Neighbors Fight Intrusion Of
By SYLVIA WRIGHT Mobile Home
Tribune Staff Writer '
SMembers of a quiet neighborhood
bordering the Tampa Bypass Canal say
they are angry about a proposal by the
Southwest Flotid Manaement Dis-
c to house guard at a cana am
'Wined their homes
SThe water management agency
wants to put a mobile home on the ;
canal right-of-way for a security officer
to live in. They have applied for rezon-
ing of a one-acre site to accommodate
the trailer, but residents of the homes .
on Garden Lane north of Buffalo Ave-.
nue are fighting the request.
While a water agency spokesman
argues the need for an on-site officer to
stop vandalism, those residents whose
Garden Lane homes back up to the
canal insist a mobile home will devalue
"W e don't want any mobile homes-
on Garden Lane. There aren't any here
now," Martin Cook, 4303 Garden Lane,
"If you had an $80,000 house, would
you want someone to put a house
trailer beside it?" asked Lindy Size-
more, who said he's lived at 4307 Gar-
den Lane for 20 years.
:-. Residents argued at the zoning hear-
ing Monday night that the trailer could
as easily be put on the east side of the
canal, near an existing mobile home
Si"(Kenneth) Cramer (of the water
agency) said it would cost $5,000 to put
electricity on that side. If they were to
spend $5,000 of the taxpayers' money
that wouldn't be a drop in the bucket,
because they'd be devaluating my prop-
erty more than that," Sizemore said.
"I can understand the individuals'
concern in not wanting a mobile home
on their side. But on the west side is
our main access road and utilities,"
Cramer explained. He added that put-
ting the trailer across the canal would
mean the security officer would be an
extra 200 feet away from the dam's con-
Vandals have damaged and de-
strbyed parts of the dam, tearing down
gates and shooting out lights, Cramer
said. They've even taken 400-pound
aluminum weather covers off and
tossed them into the canal, he said.
SDivers have to be hired to find and
retrieve the gates, covers, and other de-
bris in the canal before they can drift
downstream and lodge in other dam
gates, Cramer explained.
At another control structure, just
north of Highway 60, police recently
stopped a man as he was breaking into
a control house similar to one at the
Garden Lane dam, Cramer said.
*.. "He could have raised the gates and
drained the canal. If somebody just
starts raising gates without knowing
what could happen, four or five feet of
water could be freed. What if somebody
was boating in the canal?"
..,Keeping attack dogs in, the dam
compound did not work, Cramer said,
because work crews were denied easy
access to the area. In the long run, citi-
zens would get the most from their
money by having a city police officer or
Sheriffs deputy live rent-free on the
site, he said.
Feelings have run high against the
water management agency since the
canal project was begun, residents say.
They complain that promises of the
joys of having waterfront property
were merely "sales pitches" by South-
west Florida Water Management attor-
Residents were underpaid for their
land, Lindy Sizemore said. 'That was
the first thing they did to us took
our land. Then we put up with two
years of digging, of heavy equipment
tearing up our road. They've taken our
water rights away from us. All we can
do is walk out there (to the canal) and
Sizemore said he spent $100 build-
ing a small platform out to the water's
edge, but was forced to dismantle it.
Cramer responded that the agency
is responsible for the safety of the
canal, and couldn't allow docks to be
built along the shore. Although most
docks would be safe, others might be
built too low and wash away, he said.
, The county zoning board's decision
should come within two weeks, a
spokesman said. If the rezoning is re-
fused, said Cramer, the agency's only
alternative would be to situate the
trailer on the east bank of the canal.
'The east spot is where it belongs.
We don't want any kind of trash going
up around us. We are going to continue
to fight. We're not going to have trail-
ors on this side," said Mary Lee
McCullers, 4401 Garden Lane.