Neighbors protest Sacred Heart entry

Article Courtesy of The Gulf Breeze News

By Pam Brannon    

Published May 23, 2016


Between 95-100 residents showed up at Tiger Point Golf Course and Country Club last week for an Oak Pointe homeowners association meeting to hear answers from developers as to why a new Sacred Heart facility will have its entrance and exit off Tiger Point Blvd instead of off Hwy. 98. Then about 25 of those homeowners from the area showed up again Thursday morning at Tiger Point Recreational Community Center for the county commission meeting to voice their concerns directly to the county representatives.


The group said it is hoping to get all the homeowners’ associations in the area to band together to fight to have the entrance/ exit moved to Hwy. 98 and out of their quiet neighborhood.

After a few representatives of the group spoke to county commissioners Thursday during Open Forum, commission chair Lane Lynchard told the group, “I share a lot of your concerns. I live in Tiger Point East and that is the entrance and exit I use, also, every day. “ He said he had spoken to the county engineer about the project and entrance as soon as he saw the very first signs of construction.

“But DOT (Dept. of Transportation) has some regulations about the number of entrances -the number of intersections – along Hwy. 98. They have spacing requirements, and this does not fall within the right spacing to have an entrance on Hwy. 98. And if we did put an entrance there, we could not put up a traffic light, so what would that do to traffic flow? We also would have to have a mandatory U-turn, and every time you or I have to go in we would need to make that mandatory U-turn.”

Darlene Smith and Earl Culver picket in Oak Pointe to change the location of Sacred Heart’s new medical facility.

However, Katherine Brown told commissioners that she walked that area with a pedometer and the spacing requirements could be met if there was an entrance off Hwy. 98.

“They are simply not telling you the truth – these developers. We checked and they didn’t even ask DOT for any kind of variance, even to have an entrance there. It would cost a lot more money, of course, and delay the project to have an entrance on Hwy. 98, but it would be so much safer for everyone living off Tiger Point Blvd. Oak Pointe, right there at the entrance they have planned, is a 63-home subdivision. We are going to have laundry trucks, garbage trucks, food service trucks going all times of the day and night and early morning. We believe it is the responsibility of this commission to try to alleviate our problem there.”

Her husband, Richard Brown, told commissioners, “The main entrance to this new Sacred Heart facility being built on Tiger Point Blvd, near the golf course, is on a blind curve, and we have children on bikes all day long on that road, and people jogging and walking and dogs and there will be noise pollution and safety issues if the entrance stays there. We would like you to work with the state to try to move that entrance and exit to the new facility onto Hwy. 98 so our way of life is not ruined.” Brown also said, “We found out at our homeowners meeting that Sacred Heart sold the property to the developers and now Sacred Heart is leasing it from them. We also found out they plan to have seven doctors in there, and if you add up how many patients a day there would be coming and going for seven doctors, that is a lot of cars. A retired doctor that was at our homeowners meeting estimated each doctor would see at least 40 to 45 patients a day. And there is supposed to be an extended hours clinic in there, too.”

The homeowners at the meeting held the night before, at the Country Club, asked questions of the developers for over an hour, then held a board/ membership meeting after the developers and Sacred heart Hospital representatives left. They decided their next step was to get in contact right away with all the other homeowners’ associations off Tiger Point Blvd and people living around the golf course to try to set up a joint meeting of board officers to band together to protest the project.

Brown told commissioners that a petition of area homeowners has been circulating to protest the Tiger Point Blvd entrance and “already” over 900 signatures had been gathered. “I don’t think Sacred heart wants all those people living around that golf course to be angry or upset with them, because most of those people are among the aging population and could really use that facility.”

He also said they were informed that this facility being built is not the only plans by Sacred Heart for property and facilities off Tiger Point Blvd. Since Sacred Heart has two more parcels and is already planing future facilities there.

Brown said, “We in no way want you to think we are not in favor of this new facility being built right there, at our back door. It could be very convenient for many of us. But we just don’t want that entrance and exit to be right there where we live. I already have to wait often at least two cycles of the traffic light at Tiger Point Blvd and Hwy. 98. If this happens, since there is no right turn lane off Tiger Point Blvd, there will be no telling how long we would need to wait to even get out onto the highway. There are serious safety issues at stake here.”