The Gabber Newspaper‘s June 15 letters to the editor.
WinWay Homes: A Runaway Train
Not long ago, a very small Winway sign appeared on what everyone in our neighborhood had thought was an unbuildable lot. After checking with City Hall, I found that the land had been subdivided, and there now exists two lots, in addition to the main house which sits on two lots as well.
Today, the small sign was replaced with a much larger sign. Upon calling the number on the sign, I received a return call from Matt Carr, who introduced himself as the owner of WinWay. He proceeded to offer details about the lot, and stated that they would have to remove a tree. When I commented I lived in the neighborhood, his tone changed completely. In a very cavalier tone, informed me he intended to remove all of the trees on the lot. In other words, a clear cut. When I inquired as to why this had to be done, the response I received was bluntly put: “because I can.”
Mr. Carr proceeded to inform me that his company is the largest tax payer in the City of Gulfport, almost as though this justified his approach to development.
We who live in our little hamlet have witnessed the continual demolition, and then the rebuilding of very large homes. In some instances, homes put on vacant lots, with homes taking up every square inch of the lot. With what appears to be little regard for the nature of our little town, Mr. Carr’s company has and will continue to change the very reason why so many have chosen Gulfport as our home.
The Gabber Newspaper reached out to Matt Carr, who has not previously responded to our requests for comment. This time he did; here’s what he wrote in an email:
Yes, I can respond by saying that I was misquoted. I said that WinWay Homes is the largest contributor of “new’ tax revenue for the City of Gulfport/Pinellas County. If I was to guess the largest tax generation for Gulfport would have to be the Pasadena Yacht and County Club or the Town Shores HOA.
I would also like to thank you for all of the free press that you have been running for WinWay Homes. Since the negative campaign has begun against WinWay Homes we have received additional contracts to build more spacious WinWay Homes in Gulfport. I would also attribute the lot at Tifton because it lets readers know who is the one building all of the beautiful new homes in Gulfport. I would also like to make a side note that WinWay Homes has never requested a variance for any of our homes. All WinWay Homes are built to the current Municode set forth by the City of Gulfport. I personally have sold other vacant lot parcels to other new home builders in Gulfport so they can have the ability to build new also.
There should be lots of new WinWay Homes signs going up in the near future to give you additional content for your paper. Please be on the lookout for our “coming soon” signs. —Matt Carr, Owner, WinWay Homes
The Gabber Newspaper confirmed with the City of Gulfport that WinWay had not officially applied for any variances, but staff told us that the company had asked about the possibility at least twice. Staff told us “when the board applies the definition of a variance and the Statement of Hardship in the application, no hardship can be found” and WinWay would likely not get a variance if they did apply, and advised WinWay as such.
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