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Raintree Residents Divided on Closing Soaring Avenue Entrance

Two Raintree residents surveyed their neighbors on their preferences for a full closing, partial closing or no closing of Soaring Avenue.

Walt Williams lives near the Soaring Avenue entrance into the Raintree neighborhood and has endured multiple home invasions.

In a conversation with Mayor Joe Affronti about possibly closing the entrance, he was referred to Mike Holtcamp. Holtcamp lived for many years near the Soaring entrance in Raintree Terrace but some years ago moved his family to Raintree Oaks. When he lived near the Soaring entrance, he had approached city officials about closing the entrance.

Homes in the Raintree community were built by Lennar Homes. Raintree is a mix of single-family homes and condominiums. The homes are located within two areas, Raintree Terrace and Raintree Oaks. The condos are known as Raintree Manor.

“A minority of our residents, mostly those who live away from that entrance in the cul-de-sacs, are happy with the status quo, but when we lived on Grape Fern, I was definitely a proponent of closing the Soaring Avenue entrance,” Holtcamp said.

Williams and Holtcamp spent several weeks knocking on doors, surveying residents about whether they would like to see a full or partial closure of the Soaring Avenue entrance, or if they would rather leave it as it is.

Both men reported that of the 130 people they talked with, 90 percent voted for either partial or full closure. Survey results include 58 percent of the houses in Raintree Terrace and 73 percent of the houses in Raintree Oaks.

Raintree Terrace resident Carolyn Hines-Cobb says she’s in favor of closure, but only if residents can go in and out via a private gate with a key-code pad.

“What do we do when there is an accident at the Fowler entrance? It happens,” she said. “I try to avoid driving on Fowler when I can.”

Holtcamp said that some years ago when he explored the issue, one of the problems had to do with Raintree Boulevard. Lennar Homes had never conveyed the rights to Raintree Boulevard to the city. City officials objected to closing the only public access to the neighborhood—the Soaring Avenue entrance.

Recently, the Raintree Lakes Property Association was active in getting ownership of Raintree Boulevard changed to the city.

“Our next step is to schedule a time to formally present the results of the survey to the City Council,” Holtcamp said.

Williams has spoken to Affronti and to Kathy Pack about getting the Soaring entrance closure on the City Council agenda.

“We’re hoping to get the survey results in front of the City Council by the end of the year,” Williams said.

Holly Schwarzmann November 30, 2011 at 03:13 PM
That is true. If someone really wants to break in, they are going to find a way regardless. I think it might just make me feel safer for the time being until I can afford to relocate.
Barb Tuttle November 30, 2011 at 05:41 PM
I spoke to the TT policeman in charge of Crime Watch and he said that unless a 6 or 7 foot fence were put up, it would do little to deter criminals. Also, if there's a big storm and Raintree Blvd is blocked, let's hope that no one has an emergency because an ambulance and/or fire truck would not be able to get into Raintree Oaks or Raintree Terrace.
Grant Rimbey November 30, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Perhaps a solution might be to close the Soaring Avenue entrance with an 8' tall sliding picketed gate that would only be used by vehicles in case of emergency. For example, "Ameristar" http://www.ameristarfence.com/other/TransportCantGates has several models that would fit the bill, they use this fence/gate at VA Tampa.
Barb Tuttle December 01, 2011 at 05:07 AM
According to the TT policeman I spoke to, from 10-1-10 to 10-1-11, there were exactly 2 reported crimes in Raintree Oaks - bicycles were stolen out of 2 garages because the owners left the garage doors open. I would like to know what the statistics are for Raintree Terrace. Also, in regard to the door to door survey that was taken, are we assuming that if one person's opinion was obtained that the spouse therefore agreed? (No one spoke to me; I would oppose blocking off Soaring.)
Elizabeth A. Leib December 01, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Hi Barb - yes, although Mike and Walt worked over several weekends visiting homes multiple times to survey Raintree residents, not every person in every house was available. Generally, its my understanding that the break-ins in Raintree Terrace are concentrated in the area of the Soaring entrance. We've lived here 17 years and never had a break-in. There was a recent break-in to a home at the end of Rain Forest Street, so we not living near the Soaring entrance are not immune from the problem. Possibly Raintree Oaks is more protected just based on how far you are from that entrance.

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