Rich Dugger

Citation
Rich Dugger

Material Information

Title:
Rich Dugger
Series Title:
West Central Florida land use oral history project
Creator:
Dugger, Rich, 1966-
Mansfield, Bill
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 sound file ( 79 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Land use -- Florida -- Hillsborough County ( lcsh )
Regional planning -- Citizen participation -- Florida -- Hillsborough County ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
interview ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

Summary:
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.
Venue:
Interview conducted on June 25, 2007.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by William Mansfield.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
028592467 ( ALEPH )
182555958 ( OCLC )
W34-00015 ( USFLDC DOI )
w34.15 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

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This item has the following downloads:


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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.
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transcript timecoded false doi W34-00015 skipped 13 dategenerated 2015-07-30 14:39:02
segment idx 0time text length 152 WM: I always put a label on the disc by saying, "This is Bill Mansfield from the University of South Florida talking to Mr. Rick Dugger-Is it Dogger?
131 RD: It's Dugger, and it's Rich.
244 WM: Rich? I'm sorry, the heat gets to me.
321 RD: That's all right.
484 WM: Talking to Mr. Rich Dugger at his home in Keystone, in Florida on June 25, 2007.
5137 And we always get people, when we start off, to state their name and tell us when they were born and where they were born, so let her go.
698 RD: All right. My name is Richard Dugger and I was born in Tampa, Florida [on] September 25, 1966.
756 WM: Okay. And when did you come out here to Keystone?
845 RD: My parents moved out here when I was one.
952 WM: Uh-huh. So you've been here all of your life?
1036 RD: I've spent my whole life [here].
1160 WM: Uh-huh. I guess you like it 'cause you're still here?
12197 RD: Yeah, I've lived in a few of the other communities, right here in the [Tampa] Bay area, but I moved back out here, I'd say fourteen or fifteen years ago. Bought a house ten or eleven years ago.
1348 WM: Well, what is it you like about the area?
14253 RD: My family is out here, which is what, you know, brought me here, and they've stayed here. But I think what brought me back was-there's a centralization to it that I really like. You can be downtown, rather quickly and you can be over to the beaches.
1511 WM: Uh-huh.
16224 RD: But the area's different that the beaches or the downtown area. You've got swamps and the lakes and it's quieter and you have a little more freedom out here, I believe. It's nice to have a bit of a yard to wander around.
1739 WM: So there is more space, I guess?
18140 RD: More space and more recreation too. You find that, once you have friends in the community, or meet people, there's things to do outside.
19138 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.
20WM: Uh-huh.
21241 RD: Out here, you get to go-lots of times we spend it on lakes and things and on private property. You don't have to drive that far. You can-it's kind of like when you go on vacation you don't want to have to get in your car and drive a lot.
22119 It's the same on the weekends. I don't want to have to drive anywhere, so most of what I want to do is out here: close.
23111 WM: Okay. Well how has it-you said you've been out here since you were one, how has it changed in that time?
24281 RD: It's changed completely. I mean 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.
25210 But even 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.
2669 But back then it was-not too many people. 'Cause you had huge groves.
27WM: Uh-huh.
2868 RD: We'd ride motorcycles along the side of the road, down the road.
29320 Gosh, I remember the closest grocery store used to be at Armenia, that's like half an hour from here. We'd stop at a dairy and get the milk. [It was called] the Plantation Dairy. It was on Gunn Highway. But years ago it was turned into a development. It's a "falling down" development now. It's been caving in for years.
3043 WM: So this was a very rural place then?
3194 RD: Yeah, it was very country. Just about everybody, if you didn't have a grove you have cows.
32171 If you didn't have cows you were-ah-People had horses, but horses are bigger out here today than they were back then. A lot of the transition it's gone from farms to more-
33136 I don't do horses, so I don't want to offend them, but I think of [today's farms] as more recreational farms. We have a lot of that now.
34101 The houses out here now are ostentatious. They are just ridiculous Mc mansions that people turn over-
35116 That's weird having these "two year" neighbors. There're a lot of them out here. They just move from house to house.
36319 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. It's kind of a real stark, in your face example of the constant [flip-] flopping of people. No one lives there anymore. It's not a neighbor.
3753 That, and the roads. The roads out here have changed.
3815 WM: Changed?
39225 RD: In the volume, in the amount of people who drive through this community just to get somewhere else. That's huge. A huge difference. I mean that and all of the houses. The groves are gone. There [are] very few groves left.
40166 It's been the most dramatic; it seems, over the last ten years. I mean the amount of homes that you see going in on small lots and the destruction of the older homes.
41444 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 sort of little shelter up there that you didn't really notice it. Now a lot of that's gone. You can get on bodies of water out here and float along and all you can see stucco [houses], three stories tall and glass. It's not-you know-a lot of the lakes just aren't very pretty any more.
4265 Who want's to go on them? And you can't fish for the jet-skis.
4312 WM: (laughs)
44RD: 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-skis make], it's like having a road in your backyard, whenever it gets that densely populated. There's just traffic right there in your backyard all day.
4530 WM: You mean water traffic?
4617 RD: Boat traffic.
4732 WM: Motor boats and jet-skis?
48203 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?
49363 What looks really odd out here is to drive along and you'll see a three-storied stucco [house that 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 villa. You know, the little house in the middle doesn't even get daylight. Well, maybe at noon.
50118 And these guys will have big gates and all of that. They are very un-welcoming houses. They very much say, "stay out!"
51209 So those types of people, I feel, are people I fight against. While at the same time it's their money that helps protect us. Because once money moves into an area you're going to get better protection, period.
52106 WM: When you say, "better protection" you mean better services from the police and the fire department?
5333 RD: No, I meant development wise.
549 WM: Okay.
55246 RD: The true beauty of the area will have a better chance of being retained. Densities won't be bumped up any more. We pretty much want the developers living in your backyard because they know what they don't want is what they do everywhere else.
56144 WM: That's an interesting contradiction. That these people kind of change the face of the community while at the same time they help protect it.
57335 RD: Oh sure, they fight not to have what they do elsewhere in there own backyard. I think that's just-well its just that they've got money. Even if they don't come out. If 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.
58249 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.
59258 They [certainly] seem to. I mean you see that-you've been down to Apollo Beach and all that? They basically got what we were able to fight off for awhile. And once they couldn't get in here any more, they concentrated down there. It was horrible to watch.
60110 WM: For the sake of someone who'll be listening to this, years from now, what did they get in Apollo Beach?
61326 RD: They went in and they took a lot of the farmland and just started turning it into these cookie-cutter homes, subdivisions- just massed densities into areas that didn't need it and they didn't put the infrastructure in and they've destroyed neighborhoods, blasting their way to get there. You know, just routing through it.
62369 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 was the roads. It's the roads that are the big-they seem to generate-well they make [the land] available. If you don't have a road you can't have the capacity, and so everything hinges on whether or not they will make a road wider or not.
63154 Once those roads 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.
64WM: Uh-huh.
65RD: The more density the more profit. So, like anybody else, they are out to make money, so-that's where I would go.
66350 Out here [in Keystone] one of the ways we've protected it was by protecting the roads. By saying, "Look, you can't use these roads for an interstate. They are not for traveling through. These roads were never intended for that and now you can't just designate it that way because you've been using it that way. Or because it would be a good new use."
67124 You know, to just allow these roads that were built, pretty much just to get people around to be turned into something else.
6810 WM: Uh-huh
69367 RD: As soon as they do-when you double a road's size, you double the capacity. And it alters all of the zoning. All the zoning changes with the roads. All of the "allowed things" change. People are frequently sold on the idea of getting a road, because they think it is going to lessen their traffic. But they are never told it is going to change all of their zoning.
70WM: Uh-huh.
71RD: Half of the time people, I don't think, care too much-They do care but not enough to get involved at the front end of the process. So trying to get people to understand that if they get a wider road, it's going to be a bad thing, is a hard sell.
72207 Most people, a lot of people, they think if you widen the road it's going to make the traffic better. They don't think a thing about it changing what's on the side of the road. But they are directly related.
73122 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.
74WM: Okay. And when was that?
75RD: I think the community plans were put into place a good six years ago, maybe?
76WM: Uh-huh.
77269 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 land development code. But all the work had been done prior to me getting there.
78279 But, getting these roads protected was one of the biggest things I ever did. The other thing that was protected out here, that people don't talk about, and I would never say that a zoning meeting. It wouldn't help me whatsoever, but it's just a fact that there is money out here.
79You know if you want to go down Crawely Road and widen it, you're going buying it from quite a few millionaires. And they are not going to give it to you. And you're not going to intimidate them and take it. They might just fight you until they die.
80So that has helped us. And we are unique in that we've got so many bodies of water, that even if they could get the right-of-ways, it would be so costly to build the roads around all this water and over this water-That's kind of like strike two, you know?
81So between the money being out here and the roads being protected and the roads really wouldn't make a good choice, that has saved Keystone.
82422 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 "Water Wars?" A lot of those well fields are right over here and throughout this area. So they had already been through the fight once, you know?
83254 They saw the lake [levels] dropping and their swamps dying and the reports still [stated] that it's not going to harm anything. So they found that reports can be twisted to [say] whatever they want. That's frequently how they are surprised by government.
84105 WM: Uh-huh. Well tell me about how you got involved in the civic association. How did that come about?
8593 RD: I called them about this neighbor next door. We bought this house and about a year after-
86229 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.
87343 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 weekend. But I didn't know I'd never dealt with development or any of that.
88I fought them for about a year, dealing with the county and them.
89112 WM: Wait, they were bulldozing stuff over there and you didn't think about it so? -You kind of skipped ahead.
9080 RD: Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah. Its been eight years and I'm still dealing with it, so-
91333 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 take them all out, but I was told they could do it if it's a farm.
92407 Well it's going 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 heavy equipment was just there to just to get their property ready to be a tree farm, but they'd been using it for a year as a facility.
93So I went to the [Keystone] Civic Association, kind of out of desperation, because I had been told [the civic association], would make you pick up trash and those people are crazy and you don't want to go down there. They don't like anybody.
94237 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 supported my position and [my neighbors] should be doing whatever it is they are zoned to do and nothing else.
95Well, I started feeling like they were pretty normal and was kind of surprised. It's kind of nice to find people that had dealt with this frustration. You know I had never dealt with anything that had so many answers before that just never ended.
96191 And I don't think it took long, about six months later [oh maybe a year] I was president. The guy that had been president had been doing it for six or seven years and wanted out. So I jumped.
97121 WM: Okay, I'm still not clear. [Your neighbors] said that [the land next door] was going to be a tree farm but it wasn't.
987 RD: No.
9935 WM: They were developing it into a-
100298 RD: Well, they still use it today as a commercial site. There's a distinction between a farm and broker. Brokering would be like Target putting rotisserie chickens out for sale, to let's say Publix. The difference between that and some place where they can grow a chicken and they can cook for you.
101479 Basically, they're not growing any plant material, but because they are holding plant material there they want to claim it as a nursery. As a nursery you get all sort agricultural benefits. If you can Ag exemptions it's a good thing. I always had a problem with 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.
102182 Well, they have plants and the county would come out and take a look and say, "Well, they've got plants." So it erupted into an entire argument over what constituted a plant nursery.
103511 Well, these guys next door, they've never argued-well they did for a while, they've argued everything. They argued for a while that they were a plant farm, but then they just came along, once they couldn't win that battle and said, "Okay, we are not a plant farm, we're landscaper, so we're commercial. We're a different type of entity, but historically that's what's been allowed on that type of land out here in Hillsborough. So that's what we're going to do anyway." Because of history, you have to allow it.
104314 So they did that argument for a while in lawsuits. I think we're back to the same-now they've applied for a nonconforming use. But they've yet to have to pay a fine. And it's been seven years and they still operate. Dump trucks will be pulling in there tonight and they'll be pulling out of there tomorrow morning.
105151 So that is what actually got me into it, dealing with this company next door and with the county. Once I-that's where I got into the civic association.
106195 WM: Okay. Again, I'm asking these questions to make sure that when someone comes along and listens to this they will understand how you got involved and how you worked with the civic association.
10761 RD: Oh, no problem. I'll ramble at no end if you just let me.
108200 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 enforcing the zoning. I just want to make sure I understand.
109410 RD: Yeah. I found that on going to the civic association, I thought, "Oh my gosh! These people probably won't like me." I mean my house has two sheds and this that and the other. And really it wasn't 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 changes to properties that they didn't feel were appropriate.
110And 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.
111345 You know, it's development related. [The 'nursery' next door] put plants and trees in for people's new homes. And they work on a large scale with the Polkes(??) and the-who's 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.
112You know?
113233 Also as you hit right down in here, they are not right next door to a Mc Mansion, or else they wouldn't be operating to day. [If I lived in a Mc Mansion] I'd have the funds to scare the county to where they would have done something.
11490 But they know I'm not going to sue them, so-they do what they can, when they can and then-
115267 You know I think the county has had eight different attorneys that I've dealt with on just this one thing. It's just the new "bottom guy" gets it. (chuckles) But you know, when I see that the nudie clubs that are shut down and everything else, it is very frustrating.
116158 But what I found more frustrating was dealing with the civic association and trying to represent the community down there and you don't have anyone listening.
117WM: Where don't you have people listening?
11829 RD: On the County Commission.
119WM: Oh, okay.
120250 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 enforce and that they weren't going to enforce was just impossible.
121190 You've got this huge amount of code and then this governing plan, the comp plan, the comprehensive plan. The comp plan is confusing as all get out, I mean if you just walk in and pick it up.
122373 But if you sit down and spend some time with it you can understand it and see how it works together. The commissioners don't. And the new commissioners don't. A lot of the older ones don't. They don't care. They want to know fiscal, they want to know this or that, but they don't care what's in the comp plan and it changes every six months so they're not going to read it.
12383 Um-it's trying-I just felt like they were all in the pockets of developers, period.
124WM: Uh-huh.
125330 RD: That's the point it got to. It doesn't matter what our argument is. It doesn't matter what is better for the land. It doesn't matter what is better for the community. It's, "Who does this guy know?" And, "Has he talked to Jim Norman yet? Does he have the strings to pull to have Jim Norman give him this one or not?"
12679 You started noticing the whole little block of them voting the same, every way.
127To this day I get furious reading the newspaper. I can only hear Jim Norman's [voice] as 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.
128107 "This is money that we're going to have. This is money going in. This is money we'll have on the tax roll."
129205 He would say that as a reason for granting more development. He did it all of the time. Now look at it! This isn't working too good is it Jim? You know? (sighs angrily and shakes his head in disgust)
130131 WM: Okay. I'm interested in what you learned working with the civic association. It sounds like you went in as an ordinary citizen-
13124 RD: The different tools.
132WM: 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.
133296 RD: The learning 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 development request came in
134The plan developments were the main things that were-um-coming in and wiping out areas. They would come in and ask for this change-
13518 WM: They being?
136193 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.
137392 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 try to get it to jive with the new neighborhood, so it's not just a square hokey box. So it's not just the same thing that they've built down the street that it is going to have something to do with the neighbors.
138359 [It could be] anything from fencing to lighting to-you know-any of these exterior things, from landscaping to how many houses they would get. That's what there bargaining chip always was, they wanted more houses. And we wanted less. So you always went in saying, You know that they were going to start out at twice the amount that they would even really want.
139169 I called it buying the used car, except that you got to start on the very other end of it. Saying, "You want two hundred houses? Well, we're only agreeing to twenty."
14070 And then-it's a whole lot of that back and forth between you and them.
141259 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 terms, so that they could know what the upcoming requested change was, and what it would do.
142468 You had to kind of tell them the future, a little bit, and what that would do. Once people can grasp what they are asking for, aside from all of this "PDU" and "RES 4" and all of the technical jargon. Then they are willing to go down there and say, "No, that's not what I want. My house is on a half acre. The neighbor's is on a half acre and everybody down the street is on a half acre. Put these [new] houses on a half acre. We don't want seven [houses] on an acre."
143386 Once neighbors can understand that if you give it to them in kind, then they'll go in numbers. And the immediate are the most important ones. The people that are involved, seem to have a hard time (even if they've been bought, it seems) they have a harder time if you can have the people that are going to be impacted standing there telling them, "I don't want to be impacted this way."
144317 If I went down there and just said that as their [representative] I think would seem a little bit as a political thing, "We really don't want to piss off that association." But if "Susie" is down there, it puts more of a real person to it. To where it's harder for [the commissioners] to not listen to the residences.
145But getting the people who were going to be most affected involved was something that I was taught to do very early on.
146278 WM: Okay, you said it was a bargaining process and they will come in and say they want two hundred houses, even though that's more than they actually want. And you all would say, "We'll only let you have twenty houses," even though you know you're going to have to give up more.
147RD: Right.
14875 WM: So you all are bargaining, but with who? Who is the intermediary?
149RD: The bargaining typically goes on outside of the county, in between planners and civic [associations]-I mean myself.
15046 A lot of times it was e-mails and phone calls.
151WM: I mean it's like the civic association and the developers, are you all working through the county commissioners?
15227 RD: No, we'd work directly-
153WM: With each other?
15420 RD: With each other.
155WM: Okay. Now most of the time-Keystone got to the point where the county got so tired of dealing with us that they would tell the developers, straight out, "You need to go and meet with Keystone [Civic Association] first and then come and apply.
156292 Frequently, I mean lots of developers came through there. They would come and present their little spiel. And then they'd go apply. They'd take our comments or not, sometime we'd just laugh at them and tell them, "You're crazy!" But if it was a halfway decent project-you know-[we'd listen].
157143 We always had to kind of think ahead and all to think of losing. It's like, "What are these neighbors gonna get if you don't take this [deal]."
158But the bargaining would be over nitpicking details.
159127 WM: I'm just trying to get a clear picture of it. So the developers would come in and [tell you] this is what they want to do.
160RD: Uh-huh.
16151 WM: And they would talk with you all about that?
162RD: They would give a presentation to the whole board of the civic association.
163WM: And then they would apply for the permit?
16434 RD: The change in zoning, usually.
165114 WM: Right and if the civic association objected to that change in zoning that would make it difficult for them?
166RD: Right. Right.
167WM: Okay, I just wanted to understand. That's the picture I wasn't sure of.
168RD: If the civic association objects to it, they know they have a really hard fight.
16985 The civic association has been very good at winning against a lot of the development.
170WM: Uh-huh.
171316 RD: The developers know that too. That's another thing that kind of keeps them-after awhile, if you beat down just so many of them, they see it in the paper and they hear from this attorney and that attorney, that they didn't get it. [The attorney will say,] "I've been out there and I don't want to work out there."
172248 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 that weren't ready and organized; there was no one out there expecting it.
17381 [It was,] "Take it. Just do what you want. You don't have to say boo to anybody."
174133 WM: If nobody objects to the changes when they go before the county commissioners, but here people will contest [the development]?
175RD: Right.
17616 WM: Okay, great.
177And the civic association if I understand you correctly was already organized and doing that by the time you joined?
178RD: Oh yeah.
179By 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-it's the oldest one in the county. But it's always been strong since the "Water Wars."
180Any time there is a real issue, like that, that ties a bunch of people together in a community, as long as some of those people are still around it's always going to be kind of strong. They have something that ties them all [together]. So a lot of people out here know each other because of that.
181They keep their 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 something like that comes out, you just print it.
182208 "We're going to go down and we want people to show up and object to it." This is-you know-and they discuss it at the meetings and such so there can be some group, the civic association. People talk about it.
183199 You know we've filled that room down there before. That's a lot of pressure. And it works. But it's hard to fill a room. It's got to be something that's going to have to effect every person out here.
18482 WM: I was going to say, tell me about a typical Keystone Civic Association member.
18550 Could you just sort of describe the membership?
186299 RD: Gosh. It's varied. It's-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. But you have a lot of these bigger homes now. You have different farms now; the horse farms and those are people that show up.
187266 But the average member? I would say the average member is pro-nature. They want to see the Brooker(??) Creek preserved. I mean you don't move to where there are no grocery stores and mosquitoes the size of turkeys because you like the convenience of a town.
188167 So I think the majority of the Keystone Civic Association members are all people that don't want to see anymore development. Don't change any more zoning, you know?
189Don't increase it any more.
190WM: You've talked about these instances where you've managed to fill the room, so if you could, give me a couple of examples of where the Keystone Civic Association has come together to contest development. I think that would be interesting for people to know about.
191RD: Um-There was, one of the first big issues that I handled was Keystone's-was the Citrus Park Baptist Church.
192WM: Uh-huh.
19387 RD: There was a lawsuit and all of that. How much does a gag order keep me quiet on?
194WM: I'm afraid you're asking the wrong person. If it's been in the newspaper then I think you're free to talk on it.
195RD: That's true.
196360 Let's see, the church [was over in Citrus Park] and they bought property out here. They 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.
197Uh-what were we talking about?
198WM: The Baptist Church brings Keystone together.
199RD: Getting a lot of them together.
200WM: So this church wanted to-
201284 RD: The church wanted to put an eight hundred-student school out here. And they were going to have to have their septic [system] right there. They couldn't have sewer [lines] because we don't have piped water and sewer [systems] out here. You have to be on a well and a septic [tank].
202No 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.
203257 You know a church is fine. [An] eight hundred student school, that's a standard elementary school. That's a big school. That's an impact. So that brought a lot of people out because of just the nature of it. It was going to change something on Gunn Highway.
204429 And I think it also brought of them out because they felt-I think they again felt kind of like the thing was pushed out here and allowed, when it's known that these students aren't from this area. You know they're coming from a different area and it [was] just going to be brushed under the carpet and allowed. You're going to put septic [waste] from eight hundred people on top of something that you've just bought to preserve.
205So that was a double standard and that was a water quality issue.
206Water 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. There is so much water out here, you don't move out here if you don't like it. You're going to be near a swamp or lake or something.
207134 So that brought a lot of people out. And it was a hard one, because you're going against a church. Of course you never look too good.
208375 But by the time I had gotten here Keystone already had a black eye for not looking good. For not worrying about-for not really tipping its hat to anyone. You know, it's this type of use and this is what the books say. That's what you can do. Not that you can kind of do it because you're a church. We'll [not] act like we don't know this is wrong. We still went after them.
209160 Another issue that brought a lot of them out was another water issue. This is a wellhead protection area. That's been another thing that has held [back] growth.
21037 WM: Explain wellhead protection area.
211178 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 us.
212235 Now they've got the entire area protected as a well field area because we have well fields 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.
21340 WM: That school that they wanted to put-
214228 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].
215223 But-uh-I don't know if I was the county commission or who, but it had to go through the county commission. [They] came along and decided to update it and when they updated it the protections were only right at the wellhead.
216WM: Uh-huh.
217RD: I mean it-you had like a five-foot area around it, or something.
218157 So immediately all of these protections, that if you were in a wellhead would say, "You could or could not do this," were gone. They were just stripped away.
219260 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.
220They were telling the people, during the presentation, "You go back up that tower and tell them that this is not going to happen." I mean they were outraged.
221WM: Okay-you received word that they were going to put this church school out here.
22254 How did the civic association get that information?
223RD: 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 actually get all of these different types of mailings on everything that goes through the county. (Well, not everything.)
224310 Everything that they require the neighbors be told about the civic associations are copied on. So you have to go through these, look at them 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.
225268 But I was the new kid on the block and I was, like, "That's what FAX machines and 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.
226337 Lots of times you'd go down to for the plans and there'd be something there. It would be called a plan and it would have a big "squiggly" all around the outside. And that was 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 that was allowed.
227273 But you had to take that information, whatever day that you were applying and just let people know what it was. In this instance it was a change to the plans. So you'd tell a couple of key people and they'll tell twenty by phone and then-especially for something like that.
228WM: Okay, but you found out the school was going to come and somebody said, "Hey wait, this isn't going to work. We can't let them do this to us." Was it like that?
2298 RD: Umm-
23078 WM: I mean, I'm just trying to get a picture of how the whole thing went down.
231RD: How it normally goes down and how that one went down is-well-I hadn't dealt 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 either file a lawsuit and or not. Um-
232285 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-they call it "Euclidean"-what the land is actually zoned for. Then we would tell people that.
233206 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].
234So what we did is we looked at the property there and it's not zoned for a school. It's actually agricultural. So we had to compare and think, "What could you get? What else could you put here?"
235240 Um-now a regular school couldn't go there, because it doesn't have water, sewer, the right amount of space and this and that and the other. But their facility was going to be allowed on there. So we didn't think that was right. You know?
236If it didn't meet the same standards that are normal standards, 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.
237At 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: not oppose it, favor it or oppose it. So I'm sure that's probably how that one came about too.
23826 But they go on for months.
239WM: Oh yeah, I know they want to drag it out as long as possible.
240172 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?
241219 RD: This one, actually another thing that opposition to it was that it wouldn't go in front of the Board of County Commissioners. This one was going through a lesser process and I'm sure it was 'cause it was a "church."
242Churches 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-generating schools it's a different entity. And it's a different neighbor too.
243202 A school is [a] completely different thing than living next to a church. But they want to use the same facility, then sure. Of course that makes sense for you, but it doesn't make sense for an area. So-
244I'm not sure where that point was going.
245WM: I'm just trying to get-um-but the people of Keystone opposed them, the church, putting this school here?
246RD: Right and they would-at that point, you let them know at these public meetings, when the hearings are going to be.
247608 You would request them to go-um-and you'd usually have a group of people that were living closest to it. Or for whatever reason, were interested in working on, like, a presentation together. You'd have to research the zoning laws and the comp plans. Then you find all of the things that it doesn't match up with. And then you just present all of that-you have to present a lot of information about what the neighborhood is and what the change will be. Those things have to be presented to someone. In this case it wasn't the commission it was just a land use hearing officer, who would be able to decide it.
248391 With the church, it ended up going-um-back and forth with appeals boards so many times. I'm not sure who appealed who first. But the decisions are constantly appealed to court. The Gills Family were appealing it and they own property right next to it. They acted independently of us. (They're the Gills from Dr. Gills of St. Luke's Eye Surgery and I think his father writes religious books.)
249236 But they have a large piece of property that they had purchased back there to live on, before the church came along and it was cow pasture before and now they were going to have ball fields in their backyards. And they didn't want that.
250But the land use hearing officers' [decision] were appealed in circuit courts, or civil courts
251WM: Uh-huh.
252227 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-
253286 If they were denied there was another process that was going on, the land use appeals board, inside the county, it went in front of that board four or five times. I mean-this thing went in front of probably fifteen to twenty people. Finally the last judge said, "No, you can't do this."
254So currently-now they've already built the gymnasium, because the county wouldn't stop them. They warned them, "You may have to tear it down." It's happened before, but they went ahead and built their gymnasium and the last round of [appeals] they lost.
255348 So now they are meeting in it as a church, but through the county's kind of not stopping this, prior, now we've got a gymnasium sitting in the middle of a cow pasture. We've got a church that is out of a bunch of money. We weren't interested in hurting them, but it was, "Why don't you just stop them and tell them this isn't something you can do."
256The 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 pasture.
257When I pass it and it's like, "What is that?"
258WM: Maybe the church figured if they went ahead and built it that would give them a good argument to continue with the project.
259113 But it kept going back and forth with appeals and denials-at this point is the issue resolved? Or is it still-
260173 RD: It's resolved to the point that they can't use that application any more. No. But they can walk in tomorrow and turn in a different application and start all over again.
261186 They are saying that their gymnasium is a church, so it's still standing. They will probably apply now for less; for a school of lesser size. I really don't know what they'll do with it.
262I'm sure they went forward with the building because then it is very hard to get people to-you know, rule against a church. What are you going to do; have them tear down the church building?
263And in Keystone, at that point, we were like, "Yes, we will."
264WM: (laughs)
265RD: "We'll tear your church down. Don't build it there. It's not a church." (laughs)
266WM: I guess it sounds like a war of attrition where each side is trying to get the other [side] to give up.
267277 RD: There is a lot of that. Especially these guys next to me, Hughes(??), with their business I'm sure they figured that I would have left by now, or shut up, or jumped off of a building. But I haven't and they're still there. It's ongoing. The county hasn't resolved it.
268306 That's a big gripe [I have] with the county, if they are going to have certain rules and they ask you to participate. I went through the process of-they created a whole other land use because of this company next door to me. And they still won't abide by that one either. I went through that whole process.
269329 But it's still, if they are not abiding with it, they are not shutting them down. I asked them in e-mails, it's like, "Did you all notice they can't have dump trucks out here. That's not part of the business. It's been going on for eight years and regardless of what you say I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning to dump trucks."
270255 I mean we've changed land uses. I've gone through all of these processes and everything and the administrator has the power to shut them down. She could with one action, saying, "You can't operate. Close this business down." And they could shut them down.
271403 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 sort of filing in. It's a lot cheaper for [Hughes] to operate from there than it is 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.
272One of the things that neighbors and an association and a group can be good for is having them watch for the weekend workers. When they are bulldozing on weekends, it's always bad. Because you can't reach anyone [from the county] to show up to stop them.
273What do you do when you come upon a man bulldozing a tree and he's got a bulldozer and you're in your car? Unless you're a crazy tree hugger and want to jump in front of the tree-
274156 So having people alerted to call and ask for permits. Having them aware as to what numbers to [call]. That's important in being able to save a lot of stuff.
275297 A lot of stuff goes in and gets built and then it is after the fact that is it found out. It's very forgiven. Practically all you have to do is get the right permits, even if you wouldn't have been allowed to do what you've [already done.] You just pay the permit price and you're good. It's done.
276104 WM: It's like the fellow said it's a lot easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.
277439 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-even if they do get caught doing it, they've got "X" amount done. It's not coming back. Hillsborough County is not making you put a tree back in the ground.
27873 It just don't happen! You bulldoze it and when it's gone you say, "Oops!"
279Citrus Park, which I feel is pretty tied to that community, it's real close to us, that was, you know, where the town was when we were kids.
280But there was a bank on the corner for a long time that had all of these great oak trees. Then Eckerd's [drugstore] came in. They were redoing the whole intersection. Eckerd's came in because [a] school had been built across the street. [It] blew the intersection out.
281448 Um-but when they wanted to put the Eckerd's in they bulldozed a grandfather oak. They knew it was [a grandfather oak]. They had it marked and all, but they bulldozed it 'cause it [was] right there in the middle and it would have cost them $500.00 [in fines]. And then [drugstore] went up. And the [drugstore] was empty in two years, but the tree's gone. The property is trashed. It's got a big old [drugstore] on it. Their job is done and they go.
282280 Those sorts of stamps on a community are 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 didn't-that corner didn't function any more. They haven't been able to keep any [businesses] alive there since.
283145 And I think they're redoing that whole interchange up there at Sickles(??) for like the sixth or seventh time inside of six or seven years.
28428 You want some more water?
285WM: No I've still got some here. This is fine.
286RD: I've got plenty, stay hydrated.
287WM: Well I'll certainly do that.
28855 So, are you still active with the civic association?
289411 RD: I haven't been. I'm still active in-um-[sighs]-I had to get out of some of the politics of this, to where I haven't been to a meeting in probably a year. But I go to the trash pick-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.
290175 But we don't work directly-we're not-[representatives] for the civic association. It's more fun to do it when you can speak for yourself and not someone else. And it's easier.
291But-um-you don't have to be so politically correct all of the time and think of everyone's wants. You can just go in there and say what you want.
292WM: So you've pulled back from working with the civic association?
293RD: Yeah. And a lot of that has come due to the fact that I don't feel there is any reason 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.
294WM: When you say that it is 'so bought and paid for,' could you explain that?
295436 RD: I mean that the majority of the commissioners, on the board of county commissions are taking money and being influenced bribes and just campaign contributions. I mean, to me the campaign contributions are a bribe. And when everybody knows who "Ralph" is, you know, and the owner of all these companies, like Cass Creek(??) and all. He even sends out his own publications to everyone who is registered to a certain affiliation.
296364 It's bad and it's hard to go down there and fight for things when you know there are a couple of [county commissioners] that are listening to whatever he's telling them. But 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-it's hard to devote [any] time and energy to it.
297It's like going into a room of pro-choice people all the time and selling the opposite. You can only be beat down so many times and if that room full of people isn't changing, you're not changing their minds.
298204 And you can just watch the climate, you can just look at what they've done. They've taken away EPC [Environmental Protection Commission]. They've made themselves the EPC and now they've dissolved the EPC.
299WM: And EPC stands for?
300RD: Environmental Protection Commission.
301344 So this board has proven to be very anti-environmental. You can pay them! And that's all there is to it. They haven't seen a development they don't like. They're not above breaking the law to get what they want. The only way they will go to jail is if they get dumb enough to do it and get caught. But they're blatantly bowing to the developer.
302I become so frustrated; in the past election they put Jim Norman and Ken Hagen back in. It's like, okay, no one knows what they are doing. People aren't paying attention. Obviously they are just looking at the red, white and blue signs.
303312 It's either that or they want more of what they are already getting. It's like, that's not what they are all saying. They obviously just don't know who these people are and they are checking off these names [on the ballot] 'cause they've seen them before. "Well, it seems that these people are doing a good job."
30472 But when you see them getting voted back in and you know-once you start-
305the newer commissioner, Blair. It didn't take long to know where he was coming from.
306Once you know you've got a board that's all developer weighted-I just can't bring myself to go down there.
307561 I also worked on-I don't know-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 it 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 pretty good ideas (He was a zoning administrator.) But [everybody else was fighting him.] His ideas weren't developer friendly.
308361 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 it would be. It went on for several years and I think it's still going through some sort of adoption process. But half way through it was, like, taken over by the developers and just stripped, right before a meeting, and that was it.
309352 It was, like, you know, 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.
310WM: Uh-huh.
311261 RD: So that in itself pushed me to where I just didn't want to go to the civic association. 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.
312282 That was very taxing for the whole association. That one-oh I don't know how many-we started with like $50,000.00 and from there it was just more and more attorney's bills. It finally was settled and they agreed to a smaller school. But-[sighs] I don't want to say any more on that.
313302 WM: Okay. But what I've heard you say is that the current Board of County Commissioners are so pro-development that they disregard 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?
314RD: Absolutely.
315WM: Okay.
316When did you feel like you pulled out; just to get a time frame on this?
317304 RD: Oh-I'd say about a year ago, when I finally had to just quit paying attention, as much as I could. It took coming to the realization that-that I wasn't talking to anyone. It didn't matter what research [was done] and what was right or wrong. The decisions were make before the application was put in.
318You hear some many people say, "You can't fight City Hall." I don't feel that way. I feel like there is still a place, but I feel like now we have such crooked politicians sitting in our commission, that they've found a way to get around everything.
319WM: Uh-huh.
320421 RD: They ignore their own staff too. When you see that-if it was just us then I'd have to think perhaps we're a bit too demanding out here. We expect a bit too much. But when you see that they ignore their advisory committees from one end of the spectrum to the other, you know-there's a preference [for development]. They've got a preference for what they want to see and that's what they are going to move forward with.
321252 And they're no [fools] either. They've got to understand that people don't follow this too. You know? That they can keep a certain political face and a certain face out there, seems that- it's good enough to cover up anything to do with development.
322How do you tie-you can't go on a computer or anything right now and find out how 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.
323So aside from reading those issues, or sitting through them (my gosh!), you really don't know [how they've voted]. And when it comes out of the commission, it's like there's seven of them and nobody even knows their names if they do read off what's printed in the paper on which ones voted for it and which ones voted against it.
324So what you've got to do is to hope that somebody good comes along [to run for county commissioner] and has better signs next time.
325WM: Better signs, you mean gets elected?
32666 RD: Yeah. They need prettier red, white, and blue signs to get in.
327142 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-
328RD: It's still gotten more development coming in to it. But I don't know. It's something I wonder about. Because there are-there are a good deal of people out here that are new.
329563 And the newer people don't have the same concerns and issues. They probably have a very small lot and they they've probably 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 don't know which way it will go. I think it there is a good deal of protection already on 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.
330I think over the years, they've learned. They're starting to learn. The 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 strip mall from one end to the other. And it's no quick route.
331309 So once they start seeing that those [road improvements] aren't a good thing and hearing that a little bit, and paying attention to it, then you end up with a community that has a little bit of a clue about what they don't want to happen. So at least in that aspect we are at least ready to fight against it.
332WM: Okay, you feel like an informed, educated community is the first-
333RD: Absolutely.
334WM: That's the first step.
335149 RD: They have to know. Yeah, the community has to know what's going on with land use issues. But they have to-um-know. And that's a hard thing to do.
336I found that was one of the most difficult things to do was to take all of those applications and processes and hearings and try to go out here and tell "Joe" what was going to happen. And when he needed to act and what he needed to do.
337It's going to be so overwhelming if you tell then the reality of what they need to do that then they're not going to do it. (laughs) So you tell them to just show up, you know? And try to give them a clue about what's going on and get up there and tell them what you don't want. Tell them-
338I think the tools are having a community that's knowledgeable and that's tricky 'cause you got to keep them all looking at something.
339476 And trying to keep a civic association together is a little bit harder than the homeowners association type thing. [With] the homeowners you kind of got a definition of who they are. They've bought into the same thing. Out here, trying to keep the civic association alive, it's a whole different entity. But the people out here do it and it's always there. It might go down to a low level but it'll [continue]. And as soon as something big comes up they'll all be there again.
340108 WM: So the next time Keystone is threatened or challenged by something you feel the community will rally?
341RD: 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.
342Any large development would pull a lot of people out. If someone were to come in here and want to change densities, you'd see a lot of people [turn out]. And now what we mainly do-almost all of it-
343I've only handled people by phone lately. I've done that for, probably, the last two years. But I'll tell them how to do it. A lot of it is just knowing what processes they to do, or who they need to call and what to ask and who they need to make sure is doing what.
344218 Usually, if you can get people, if they're interested in it, if they're concerned, they'll take it. And if they were just looking for someone to do it, then you won't hear from them again. And you'll see it go through.
345294 And I get loads 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, they've stopped some [projects]. You know just a couple of neighbors can make a big difference. But they have to have-
346487 I think it's too hard to call the county and find out. No one is going to give them that sort of tip. But I think if a civic association is going to do anything land use wise, they just need to have a few people that can say, "Okay. You guys come and meet with us and that's what KCA [Keystone Civic Association] does a lot of. The board will have the neighbors to meet, on a different night after they've come together at a general meeting and say, "Okay, this is what you need to do."
347324 What's a little different with us is, a lot of times we don't do it for them, so much. Now we don't even have a group that does the meetings with them. But-um-we would, maybe have one person that could do that for them, you know a [civic] association person. But we'd make them do the rest. We'd just tell them how to do it.
348139 It would frustrate them no end because they would say, "You already know how to do this. Why won't you people do it?" But it's not ours.
349You get burned out too. But I'm more than happy to at least tell people how to go fight for their rights. 'Cause the people are looking to make money off of the land, they've paid someone to go in there and do it. And they're going to do a good job of asking for what they want, to get their rights.
350130 If the little guy doesn't know to show up and say something, he gets robbed. He is going to get robbed anyway, right now. (laughs)
351WM: Well that sounds like a good place to conclude, 'cause I've been talking to you for about an hour and a half.
35271 Is there anything you want to comment on that I haven't asked about?
35323 RD: I don't believe so.
354353 WM: Okay. Well I always explain to people that the information you've shared with me 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.
355RD: Okay. I give permission.
356WM: Okay, great. Well I've got a form for you to sign. But I always like to explain that to people for the record.
35789 And I've been taking pictures of people I interview is it okay if I take your picture?
358RD: Sure. But I would have done my hair before you got here. (laughs)
359WD: (laughs) Well, let me shut this thing off.
360But again, thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
361end of interview
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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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]?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

PAGE 22

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

PAGE 23

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.

PAGE 24

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.

PAGE 25

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.

PAGE 26

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.

PAGE 27

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

PAGE 28

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)

PAGE 29

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


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