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Florida City Commission Nixes State Park Plan

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July 8, 2011 by   Leave a Comment

Dunedin, Fla., commissioners formally rejected the state’s RV camping plan for Honeymoon Island in a meeting at City Hall Thursday (July 7), according to Patch.com.

They unanimously adopted a resolution against the state’s “proposal to permit the installation of a recreational vehicle campsite within Honeymoon Island State Park.”

The resolution takes immediate effect. It cites a long history of environmental preservation and criticizes the state’s absence of any viable impact studies to support a plan high-impact camping.

The city passed similar resolutions in 1988 and 1999.

Commissioner Julie Ward Buljalski suggested amending it to touch on the issue of traffic impact to Causeway Boulevard.

“We have been fighting for a number of years about the traffic coming into Honeymoon Island now,” Buljalski said. “It’s a 30-minute back up with three lanes being used to get in … We should be talking about the impact of the traffic with additional campsites [in the resolution]. We should urge that money be budgeted for studying the traffic. I think with that being there, they’d understand…”

Commissioner Julie Scales said that she didn’t want that to be a reason to not to act swiftly on the resolution.

“I know very many people out there are expecting us to take action tonight,” she said. “I would suggest we keep it simple here tonight, unless we find something truly objectionable.”

She also suggested that the state’s process was flawed.

“People would be in here with pitchforks if we ever tried to do something like that,” she said.

Buljalski conceded.

“I am a camper,” Buljalski said. “Most of the camping that I’ve done have been in state parks, but Honeymoon Island is just not the type of environment that should have that type of campground.”

All of Dunedin’s commissioners spoke against the proposalat Tuesday’s public hearing with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

In 1988, the city opposed commercialization of the park in Resolution 88-25, which states that the land was handed over to the state for the “express purpose of protecting it from development and preserving it to the greatest degree possible as an example of a natural barrier island.”

In 1999, the city again opposed a state plan for Honeymoon Island in Resolution 99-19, which states, “the City Commission … does not support … further development and construction of commercial facilities in Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area.”

Mayor Dave Eggers said that the Pinellas County also came down on the state’s proposal this week.

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