Shady Oaks Lake Kissimmee Public Access likely gone Jan. 11

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Daddy Dave
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Shady Oaks Lake Kissimmee Public Access likely gone Jan. 11

Postby Daddy Dave » Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:21 pm

Dear Mr. Markett:

Sorry for the delay in responding to your message. I was out of town for
the holidays. It is my understanding that the proposed land exchange will
be heard by the South Florida Water Management District Board at its
January 11, 2006, meeting, which is to be held at the West Palm Beach
District Office. There will be an opportunity for public comment at the
meeting. Below is a link to the agenda for the meeting. The subject item
is No. 71 on page 16 of the agenda. Please let me know if there is
anything else I can do to help you.

http://my.sfwmd.gov/gb/doc/Agenda_Detailed.pdf

Diana Sawaya-Crane
Attorney General's Office
The Capitol - Room Pl-01
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1050
850-245-0145 (Phone)
850-487-2564 (Fax)


Comments should be sent to:

Rick Smith SFWMD - WRAC - Coordinator rismith@sfwmd.gov
Carol Anne Wehle SFWMD - Ex. Dir. Governing Bd. cberger@sfwmd.gov
Irela Bagué SFWMD - Governor ibague@sfwmd.gov
Pamela B. Thomas SFWMD - Governor pbthomas@sfwmd.gov
Alice J. Carlson SFWMD - Governor acarlson@sfwmd.gov
Capt. Mike Collins SFWMD - Governor mcollins@sfwmd.gov
Nicholas J. Gutierrez, Jr. SFWMD - Governor NGutierrez@bgalaw.com
Lennart E. Lindahl, P.E. SFWMD - Governor LLindahl@sfwmd.gov
Harkley R. Thornton SFWMD - Governor HarkleyT@fdn.com
Malcom Wade SFWMD - Governor mawade@sfwmd.gov
Kevin MaCarty SFWMD - Governor KMcCarty@sfwmd.gov
John W. Williams SFWMD - Inspector General ahaga@sfwmd.gov
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Postby cntry141iq » Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:31 pm

Big daddy this was probably a done deal before anyone ever heard of it. The only chance was to bring a huge spotlight on the issue and that got squashed before it got started. It is a shame but luckily right now I can afford 5 bucks to launch at camp mack. That will work until the right offer is made to buy it and then it will be gone as well. Like I said in one post on here which was a true story .. I once asked a roomful of people if it was ignorance or apathy that was the problem ... and one good ole boy chimed in.. I don't know and I don't care... sorta sums it up huh.
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Postby Daddy Dave » Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:38 pm

An inquiry from the Florida Governor's and Florida Attorney General's offices have resulted in the above statement.

I am convinced the fix is in and someone or someones is/are about to snatch a most valuable diamond from the Florida public.

My bet is this will start the use of the threat of imminent domain proceedings to wrest private property from rightful owners, then into WMD ownership for a short period, then into "Surplus" status, then back into private ownership as prime development property.

Those with the right contacts will have our tax dollars working directly for them. Hell of a deal if you can get it.

Thank You Fred Davis and Carole Wehle and SFWMD. Spectacular Public service.
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Postby fatboy0054 » Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:13 pm

TWENTY EIGITH STATES IS FIGHTIN THE DOMAIN THING , BUT FLORIDA NOT ONE , BIG DADDY ,MR JOHN THANKS FOR THE TRY ! ITS A BIGGER THING THAN MOST PEOPLE KNOW ! :shock:
(Disclaimer )! Which means ! Dont try to sue me for your own stupidity !
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Postby dblj006 » Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:18 pm

Wow! What a lop sided deal! The land parcel along Hwy78 between
Okeechobee City and Lakeport is lowland and real estate with
no where near the value that has been placed upon it. I just can't believe
that our state would allow our tax funds, "Funds will be reimbursed from either the Save Our Everglades Trust Fund, Florida
Forever Trust Fund or additional state funding made available." to be
used where an obvious gain is to be had by somebody or somebodies.
Of course the Attorney general's office would sign off on it... just research
that guy and Lakewood Ranch(Bradenton) he is in on it!
I guess they think they can get by because it looks good on paper,
but anybody who would take time to really investigate that would find
that deal is no deal!

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Postby Capt Jeff » Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:58 pm

From Newton Cook of United Waterfowlers of Florida:

I am pleased to announce that Byron Maharrey and I met with Ruth Clements, SFWMD, Director Land Acquistion, and Fred Davis, Land Steward, during todays SFWMD WRAC meeting. There will be a proposal to the Board at the meeting next week that a triple ramp be built at Otter Slough with access to Rt. 60 to replace the Shady Oak ramp. There will be good facilities there. Also, if the current ramp at Grape Hammock is endangered by the forthcoming rise in the lake, the proposal is for the District to modify the ramp to save it and may even develop an adjacent park area.

This is a very much appreciated reaction to the outcry from the many "interested parties", including UW-F membership. The District continues the current direction to include the public and public recreation in planning. Thanks to all who helped on this project. We will be watching as the process to build the ramps, etc., moves ahead.
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Postby blackpowderscout » Thu Jan 05, 2006 4:06 pm

Here's my response to Newton...some of you may have got it too..


You people just don't get it, the Shady Oaks "deal" was never about a boat ramp!! It was about protecting a piece of Florida that is dissappearing all too fast. Besides, why spend more of MY MONEY on a new ramp when there is a perfectly good one there???? I'm glad to hear that you are giving awards to some of those responsible for this land "deal". I'll be sure to explain that to my children 10 years from now when I drive them through the subdivisions that will most surely be built there. Put that on your plaque!!! It is also not comforting to know that the state has the power to use the threat of imminent domain to aquire land at well below its value, hold it in WMD hands for a short time, and then sell it and make a large profit ( secretly and all the while trying to withhold disclosure of the "deal" to the public). My father always told me to never trust the government. Now, I can clearly and vividly see why!!

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Postby blackpowderscout » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:40 pm

Here is Mr Cook's response to my email followed by mine...if any of you are duck hunters, I have nothing against duck hunting but this guy isn't affected by this and therefore is trying to defend SWFMD.


Mr. Wellington....The facts are simple. The lake is going to be raised. The SFWMD is going to acquire the neccessary land to accomplish that. The land is not often available in just the small parcels needed for the easements at a reasonable price. Buying whole properties is advantageous cost wise.....and the chances that land will remain in a rural or natural state in the hands of the District are much higher than if left in private hands to be sold to developers,,,,,just look around you.....most of the "natural" land with any public access is state or WMD owned. Most of that land will stay that way for generations.....could you say the same for the Shady Oaks property in the private realm?

Buying land is an expensive proposition and when you are buying many properties for a variety of mandates not every piece will fit. I am no great defender of any of the WMDs, but I support their purchasing of as much of the undeveloped land as can be afforded and keeping as much as they can undeveloped.....but I also realize they have a job to do by legislation and not everyone can be satisfied with the results.

The SFWMD has undergone a sea change in their approach to the uses of public land in the last few years. Henry Dean pushed for more concern for the public use and recreation on District lands and Carol Wehle has continued that mandate.

There remain a lot of people who have knee jerk reactions, perhaps due to the past actions of the WMDs. Some of the distrust was well earned....but when the District makes an honest attempt to meet the public's needs, it is counter productive to just keep piling on critizism. The Shady Oaks boat ramp and facilities are old and in poor shape.....you are going to get a first class facility well maintained and in place for generations....learning when you have made the sale and to say "thanks" is a basic skill in negotiations....I am glad to say "thanks".

As far as the Plaque is concerned....the SFWMD has made tough adjustments in attitude to open the premier duck hunting marshes in the USA, the STAs to the public. By legal mandate, any thing that interferes with their function to filter phosporous out of the water flowing in them is banned. The District dedicated a lot of time and money proving duck hunting did not interfere and has opened several to over 3000 hunters per season. Not only the STAs but the Kissimmee restoraton project has created duck hunter meccas, and the District's effort to open the WCAs in South Florida this year despite high water levels was very much appreciated by waterfowlers.......Like I said....you need to know when to say "thanks".

Newton Cook
President UNITED WATERFOWLERS-FL


Mr Cook, the name is Wetherington,

Do you even know what is going on with Shady Oaks???? They are going to surplus it (that means sell it off to private individuals) . Of course I realize that the land is better of in WMD hands, thats why we want them to keep it.

You speak of SWFMD as having made an honest attempt at meeting public needs....how have they done this??? The Shady Oaks property is a perfect example of them not having done so. I refuse to give thanks to anyone who has any part in trying, covertly and away from the publics eyes, to aquire land knowing full well that they are going to surplus it and make money AND LOSE THE NATURAL PIECE OF PROPERTY!!!

I can understand that you are in love with SWFMD and it's administrators because they are helping you and other waterfowlers out down south...hooray for you. But when that private developer buys that land and builds those houses, where do you think all that pollution is going to go?? Shady Oaks is practically the closest land to the mouth of the Kissimmee River and all the pollutants will flow straight down to your precious duck habitat.

When this land is gone, they'll come looking for more and perhaps it will be in your neck of the woods. I hope not, but if so, don't come crying on my shoulder.

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Postby blackpowderscout » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:54 pm

BF...with a name like Wetherington, I'm kinda used to it :P That doesn't mean I'm any less proud of it though. :wink:

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big feather

Postby big feather » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:56 pm

I hear ya, man. Great letters ...... Thanks!

BF

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Postby cntry141iq » Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:13 pm

here is what mr. newton cook sent me;

There appears to be a difference in money from what the District was able to acquire the land for and what can be received for use of the parcel which includes the boat ramp that is positive and allows the District to keep the flow easement and have funds for other projects, including new important land acquistions.

Tens of millions of dollars are involved in favor of the District, and no doubt makes the "compromise" to open new and improved ramps on nearby district property and protect the ramp on what is or soon will be District land at Grape Hammock a win win for all of us.

Our next issue in the area is the "no tresspass" signing around the lake that could be moved back toward the true District borders and open a large area to public access. The secret of making progress is to move as partners with the District's objectives whenever we can.
Newton

here is what I sent back

Ladies and Gentlemen: Thank you very much for your consideration of this matter and the attempt at a solution. I realize that no solution ever makes everyone happy but at least some attempt has been made. I am still puzzled why a new facility needs to be built from scratch when the area at shady oaks already exists and would really appreciate it if someone could rationalize the additional expenditures to build a new one and the time delay involved. It seems it takes years for anything to come to actual usability status. The shady oaks site only needs a sign or two and the gate unlocked. Then a triple ramp could be constructed there while the other single is being used by boaters. There would be no impact on the environment that has not already taken place. Shady oaks is not in a really environmentally sensitive area, There is ample parking existing, there are existing bathroom facilities, there is a store or was a store that could be leased to a vendor for revenue to the district. The shady oaks site has the potential with very little effort to be one of the crown jewels of public/private co-operation for the benefit of all sportsman/fisherman in the district. I am sure if the land is being sold to a developer they surely wouldn't miss that little piece of land and if they do just drop me a line back and I will arrange a sale with someone who will build the citizens of florida a boat ramp. I am surveyor and a realtor and development is my game and I play it very well. I have buyers standing ready to move on that site if you wish to open it up for public bidding. Thank You
John D. O'Neill PSM 5233, Realestate sales person, Mortgage broker, State of Florida lisc.'s.

here is the reponse sent back to me from gatorslick

They are not in the land "dealing" business. We the taxpayer want to keep the property public. Squeaky wheel.............
Newton does do a good job.
PW


here is my response

Just exactly who is not in the land dealing business?? surely you dont mean the water management district because they are. Newton wrote back explaining how the district was gonna make 10's of millions of dollars to buy more land.

so I am confused with your reply to me please explain John


then I sent this one after he blasted BPS

Mr. Newton:

Could you be so kind as to point out one such ramp that has actually been constructed such as you describe. Typically after years of environmental impact and feasibility studies the projects are scrapped as being to costly or bad for the environment. By the time this happens the ones who were upset about the losses have long since either given up hope or have died. The WMD'S really do stand for Weapons of Mass Destruction based on the past abuses they have put over on the people of Florida. They earned the distrust we have displayed here. Maybe they have changed or maybe they had to give in to the DUCK HUNTER GROUPS because of the strength of DUCKS UNLIMITED I don't know.

Yes SHADY OAKS RAMP is old but there is plenty of room to construct a new facility while not depriving us of use of the old one. The WMD'S have a history of wasting millions of dollars on studies as you have pointed out. They had a chance here to do something good for us with out having to do an expensive study but obviously that is not going to happen. If flooding was the real problem they would simply close the ramp area when the water was high just as they do at other ramps. I firmly believe someone is getting a sweetheart deal here and they have almost got caught at it.If it was really in the interest of the citizens of florida they could make it a part of the contract to purchase the property that a ramp facility be built by the purchaser and be given to the county or state after completion to be utilized by the people. They have not said they are going to build us any access points only that they are going to do a study on one. They will mess it around until we are wore out and then it will simply fade away just like us.

So excuse me if I don't run out into the street and share in your celebration. Congratulations on any concessions you may have got from the WMD'S but so far we have only got lip service and not much of that. So you go ahead and give your plaques out for what you got that is the right thing to do but don't beat us up because we are not joining in your celebration.


and thats the way it is folks so now you know.
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Postby Aces over 8s » Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:40 pm

I'm just now getting these letters from Newton and I still find this Otter slough thing to be a joke. I can't see the state ever letting anyone back in there when there's been proof of Florida Panthers living there. I know of Byron and from what I hear he'll be on our side but he is a duck hunter. :?
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Postby Capt Jeff » Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:52 pm

Interesting views & opinions.

I hope you don't mind but I forwarded your posts to the AWF site to give all an opportunity to see both sides.

Good Job!!!
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Postby blackpowderscout » Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:53 pm

Here is Newton's reply...I don't know him personally so I will with hold judgement but he makes it sound as if his club has saved Lake Kissimmee and is THE most powerful club around...sounds to me like they are in bed with the state.

Adam... I was at the SFWMD WRAC meeting this am and your topic on the pollution coming from the lands being developed in the Kiss. Chain was discussed. The WRAC recognizes this is a major problem, not only there but in the issue of pollution of estuaries from Lake O versus local municipal run off. The development of central FL continues at a rapid pace and the land being developed is almost totally privately owned....I can not off hand think of a single large piece of public owned natural land that was sold for development...I am sure it happens, but not often....this particular piece at Shady Oaks is still under consideration....nothing is written in stone on where it will end up yet. However. we cannot fight every issue to the death....I choose to WIN the one to have public boat ramps on the south west side of the lake with access from Rt. 60....I was pleasantly suprised when the extra offer to keep Grape Hammock open as well was added...It would have been easy for the District to just say NO....which was the way it was going until we got involved.

If you want another local battle....investigate what is about to happen on the shores of Lake Toho.....and, yes it will happen to Lake Kiss. sooner or later where ever a private land owner wants to cash in....who can blame them. The District is maintaining an easement that almost encircles Lake Kiss. Again....thanks for that.....and our (UNITTED WATERFOWLERS) next objective is to get those white and blue signs moved back toward the actual District boundries and get more land adjacent to the lake open to public access.....I hope we can count on you and your friends to help us....I can assure you it will not happen if you keep disputing the motives of the folks who will make that decision (even if you are correct to some degree) in such a negative way.

One bureaucrat sitting at a desk of hundreds in an agency can stop you cold just because he does not like you...and you will never know why or who....that may be why past experiences have been so bad for some folks.. These people in the agencies do not make a lot of money, they are not highly motivated and they do not like "problems". That is true of all government, not just the WMDs. If you become a "problem" you are dead in the water.

Remember, the people who make the deals on the land for the WMDs do not make a penny more in salary no matter what the deal is....and when you question their integrity it is not the same as if they were some real estate wheeler dealer out to make a buck. And you will pay the price.

I choose to be considered a strong advocate for my group's causes...but not an adversary.

I know it is frustrating to watch any nice piece of property be developed....and I respect your desire to fight for each property. However, I hope you can see the objectives of the group I am responsible for....convenient public access to and protection of water fowling marshes and wetlands...I have to keep my eye on that ball. Hopefully our work also has a positive impact on all rural lands.
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Postby Daddy Dave » Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:26 pm

06 January 2006

Mr. Newton Cook
United Waterfowlers of Florida (UWF),

To the best of our knowledge, UWF was made aware of this pending land swap as a result of correspondence from me on behalf of KRVSA membership to several concerned parties among whom was Capt. Jeff Kraynik, a UWF active member and articulate spokesperson.

KRVSA has been trying desperately to "get the facts" on this proposed land swap for several weeks, actually months now, and all we have been given from SFWMD is no official response to us directly and responses to others within government that has amounted to "we might improve existing facilities on the east side of Lake Kissimmee" to mitigate trading away a prime block of public wild lands and a public access point on the Polk County side of Lake Kissimmee.

The Otter Slough ramp construction / public access facility proposal has emerged less than a week from proposed final action on what will surely be a SFWMD staff recommendation to complete the proposed Shady Oaks lands swap.

I am certain you are aware this Otter Slough property will require significant and substantial site improvements with dredging likely required to serve any motor vessel other than an airboat. We all know that scenario puts any reasonable public use or access years down the road -- a road fraught with numerable likely obstacles.

The proposed land swap amounts to trading away your and our children's recreational lands for a cattail seed. Just how much waterfowl hunting do you reasonably expect to occur along the front lawns of this 2,400 acre lake side soon-to-be housing development. How many ducks will survive eating bugs that have been poisoned by monthly lawn spraying? Nutrients washed into Lake Kissimmee also from monthly lawn treatments will surely add to aquatic weed problems that are usually treated by direct herbicide spraying.

You justify approval of SFWMD's action because there has developed a significant difference in purchase price under the reported threat of Imminent Domain Taking and current market values after this property was wrested away and then cleaned and improved with public monies - I am not surprised there is a difference in those two numbers. UWF's logic could easily be applied to every public recreational land block currently held in trust by every WMD in Florida. There are tremendous differences in purchase prices of theses wild lands held in trust for all Florida citizens and the speculative values fueled by rampant growth and waterfront / conservation area land demand from the development sector.

My understanding of the purpose of Florida Forever funding was NOT to fuel land speculation and additional housing and urban developments within our priceless public wild lands and watersheds and particularly those adjoining our sovereign waters and wetlands.

Personally, I have a deep and abiding respect for the much of the work UWF has done. I am a lifelong hunter, conservationist, angler, outdoor sportsman and native son of Florida Pioneers. KRVSA seeks no battle with UWF. We are, however, convinced this is a good and honorable issue and until we are shown facts to sway our position, KRVSA intends to continue to represent what we believe to be the best interests of current and future Floridians with respect to this proposal and object to SFWMD's proposed lands swap of the Shady Oaks lands.

Respectfully,

Dave Markett

For the Membership
Kissimmee River Valley Sportsman's Association
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Postby Capt Jeff » Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:26 pm

Just for clarification, I have not been a member of UWF in (2) two years.

Thank you


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Postby SwampMatt » Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:27 pm

I wrote a note to "my friend" Toni Jennings. I don't know if she'll actually get it personally, but if she remembered my name after all these years, who knows? Right? Can't win if you don't enter. I know it's a long shot. But I gave her the email addresses of both Gatorstick and BigDaddy to contact for more information. I just think it'd help if someone looked into this from the top down, ya know? So Phil or Dave, if you get a message from the Lt. Gov. treat her right. She's a true class act of a woman if I ever saw one!

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Postby dblj006 » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:57 pm

I recieved this from Newton Cook.

I will be at the SFWMD Board meeting tomorrow and a presentation is on the agenda on the subject property by the Director of Land Acquisition. We should know more about the facts of the situation then. We do have a committment to have the boat ramp replacement at Otter Slough and the preservation of Grape Hammock presented to the Board....which meeting I do not know yet. This should go through when it happens and then it is important to move the project along. This is the problem that directly effects waterfowlers....access to the Brahma Island area. This is the problem the local Kiss. Sports. club contacted me on and asked for my help several months ago. We fought hard for either keeping the current ramp or getting new ones nearby......that seems to have been accomplished.

As of last week no definitive answer was available on what will be done with the surplus land at Shady Oaks. What is happening at Lake Kissimmee is the WMD is buying the land needed for the easements when the lake level is raised......they cannot just flood a private land owner's property. They really have little interest in keeping farm land....although we wish they would keep all they buy and let it go back to a natural state.....just is not going to happen all the time. They have leased back land on many occasions for farming or cattle. This is not a lucrative money maker.....but holds the land in public hands. We will see what happens with this piece.
Newton

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Postby dblj006 » Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:00 pm

This was my reply to him...

Thank you for your reply.
Which lake are you referring to as being raised?
The proposed aquisition is located on Lake Okeechobee.
The Northwest shore at Buckhead Ridge outside the
Herbert Hoover dyke. The Army Corp of Engineers
already has all of the Fisheating Creek Area on the
west side of Lake Okeechobee for this purpose.
It already contained within the dyke complex complete
with spillways and pumping stations to raise/lower
lake levels as necessary. It stays dry 95% of any year.
It has hardly ever been flooded at any point since
inception of this system.

My point is the land SWFMD is aquiring
will never be able to be used for the purpose
that is being given. NEVER. Leasing back land
to individuals for cattle interests or farming is
PRIVATE use not public. And unless millions
of tons of aggregate to build and reinforce yet
another dyke system(look up the Herbert Hoover
dyke construction @ Army Corp site) at the
proposed site how can it be incorporated?


The deal makes sense only for entities interested
in the money this represents. It is wrong.

Look it up on Google World. It is there. All the
proof that is needed.

Thank you again for your time.

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Postby SwampMatt » Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:54 pm

How high are they planning on raising Lake Kissimmee? A foot or two?


matt.

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Postby blackpowderscout » Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:50 am

The whole area around Kissimmee is currently in a lease back program. The WMD OWNS the land but the cattlemen have the right to the lease to graze their cattle there. We (the public) still are able to use it also. That's why you see so many cows in Gardner Marsh, the lease doesn't run out until 2016 I think.

If the WMD kept all of the Gardner marsh area (because big money cattlemen like Bronson wanted it done) then they can sure as hell keep Shady Oaks. The only difference between the two properties is the Spates weren't as powerful as Bronson and his cronies.

Newton is happy as hell that his duckhunters are getting what they want, a PROPOSED ramp near otter slough, he doesn't care about other sportsmen. KRVSA is fighting for the preservation of this land for ALL SPORTSMEN not just airboaters. They NEED to do a lease back at the least, that way we can have access to the property. Even if they did a lease back and put everything behind blue signs, we would basically be at status quo as far as what we had before. This is by far my least desirable outcome short of outright private sale, but it would prevent development.

As far as the WMD not being able to flood a private property, did the state buy all of Brahma Island?? I understand that they paid the Lightseys millions to not develop it, not bought it. What about Thomas Landing?? Are they gonna buy that ?? What about Overstreet Landing??? Camp Mack and Camp Mary??? Where does this stop???

Newton needs to stop worrying about his ducks and start worrying about his state and trying to preserve it for his kids and grandkids.

Adam
"Friends don't let friends hunt with inlines."

NRA Life
Traditional Blackpowder Hunting? http://traditionalblackpowderhunting.com/

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swampjet
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Postby swampjet » Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:14 am

Well said Adam.
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