By Ron Wolfe

There was another good turnout of people at the Ruskin Community Plan Working Committee meeting held at the Ruskin Neighborhood Service Center June 16.

Much to our delight, Commissioner Kathy Castor attended, gave some opening remarks and stayed for the entire meeting.

The meeting began by a review of the roles and responsibilities of the Ruskin Community Plan Working Committee, presented by John Healy, project manager. He followed with a Community Issue Report summarizing and ranking nine citizen concerns that were expressed at the May 6, initial meeting.

The top concern voiced by citizens was Community Improvement, followed by Economic Development, Transportation, Environmental, Rate and Pattern of Development, Cultural/Historical Heritage, Infrastructure, Social Needs and Schools.

The meeting went smoothly until we got to the Ruskin boundary discussion. Once again, many in attendance disagreed with the Ruskin boundaries as depicted on the map titled, "Ruskin Conceptual Boundary." Based upon this input, Healy agreed to present additional options at the next monthly meeting, scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 21 at the same location.

Once the geographic boundaries of Ruskin are defined, it is very important that each Ruskin resident, especially stakeholders who own property, participate in this community planning initiative.

Many wanted to expand the Ruskin boundaries to include areas outside the Urban Service Area. They felt these areas were sensitive, under heavy pressure for development and need to be protected. Two persons suggested that the Ruskin southern boundary extend to the Manatee County line.

In order to ally the fears of SouthShore citizens and to familiarize them with the safeguards now in place throughout Hillsborough County, it may be helpful for the planning committee to spend some time reviewing with citizens the Hillsborough County consolidated Ordinance called the Land Development Code (LDC) and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). The LDC deals with building codes, regulates the zoning, land development and design of commercial and residential development throughout the county. The CLUP sets the overall land uses for every parcel of property in Hillsborough County and uses zoning as a land use control tool to protect property owners from undesirable and incompatible land uses.

Of particular interest to me is how do these safeguards impact Ruskin and the area of SouthShore. What specific changes have been made and will be reflected in the revised Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan as a result of the efforts of the SouthShore Area-wide Planning Committee. How will this influence future growth and development in SouthShore?

Finally, it is great to see the large turnout and active participation from the citizens who have attended these first two meetings. Hopefully, the good attendance and participation will continue.

Send letters to:

THE VOICE of SouthShore, P.O. Box 476, Ruskin, FL 33575 or e-mail: Ron@thearjaygroup.com or call: 813-273-8976.

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