Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baywatch Keeping Its Eye on Baymeadows

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Baywatch Keeping Its Eye on Baymeadows

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland, Staff writer

They call themselves Baywatch, but they aren't lifeguards. What they are seeking to guard is the quality of life in their communities.

These nine neighborhoods are within one of the most explosive growth areas of the Southside--the vicinity of Baymeadows Road and Florida 9A.

Last year, they came together to successfully fight construction of a car dealership on the entrance road to Twin Lakes Academy elementary and middle schools. Since then, they've formed an association that takes its name from the popular TV series.

"The name is catchy, and people remember it," said Pam Armstrong, an East Hampton resident and a charter member.

The name's also appropriate because it's a play on Baymeadows and the group's intent is to keep an eye on development, transportation, growth and zoning issues, she said.

So far the association is made up of representatives from Hampton Glen, East Hampton, Deerwood, Reedy Branch, South Chase, James Island, Belle Rive, Royal Lakes and Timberlin Parc. Membership will be sought from new neighborhoods as they develop, said Therese Collerd, another charter member, who lives in Deerwood.

"They've become very effective," said City Councilman Matt Carlucci, who represents Baymeadows. "It's a growing area, and they're playing a pretty big role in growth management."

Armstrong called it an opportunity to be in on the ground floor of future development.

"Not many people have that opportunity," she said. "What surrounds them is what's been there a long time. But we can serve as pioneers, contribute to how it develops and what we feel will benefit the homeowners in the surrounding communities."

Members say they have formed a cordial working relationship with some members of the Skinner family, who own much of the land in the area and have been receptive to the group's suggestions.

For instance, Baywatch has provided information on what homeowners are seeking in potential retailers at Point Meadows, a commercial town center where the car dealership was originally planned. …

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