By Ron Wolfe

SouthShore residents are bracing for the onslaught of developers who are discovering the large tracts of undeveloped land in SouthShore.

SouthShore is the area bounded by Bloomingdale Avenue on the north; the Manatee County line on the south; Tampa Bay on the west; and just east of County Road 39 on the east. This represents 385 square miles or 36 percent of the 1,072 square miles of land in Hillsborough County. It includes the communities of Apollo Beach, Balm, Gibsonton, River-view, Ruskin, Sun City Center, Sundance and Wimauma. South-Shore has approximately 50,000 households and a population of approximately 120,000.

The inevitable growth coming to SouthShore is leaving many residents with mixed emotions. On the one hand, they are pleased with the prospect of substantial economic development, including higher paying jobs. Also, the arrival of new residents whose higher spending levels can stimulate our local business economy.

On the downside, SouthShore residents are concerned that uncontrolled and unmanaged growth will reduce the quality of life as we know it. The need for improved transportation, new roadways, increased water resources, preservation of greenways and more schools is apparent to all. How is this growth to be managed and controlled? Who has the responsibility to work to maintain the high quality of life in SouthShore? How can the average citizen get involved and make their voice heard? If you phone me today, Iíll take your number and refer you to a participating community leader in your area.

The SouthShore Area-Wide Plan was adopted by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the changes are now being incorporated into the Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan. It remains to be seen how these changes will impact the individual community plans. The community plans for Riverview and Ruskin are now under way.

Last week, I received a phone call from a Wimauma resident complaining about the owner placing four used mobile homes on a one acre lot and how this will further deteriorate the neighbor-hood. They wondered how this could happen and what could be done about it.

While Iím continuing with my research on this particular piece of property, I proceeded to explain the zoning and rezoning process to this caller and found they were unfamiliar with the process of rezoning and how their participation in the Hillsborough County rezoning process will help to preserve the quality of neighborhoods throughout their community.

Next week I plan to outline the process of rezoning to develop a better understanding among SouthShore citizens of The Hillsborough County Land Development Code, with emphasis on how you can participate in rezoning issues. I may also provide some background and an update on the rezoning that took place in Wimauma.

Send letters to:
THE VOICE of SouthShore, P.O. Box 476, Ruskin, FL 33575 or e-mail: or call: 813-273-8976

 Observer News Front Page