Tamarac homeowner LeRoy Browne moved from Washington D.C. to Paradise Estates in the 1980s because he was looking for, well, Paradise.
But now his heavenly retreat is threatened: Browne's house sits directly on a golf course that the city wants to rezone. The plan is to pave Browne's Paradise and put up a subdivision.
Browne gathered with about 100 others on Sunday to ritually burn their Census forms, harkening back to the 1960s protesters torching their draft cards.
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Hey, whoever said middle-class grownups couldn't co-opt radical high drama? Browne says the demonstration signified that their voices are not being heard by the city. "We feel we are not being represented," Browne told the Juice. The course's owners say they're losing money, and they want to bail. If the city agrees to rezone, it would dramatically increase the value of the land, which could then be worth up to 10 times as much and suit the needs of developers, Browne says. In contrast, Browne and his neighbors think their own property values will plummet.
"My house has already lost 100 grand in value," Brown said. Having a view of a new subdivision, rather than rolling green space, isn't going to help that, he adds. "There is no need for more homes in this city," he says. "Any tax benefit to the city will be outweighed by the cost for new services, which will exceed new tax revenue."
Browne successfully strangled plans to build a thoroughfare through his neighborhood in the '80s, so he's convinced he can fight City Hall. And he plans to do just that tomorrow night, when he expects 200 residents to show up at the Tamarac city commission meeting to present their case. "The city has not explored possible alternatives" to building new housing on the land. "Our argument is that the proposal for new housing does not meet the public's needs. There are 199 homeowners associations in the city of Tamarac," he says. "The impact of our potential vote is very strong."