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INDAILY | Vol. 8, No. 5, February 7, 2008
(Rising Stars)

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News: Terhaar & Cronley Respond to Tree Ordinance Debate

by Duwayne Escobedo

Terhaar & Cronley have been silent on the ongoing Pensacola tree ordinance debate -- until now. Read their open letter to citizens below.

February 8, 2008

To the Citizens of Pensacola Florida

We are Terhaar & Cronley. We are, dare I say it, developers!!! And you know what, we're damned proud of it! We mold property for uses that put people to work, that substantially increase tax revenues, that beautify the landscape and that make cities better places to live. We take risks to make a living and that's nothing to be ashamed of. And we do it well within the limits of the law, regardless of what you have recently heard or read to the contrary. To intimate that we or Moulton Properties or the Rave Theaters or any other reputable developer does otherwise is disingenuous. Statements that we do so by spokesmen for the Gulf Coastkeepers suggest a dishonest, rather than progressive, agenda. The hyperbole has gotten out of hand and is offered only for public sympathy when even-handedness would suit a cause so much more satisfactorily. "...the least protective tree ordinance in Florida," please, Mr. Johnson. It's not even the least protective in Escambia County. "...clear cut all the way down to Carpenter's Creek," please, Mr. Johnson. You can't even see Carpenter's Creek from Cobblestone. "...lost forever, approximately 20,000 trees on properties of the Rave...Cobblestone and...the Rooms to Go," please, Mr. Johnson. It's not even one-tenth of 20,000 trees and all will be replanted or paid for, in many cases, six for one. "...$20 million dollars worth of damage to the environment," please, Mr. Kirchenfeld. Let's get realistic with our accounting and please don't ask for arithmetic help from Mr. Johnson.

We developed Cobblestone @ Cordova and did not damage or remove a single heritage tree in the process, not one. When it poured 10 inches of rain in 24 hours, not a single grain of erosion made it from our site into Carpenter's Creek. We provided locations for an acute medical care facility, a 134-room hotel, an office supply center and a four-star restaurant and didn't come within 200 feet of that waterway doing it. When we complete our development, the City of Pensacola and Escambia County tax revenue for our property will have increased twenty-fold.

Good developers understand the need to protect and enhance the environment that we all live in. We believe that we do that for all of the citizens of our community. As the attitudes of our residents change, it's important to change guidelines to match those attitudes. But let's not go overboard with it. Let's not overreact. And let's not do it confrontationally. Making false, inflammatory accusations only weakens an argument.

--Tony Terhaar and Jim Cronley