The Amy H Remley Foundation  

June 7, 2009

Amy Remley Foundation opposes construction on Primerica site.

(Guest Column published in Citrus County Chronicle, Sunday, June 7, 2009)

What is the public interest in half a road to nowhere at the risk to our jewel of the Nature Coast? Moreover, everything is set for taxpayers' millions to complete any "evacuation route".

Several years ago, alongside County staff, we opposed the development of Crystal River Commons, when it was being considered by the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Eventually Realty Corp, the owners, withdrew their application.

The ground for our opposition then is essentially the same as now. That is, destroying wetlands degrades water quality in Kings Bay and Crystal River. At that time toxic algae blooms had become more severe in the Bay due to run off from the adjacent Home Depot site on US 19.

At the BOCC meeting on May 26, I informed the commissioners of a difference between Florida and federal law. The state law is silent on the fact that underground water flows greatly affect our ecosystems; federal law protects them by the Clean Water Act. The following was then read into the public record.

Brief for BOCC 26May09 – CRCP DA hearing DA-07-03

I refer to the documents submitted on May 15, 2009, for the Public Record and information of

the Commissioners, the salient points of which are as follows:

  1. The wetlands located to the east of the SUBJECT PROPERTY, together with those to the south are “Connected Wetlands”, in that they capture, cleanse and convey “Tributary” waters flowing into riverine Kings Bay via spring vents located there, an existing nexus for many millennia.

  2. It follows that the wetlands and tributary flows constitute a proximate integral ecosystem of “waters of the United States”.

  3. Jurisdiction Under the Clean Water Act is “the controlling rule of law” for any proposed activity or discharge at risk of degrading the water quality of Kings Bay by contaminating tributary flow.

  4. Moreover, the federal rules require an applicant for a permit to undertake such an activity or discharge to affirmatively demonstrate it to be necessary and desirable under federal standards, and clearly in the public interest to do so.

  5. The decision handed down by the Ninth District U.S. Circuit Court in the case of Northern California River Watch v. City of Healdsburg, No. 04-15442 (9th Cir. Aug. 6, 2007) refers.

  6. The tributary waters flow in several unconfined conduits under the SUBJECT PROPERTY.

  7. In addition, Kings Bay is a navigable-in-fact listed Special Water under the classification of an Outstanding Florida Water, for which degradation of water quality from that extant on 1 March, 1979, is prohibited under Florida law.

  8. The draft Citrus County Development Agreement of 5/26/09, fails to ensure protection of water quality in Kings Bay under the Clean Water Act, especially as it conveys right to the OWNER or DEVELOPER to assign rights to third parties to provide vital functions without specific a priori conditions of that Agreement to compel performance under the provisions of the Clean Water Act (paras. 16 F, 16 I, 19 A (2), and B, and 20). Paragraphs 11 and 24 appear to limit application of the Clean Water Act.

  9. It also fails “to affirmatively demonstrate clear public interest” of any such proposed DEVELOPMENT on the SUBJECT PROPERTY.

In view of the forgoing, the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners is urged to deny the said CITRUS COUNTY DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT.

Sincerely, Norman Hopkins

Commissioners and the DEVELOPER, declined to question me. The draft AGREEMENT was approved by a vote 5 to 0, despite the indicated flaws and federal case law against it.

What is the public interest in half a road to nowhere at the risk to our jewel of the Nature Coast? Moreover, everything is set for taxpayers' millions to complete any “evacuation route”.

You be the final Judge.

Note: The Foundation's website at is a repository for the results of research over more than eight years. News Items posted there for May 11, and May 26, are particularly relevant to this issue. Scientific literature from around the world has been studied, discussions held at every level of government, academia, and with lawyers active in environmental protection, as local environmental groups and government have sought to understand reasons for degradation of our water quality, find ways to slow it down, and eventually restore the water quality for the benefit of us all.

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