In “The Odd Couple” movie, a woman asks Felix Unger what he does for a living. Felix replies that he writes for CBS News.
A writer! She’s impressed and asks, Where do you get your ideas?
Felix looks at her. “From the…news.”
I’ve always loved that exchange and actually spent a frustrating 40 minutes Thursday night unsuccessfully looking for the exact quote (I have little doubt a Just Wright Citrus reader will find it).
I use it today to make a point. Just where do these daily blog ideas come from?
Some places are obvious: The news, as Felix knows, is the best source. For me, that’s government news, political news, community news. Anything that organically takes place in Citrus County is fair game for a blog.
Also, I speak with a lot of newsmakers. Elected and non-elected alike. Those in government and others who dabble in it. I was on the phone with a school board member Thursday who gave me a really solid blog idea. I try to keep in touch with decision-makers.
There’s a lot of observation with this blog business. I’m on the road plenty, driving through neighborhoods and communities just to see how everyone’s doing. Semi-retirement affords me time to do that and I take advantage of it. Plenty of blog ideas originate from “what the heck is that?” moments.
But the best way, the blogs that bring deep satisfaction, are the ones that come from Just Wright Citrus readers.
Nearly every day someone is messaging me with a tip or question. Truthfully, many of these never see the light of day. Either they require time I can’t set aside, or they go down a path I prefer to no longer traverse. My blog is one topic a day so I can be picky.
But I do my best to answer questions if I can.
Many are related to development and growth. The county and Chronicle both have done a good job alerting us when something big is happening so it’s easy to trace most of that.
Some questions, though, bring surprising results.
The other day, a reader asked about land being cleared on C.R. 486 at Annapolis in Citrus Hills. I said I didn’t know but would find out. Meanwhile, I drove by and grabbed a photo.
Joanna Coutu, the most efficient land development director we’ve ever had and the perfect person right now in that job, had sent me info about something totally unrelated.
I almost didn’t ask her about the 486 land and I’ll tell you why: Joanna, like all the county higher-ups, are busier than crazy and I don’t want to waste her time.
But I asked anyway. And you’ll never guess what’s going in there:
(Drum roll please)
The very thing that Citrus County commissioners have MADE IT CLEAR they don’t want anywhere near a major county highway has landed a spot in the very place.
And not just any old spot. Separated by only a corner lot from the Art League of Citrus County. While there are self-storage units on C.R. 486, none this close to Citrus Hills. Until now.
Without getting too deep, the property owner received a conditional use permit in February from the Planning and Development Commission. The significance is that, unlike zoning cases, the PDC has the final say on these conditional use permits.
I hope Joanna forgives me if I screw this next part up (and will be vague on purpose). Sometime after February the county adopted stronger regulations over self-storage projects. The big thing is the new ones now need County Commission approval.
I don’t know how much of that really interests you, but it’s an example of what we can all learn when readers ask questions. I’m not chasing down everything, but if it interests me it probably interests a few of you so, please, pass it on.
(Facebook messenger is a convenient way; or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As per my practice, everyone stays anonymous in the blog unless we mutually agree otherwise. And that is extremely rare.)
Thanks to the observant reader who asked about the C.R. 486 property. She did us all a huge favor.
I’m telling ya…the more we learn, observe and discuss what we’re seeing, the better chance that we’re going to figure out this Citrus County transition.
I am so impressed with the depth of interest displayed by Just Wright Citrus readers. Keep it coming folks.
Knowledge is power. As if I need to remind you.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.