. WM: Uh WM: Uh
2 ties, right here in the [Tampa] Bay or eleven years ago. WM: Well, what is it you like about the area? RD: My family is out here, which is what, you know, brought stayed here. But I think what brought me back was really like. You can be downtown, rather quickly and you can be over to the beaches. WM: Uh huh. nice to have a bit of a yard to wander around. WM: So there is more space, I guess? RD: More space and more recreation too. You find that, once you have friends in the I think, living in town I always had a patio. So if you wanted to be outside you went outside to your patio or you went to a public place. WM: Uh huh RD: Out here, you get to go lots of times we spend it on lakes and things and on private want to do is out here: close. WM: Okay. Well how has it has it changed in that time? when we were When I was a kid growing up out here, it was mainly orange groves. You had orange groves. You had houses scattered here and there. Most of the people who lived out here they were either farmers of some sort, or they lived on a lake. But eve n the lake people, they had to come out and fight with the moccasins and the gators and everything else. It was almost like they were weekend people, the lake people. A lot of the lake houses were empty. But back then it was ou had huge groves.
3 WM: Uh huh. alled] the Plantation Dairy. It WM: So this was a very rural place then? RD: Yeah, it was very country. Just about cows. ah People had horses, but horses are bigger out here recreational farms. We have a lot of that now. The houses out here now are ostentatious. They are just ridiculous Mc mansions that people turn over just move from house to house. They come in there is this one house out here on Crawley Road that people [sell] it so often. They come in and re do but it was just done last year, the house changes every year. ] flopping of That, and the roads. The roads out here have changed. WM: Changed? RD: In the volume, in the amount of people wh o drive through this community just to get groves are gone. There [are] very few groves left. e amount of homes that you see going in on small lots and the destruction of the older homes. The places I think [that] made a lot of the properties out here so quaint and desirable were that they [looked] very natural with a little house on them; some s ort of little shelter up
4 water out here and float along and all you can see stucco [houses], three stories tall and you know a lot of the lakes just skis. WM: (laughs) RD: And even to sit in one of these backyards. Several of my friends are on these lakes um I never realized [how much noise jet e having a road in your backyard all day. WM: You mean water traffic? RD: Boat traffic. WM: Motor boats and jet skis? RD: Yeah, the amount of [traffic] from the amount of people that are on these lakes now. I mean the houses and properties were bought and they would put four houses where that one house was. You know? storied stucco [house th at looks like] something they snatched out of Spain. Then in the shadow of it is a one story block house. And next to it on the other side is another three storied Spanish be at noon. And these guys will have big gates and all of that. They are very un welcoming houses. their money that helps protect us to get better protection, period. fire department? RD: No, I meant development wise. WM: Okay. RD: The true beau ty of the area will have a better chance of being retained. Densities
5 contradiction. That these people kind of change the face of the community while at the same time they help protect it. RD: Oh sure, they fight not to have what they do elsewhere in there own backyard. I there is a row of $400,000.00 homes sitting on a street and an issue comes up, it gets handled differently than if those houses were just little $100,000.00 homes. So whenever you hit a region like Keystone, where so many wealthy people have moved in and the lake property has made the area itself valuable, you end up with a lot of people that contribute to campaigns and a lot of people that can ask for favors. They [certainly] seem to. I mean you see that down to Apollo Beach and all that? They basically got what we were able to fight off for awhile. And once they years from now, what did they get in Apollo Beach? RD: They went in and they took a lot of the farmland and just started turning it into these cookie cutter homes, subdivisions their way to get there. You know, just routing through it. Um I think one of the things you wanted to hit on; you told me about was how to stop the [development]. One of the things we found big they seem to generate make a road wider or not. Once those road s can be altered, or if they have a possibility of being altered, it is somewhere that developers will look to go, to put in big densities. WM: Uh huh. RD: The more density the more profit. So, like anybody else, they are out to make money, so re I would go. through. These roads were never intended for that and now you c You know, to just allow these roads that were built, pretty much just to get people around to be turned into something else.
6 WM: Uh huh RD: A s soon as they do change. People are frequently sold on the idea of getting a road, because they thi nk it is going to lessen their traffic. But they are never told it is going to change all of their zoning. WM: Uh huh. They do care but not enough to get involved at the front end of the process. So trying to get people to understand that But they are directly related. With this area and I have to say, for the record, that I really came in after most of the protections were put into place. WM: Okay. And when was that? RD: I think the community pla ns were put into place a good six years ago, maybe? WM: Uh huh. RD: And when I was actually involved with the [Keystone] Civic Association, I was their president, at the time that we got it, stamped and sealed and all of that, up with the state and our l and development code. But all the work had been done prior to me getting there. But, getting these roads protected was one of the biggest things I ever did. The other hat out here. from quite a few millionaires. And they are not going to give it to going to intimidate them and take it. They might just fight you until they die. even if they could get the right of ways, it would be so costly t o build the roads around all this water and over this water So between the money being out here and the roads being protected and the roads really
7 And I think that a lot of the reason that people were really alert and had the gumption to fight for those protections and put them into place early was because of the water issues. Having Pasco County pumping the water out what was it? Twenty years ago they had the So they had already been through the fight once, you know? They saw the lake [levels] dropping and their swamps dying and the reports still [stated] g to harm anything. So they found that reports can be twisted to [say] WM: Uh huh. Well tell me about how you got involved in the civic association. How did that come about? RD: I called them about this neighbor next door. We bought this house and about a year after Before we bought it we looked at all of the zoning, concerned about a salvage yard going in down the street. I know there was one there [a long time] ago. And this [ lot next door] was vacant and I wanted to know what it could be. Well, we found out all of the zonings [and] felt comfortable with it. [We] bought the place and had been here about a year when they started bulldozing the trees over there on Saturday and Sunday. I just figured that was kind of strange, that they would do it on the I fought them for about a year, dealing with the county and them. WM: Wait, they were bulldozing s You kind of skipped ahead. What it came out to be, I was told they were going to put a tree farm in, so they would be able to bulldoze all of the trees, it was about ten acres over there. It had never been developed for anything, so it was just all of these oaks. I was shocked when they could to be a tree farm, so that was okay until about six months in and we never saw any trees. It was just dump trucks coming and going every day, and all of this heavy equipment. Well, getting about a year in they were saying that the dump truck and all this h eavy equipment was just there to just to get their property ready to be a tree farm, but So I went to the [Keystone] Civic Association, kind of out of desperation, because I had been told [the civic associati on], would make you pick up trash and those people are
8 So I was really a little bit spooked. I went down there and met with them and told them [about my concerns] and they said they suppo rted my position and [my neighbors] should be doing whatever it is they are zoned to do and nothing else. nice to find people that had dealt with this frustratio n. You know I had never dealt with anything that had so many answers before that just never ended. The guy that had been president had been doing it for six or seve n years and wanted out. So I jumped. RD: No. WM: They were developing it into a RD: Well, they still use it today as a commercial farm and broker. Brokering would be like Target putting rotisserie chickens out for sale, chicken and they can cook for you. Basi material there they want to claim it as a nursery. As a nursery you get all sort agricultural h fighting with Hughes, because I always agreed with all of the exemptions for the farmers. A lot of people out here care a lot about farms and such, so you know? But the whole thing was whether it was a farm or not. Well, they have plants and the county nursery. argued everything. They a rgued for a while that they were a plant farm, but then they just now
9 been seven years and they still operate. Dump trucks will be pulling in there tonight and So that is what actually got me into it, dealin g with this company next door and with the county. Once I along and listens to this they will understand how you got involved a nd how you worked with the civic association. WM: But anyhow, so the people that told you the civic association was really worrisome, but were concerned about how the land was used, and enforc ing the zoning. I just want to make sure I understand. that at all. They were the thing that they were all upset about was the fact that the county was allowing changes to zoning. That they were allowing And things, such as the issue I had with my neighbor, were right up their alley. It was property that had all of this intensive use going on and the county was pretty much turning their head to it. new homes. And they work on a large scale with the Polkes(??) and the the other one? The Luttenbergs(??) and the different builders, so once you get into that whole builder ring, it changes a little bit, how they get treated. You know? Also as you hit right down in here, they are not right next door to a Mc Mansion, or else scare the county to where they would have done something. ue them, so they do what they can, when they can and then see that the nudi e clubs that are shut down and everything else, it is very frustrating. But what I found more frustrating was dealing with the civic association and trying to
10 ave people listening? RD: On the County Commission. WM: Oh, okay. RD: On the County Commission and on the Planning Growth and Management Department. Um they the changes that they would allow Trying to understand what set of rules they were going to enfo impossible. comprehensive plan. The comp plan is confusing as all get out, I mean if you just walk in and pick it up. But if you sit down and spend some time with it you can understand it and see how it is or Um I just felt like they were all in the pockets of developers, period. WM: Uh huh. to pull to have Jim Norm You started noticing the whole little block of them voting the same, every way. he would constantly approve housing development after housing development. He would praise himself as to how much money that was going to put on the [tax] roll. He would say that as a reason for gran ting more development. He did it all of the time. shakes his head in disgust) sounds like you went in as an ordinary citizen
11 RD: The different tools. WM: Uh huh. I mean, you saw that the civic association was there and could provide support for citizens like you, to manage growth. So tell me about that learning process. RD: The learnin g process was basically diving in I guess four or five people that worked in the area. We would check all of the permits that came through. All of the application requests. You looked for changes. Just when they were going to change something, or a plan de velopment request came in The plan developments were the main things that were um coming in and wiping out areas. They would come in and ask for this change WM: They being? RD: Developers would come in asking for a change in the zoning. And they wanted to do a plan development, which would allow them a whole lot more freedom to move stuff around and what have you. Then there was this whole bartering thing that went on, back and forth. You had to barter to get the developer to do anything that might be nice for the existing neighborhood. To something to do with the neighbors. [I t could be] anything from fencing to lighting to you know any of these exterior bargaining chip always was, they wanted more houses. And we wanted less. So you always went in say ing, You know that they were going to start out at twice the amount that they would even really want. I called it buying the used car, except that you got to start on the very other end of it. And then The different tools, the things that actually worked were numbers of people. Getting numbers of people educated enough to know and be able to put it in understandable t erms, so that they could know what the upcoming requested change was, and what it would do. You had to kind of tell them the future, a little bit, and what that would do. Once people
12 the street is on a half acre. Put these [new] houses on a ha numbers. And the immediate are the most important ones. The people that are involved, seem to have a hard time (even i If I went down there and just said that as their [representative] I thin k would seem a little commissioners] to not listen to the residences. But getti ng the people who were going to be most affected involved was something that I was taught to do very early on. WM: Okay, you said it was a bargaining process and they will come in and say they want ually want. And you all would have to give up more. RD: Right. WM: So you all are bargaining, but with who? Who is the intermediary? RD: The bargaining typically goes on outside of the county, in between planners and civic [associations] I mean myself. A lot of times it was e mails and phone calls. through the county commissioners? RD: No WM: With each other? RD: With each other. WM: Okay. Now most of the time Keystone got to the point where the county got so and meet with K eystone [Civic Association] first and then come and apply. Frequently, I mean lots of developers came through there. They would come and present
13 project you know But the barg aining would be over nitpicking details. [tell you] this is what they want to do. RD: Uh huh. WM: And they would talk with you all about that? RD: They would give a presentation to the whole board of the civic association. WM: And then they would apply for the permit? RD: The change in zoning, usually. WM: Right and if the civic association objected to that change in zoning that would make it difficult for them? RD: Right. Right. RD: If the civic association objects to it, they know they have a really hard fight. The civic association has been very good at winning against a lot of the de velopment. WM: Uh huh. after awhile, if you beat down just so many of them, they see it in the paper and they hear from So that helped tremendously after a bit. They learned that it was a hard place to build. You have to work with the community. Where as you can go into the Apollo Beach areas WM: If nobody objects to the changes when they go before the county commissioners, but her e people will contest [the development]?
14 RD: Right. WM: Okay, great. And the civic association if I understand you correctly was already organized and doing that by the time you joined? RD: Oh yeah. By the time I came along there were already three to four hundred members. And like I say, that civic association, this civic association out here, has been around Any time there is a real issue, like that, that ties a b unch of people together in a of strong. They have something that ties them all [together]. So a lot of people out here know each other because of that. They keep the ir ears perked [up]. They might not show up at your Thursday night meetings, where you have a small group of them. But you have them all on a mailing list and a monthly newsletter or a web site, or however it is that you share your information. Whenever so mething like that comes out, you just print it. you know and they discuss it at the meetings and such so there can be some group, the civic association. People talk about it every person out here. WM: I was going to say, tell me about a typical Key stone Civic Association member. Could you just sort of describe the membership? the community is so diversified now. I think the civic association is too. You still have the little mom and pop kind of farmer people out here. Bu t you have a lot of these bigger homes now. You have different farms now; the horse farms and those are people that show up. But the average member? I would say the average member is pro nature. They want to see the Brooker(??) Creek preserved. I mean yo grocery stores and mosquitoes the size of turkeys because you like the convenience of a town.
15 So I think the majority of the Keystone Civic Association members are all people that you could, give me a couple of examples of where the Keystone Civic Association has come together to co ntest development. I think that would be interesting for people to know about. RD: Um was the Citrus Park Baptist Church. WM: Uh huh. RD: There was a lawsuit and all of that. How much does a gag order keep me quiet on? hey came in and they were going to put a church and a school on it. Right next to it was the Brooker Creek Preserve. Which the people out here, the water people had done a lot to get that headwater preserved. And they had done a lot on preserving lakes and that sort of thing. Uh what were we talking about? WM: The Baptist Church brings Keystone together. RD: Getting a lot of them together. WM: So this church wanted to RD: The church wanted to put an eight hundred student school out here. And they were well and a septic [tank]. No one wanted that. No one wanted that much septic, or a school coming in and going on a property and not being considered a school. It was kind of being ushered in as the whole thing being a church.
16 out because of just the nature of it. It was going to change something on Gunn Highway. And I think it also brought of them out because they felt I think they again felt kind of like the thing from eight hu So that was a double standard and that was a water quality issue. Water issues are really big to people out here. And I think a lot of it has to do with so many of them are on lakes. Th a church. Of course you never look too good. But by the time I had gotten here Keystone already had a black eye for not looking good. For not worrying about Not that you can kind of do went after them. Another issue that brought a lot of them out was another water issue. This is a wellhead ther thing that has held [back] growth. WM: Explain wellhead protection area. RD: We have wellheads out here that used by Tampa Bay Water, which is a regional water supplier for what three or four counties. So they pump the water from out underneath of u s. all over the Keystone area. There is a linear one that runs all up and down Gunn Highway, right in front to the school I was just talking about. WM: That school that they wanted to put RD: Where they wanted to put the septic. Eight hundred students. On one side you had the Brooker Creek starting point and on the other side you had linear well fields and in between we were going to put eight hundred [students]. But uh the county commission. [They] came along and decided to update it and when they updated it the protections were only right at the wellhead.
17 WM: Uh huh. RD: I mean it yo u had like a five foot area around it, or something. Now, this was a proposal. So when we saw the proposal and told people what it was, when they came out to give their presentation, it was a mob scene. They sent them back home with lots of colorful words and things. I mean, [the civic association] tore them up. They were telling the people, duri WM: Okay you received word that they were going to put this church school out here. How did the civic association get that informat ion? RD: The zoning laws and the county laws and all do require that they, when they apply for these different permits and things, that they notify by mailings certain property owners. And that includes any registered, active civic association. So we actu ally get all of these different types of mailings on everything that goes through the county. (Well, not everything.) Everything that they require the neighbors be told about the civic associations are copied on. So you have to go through these, look at t hem and then figure out what it is. Then sometimes now a lot of it is on the computer. Back then it required when I first started they wanted me to go downtown all the time. d e mails are for. So I kind of changed that a little bit and started bugging the county for FAXes. But you got to get a copy of the plans that have been submitted. And that was a problem. hing there. It would be called the bubble plan. And that would mean that they were going to put stuff in there when they wanted to, but there was nothing there yet. And t hat was allowed. But you had to take that information, whatever day that you were applying and just let especially for something like that.
18 RD: Umm re of how the whole thing went down. RD: How it normally goes down and how that one went down is well with so much on that one. I came in right around the time that they were just going to go ahead and do it. They were either starting to e ither file a lawsuit and or not. Um What happens the board, the [civic] association board meets and looks at these talks about the technical stuff. If it is anything more than they can get by going through what is normal zoning w hat the land is actually zoned for. Then we would tell people that. You know, if they were to do it normal, this is what they could get. Say they could get forty houses. [If] they are looking at is so they can do it this way, so they can put eighty houses [on the property]. Um right amount of space and this and that and the other. But their facility was going to be tandards, they had to go above and beyond and ask for all of these variances and less room and this and that we typically would oppose it. At that point we would go in front of our general membership. At a meeting of usually around thirty people you bring it up for discussion. Everybody usually comes up at discussion and someone would make a motion, or what have you, to: too. But they go on for months. WM: Oh yeah, I know they want to drag it out as long as possible. So the people decided that this school would not be in the best interest of Keystone so they opposed it before the Board of County Commissioners, or the county planners? RD: This one, actually another of the Board of County Commissioners. This one was going through a lesser process and
19 Churches can, to me, have a lot of exemptions and they misuse them for schools, [just] as we have these agricultural exemptions being misused. Once they turn into these profit A school is [a] completely different thing than living next to a c hurch. But they want to sense for an area. So um but the people of Keystone opposed them, the c hurch, putting this school here? RD: Right and they would at that point, you let them know at these public meetings, when the hearings are going to be. You would request them to go um living closest to it. Or for whatever reason, were interested in working on, like, a that you h ave to present a lot of information about what the neighborhood is and what the commission it was just a land use hearing officer, who would be able to decide it. Wi th the church, it ended up going um back and forth with appeals boards so many court. The Gills Family were appealing it and they own property right next to it. They a and I think his father writes religious books.) But they have a large piece of property that they had purchased back there to live on, before the church came along and i t was cow pasture before and now they were going to courts WM: Uh huh. RD: With judges and attorneys. They would throw it back to this land use hearing officer and it would go through that process. It went on for (I think) five years. Back and forth that way, get approved, denied and then if they If they were denied there was another process that was go ing on, the land use appeals board, inside the county, it went in front of that board four or five times. I mean this
20 So currently they went ahead and built their gymnasium and the last round of [appeals] they lost. So now they are meeting i The courts recognized it, but instead they let a whole bunch of money and time be wasted. Now the community is still stuck with this giant gymnasium sitting in the middle of this cow past ure. WM: Maybe the church figured if they went ahead and built it that would give them a good argument to continue with the project. But it kept going back and forth with appeals and denials at this point i s the issue resolved? Or is it still can walk in tomorrow and turn in a different application and start all over again. They are saying that their gymnasium is a do with it. to you know, rule aga inst a church. What are you going to do; have them tear down the church building? WM: (laughs) WM: I gues s it sounds like a war of attrition where each side is trying to get the other [side] to give up. RD: There is a lot of that. Especially these guys next to me, Hughes(??) with their or jumped off of
21 it. they ask you to participate. I went through the pr ocess of they created a whole other either. I went through that whole process. ked them in e and the administrator has the power to shut them down. She could with one action, But then they will be liable and this company will take them to court and [the county] is not sure if they will win. So they just let them keep operating as long as they have some to work from a commercial property. The legal expenses of having an attorney show up at these different things is just part of the running. One of the things that neighbors and an association and a group can be good for is having them watch for the weeke the tree So having people alerted to call and ask for permits. Having them aware as to what A lot of stuff goes in and gets permission. RD: Right. So trying to get a community to know that and to know to call and stop people. There is a reason they are there on that weekend because there are not inspectors out. There are not people paying attention. They can get a lot done and by the time you get someone out there
22 not making you put a tree back in the ground. you know, where the town was when we we re kids. But there was a bank on the corner for a long time that had all of these great oak trees. came in because [a] school had been built across the street. [It] ble w the intersection out. Um They knew it was [a grandfather oak]. They had it marked and all, but they bulldozed it t them $500.00 [in fines]. they go. Those sorts of stamps on a community a re really harmful I think. They happen so fast. That was a road issue. That bank was fine until they changed the roads and then it [businesses] alive there since. And I think Sickles(??) for like the sixth or seventh time inside of six or seven years. You want some more water? ertainly do that. So, are you still active with the civic association? um [sighs] I had to get out of some of the trash pic k ups. I go to the events. And I hang out with the people who are still at the core group. I also run with people that handle a lot of the zoning, or pay attention and contribute information and thoughts and stuff to the county. y But um just go in there and say what you want.
23 to deal with the county right now, on any level. I feel that it is so bought and paid for right now that it really is [like] beating your head against a wall. RD: I mean that the majority of the commissioners, on the board of count y commissions are taking money and being influenced bribes and just campaign contributions. I mean, to you know, and the owner of all these companies, like Cass Creek(??) a nd all. He even sends out his own publications to everyone who is registered to a certain affiliation. couple of [county commissioners] that are listening to whatever h when you know that there are only one or two that are not under his wing, that are not being told what to do by him and you are going to lose and energy to it. choice people all the time and selling the opposite. You ta WM: And EPC stands for? RD: Environmental Protection Commission. So this board has proven to be very anti environmental. You can pay t breaking the law to get what they want. The only way they will go to jail is if they get g to the developer. I become so frustrated; in the past election they put Jim Norman and Ken Hagen back in. Obviously they are just looking at the red, white and blue sign s.
24 But when you see them getting voted back in and you know once you start myself to go down there. I also worked on some stupid thing. They were going to change the way zonings were done. It was a change in zoning. If you wanted to take a piece of property and turn i t in to something else a planned development is what we call them. Hillsborough County wanted to change that process. Because it was no longer being used the way it was supposed to be used. And there was a new guy in a new administrator and he had some pre tty good ideas (He was a zoning administrator.) But [everybody else So he still got this whole thing going to change what all of this planning was and how they set up this entire process and what i t would be. It went on for several years and I like, taken over by the developers and just stripped, right before a meeting, and that was it. It was, like, you kn ow, this is crazy. [The Board of County Commissioners asks] people to participate. [They] ask them to come down and then, repeatedly, just ignores them. And that board was doing that to every citizens group and every advisory group they had. No matter what the advisories were. They went for whatever would promote more development. WM: Uh huh. We were also fighting the county with an elementary school that they did allow to go in on the corner where our town center was supposed to be, in with commercial stuff. That was very taxing for the whole association. That one we started with like $50,000.00 and from there it was just more and more at It finally was settled and they agreed to a smaller school. But any more on that. Commissioners are so pro development that they disregar d what different civic associations from around the county say and tend to do what the developers want. So, it was just too frustrating for you to continue participating? RD: Absolutely. WM: Okay.
25 When did you feel like you pulled out; just to get a tim e frame on this? RD: Oh much as I could. It took coming to the realization that wrong. The decisions were make before the application was put in. like there is still a place, but I feel like now we have such crooked politicians sitting in our WM: Uh huh. RD: They ignore their own staff too. When you see that you see that they ignore their advisory committees from one end of the spectrum to the other, you know You know? That they can keep a certain political face and a certain face out there, seems that How do you tie y many votes what commissioners have [cast] on what land use issues. And who would determine for you whether or not they were pro development or anti development, or middle of the road, or what have you. seven of them and nobody even knows their names if they do read off wh the paper on which ones voted for it and which ones voted against it. commissioner] and has better signs next time. WM: Better signs, you mean gets ele cted? RD: Yeah. They need prettier red, white, and blue signs to get in. WM: So what do you foresee in the future? Do you think that Keystone will remain maintain its integrity? Or do you feel like eroded or I wonder about. Because there are there are a good deal of people out here that are new.
26 bly got flora chem(??) and fertilize right to the lake edge and then poured sand in [to fill the lake] and pulled all of those nasty leaves so I top of it. And there are a good deal of people living out here that are devoted to it, that it would take a real split out here um and I think the only real issue that would get to them would be roads. more you tell them about watching other areas. All you have to do is to think back a ways. What were East Lake like back when it was just a two lane road and had houses on it? What is it now? A that a little bit, and paying attention to it, then you end up with a community that has a in that aspect we are at least ready to fight against it. WM: Okay, you feel like an informed, educated community is the first RD: Absolutely. use issues. But they have to um I found that was one of the most difficult things to do was to take all of those applications happen. And when he needed to act and what he needed to do. try to give them a cl you got to keep them all looking at something. And trying to keep a civic asso ciation together is a little bit harder than the homeowners association type thing. [With] the homeowners you kind of got a definition of who they
27 WM: So the next time Keystone is threatened or challenged by some thing you feel the community will rally? RD: Yes. I think if you see some change to the water um if there was any spot for us to a place to scream for them not to do it you know, something they felt was endangering to the wildlife or nature, whatever. Yeah [the Keystone Civic Association] would definitely get together. Any large development would pull a lot of people out. If someone were to come in here mainly do almost al l of it who they need to call and what to ask and who they need to make sure is doing what. And I get loa ds of phone calls. I can always tell, by the time they hang up the phone, if they are going to do anything or if they were just looking for someone to do it. But, differenc e. But they have to have of tip. But I think if a civic association is going to do anything land use wise, they just ay. You guys come and meet with us and um we would, maybe have one person that could do that for them, you know a [civic] association p ppy to at least tell people how to go fight what they want, to get their rights. to get robbed anyway, right now. (laughs)
28 about an hour and a half. Is there will be transcribed and deposited in the Special Collections in the library of the University of South Florida to be available to people researching land use issues. In order for them to have access to this information we need your permission to access this interview. RD: Okay. I give permission. or you to sign. But I always like to explain that to people for the record. RD: Sure. But I would have done my hair before you got here. (laughs) WD: (laughs) Well, l et me shut this thing off. But again, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. end of interview