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Whatever Happened About…

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…Apollo Beach Rezoning

Public hearing of a hotly contested application to rezone the former AB Rescue Squad property allowing its commercial development has been moved to Monday, October 18. The petitioner, Clearwater consultant Todd Pressman, seeking to rezone about two acres on the south side of Miller Mac Road adjacent the Tampa Electric Company power station, has been given a requested continuance from the former September 20 hearing date, according to Isabelle Albert, senior planner in Hillsborough’s Planning and Growth Management Department (P&GM). County records show Pressman represents Sam Reiber who, in turn, holds the property in trust.

Southshore Falls homeowner and outspoken opponent Bruce Davis said this week that following a recent community meeting several dozen objecting area residents plan to attend the hearing in Tampa whenever it is conducted. Homeowners living around the proposed professional office complex object to the commercial development as out of place centered in residential neighborhoods, creating hazardous traffic congestion on the two-lane Miller Mac roadway, leading to more vehicle accidents at the strained Miller Mac-U.S. 41 intersection , plus threatening both wetlands and wildlife habitat, when there’s a glut of similar commercial development standing vacant in the area.

In addition, Davis said residents resent the quiet rezoning of a half acre parcel of the site in July without what they consider proper notice and that county records obscure the fact developer of the proposed office complex is Leroy Gonzalez, owner of currently vacant strip center space in Apollo Beach.

…South Coast Trail

All six segments of the proposed linear greenway stretching from South Ruskin to Tampa have been restored to the county level to-do list of long range transportation projects.

As transportation authorities at The Planning Commission and in its Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) scrambled in recent months to match projects with funding likely to be available in the next 25 years, the bike way and pedestrian trail that has been promised for 15 years was dropped from the projects roster. However, numerous organizations including the SouthShore Round Table composed of community representatives from across the South County rallied in support of the trail.

In its August meeting, the MPO leadership agreed to place the entire greenway trail on its 2035 transportation roster and elevated it to the top 20 percent of projects. The first three sections of the trail design run the length of Southshore generally parallel with the eastern shore of Tampa Bay.

…Wimauma Project     

Spencer Farms, a proposed 1,500-unit residential development north of S.R. 674, east of Westlake Drive, has been removed from the local redevelopment picture – at least for the present. The project aiming to put rooftops on 750 former commercial tomato producing acres of the Spencer Farms operation is one of two such planned developments proposed across the northern edge of the community. A smaller housing redevelopment of about 1,010 dwellings on 436 acres and dubbed Creek Preserve received county approvals over local objections last Spring.

The Spencer Farms housing project was dropped from the county level consideration process in late August, according to Brian Grady, a planning manager in P&GM. The proposal also had prompted strenuous objections from area activists who asserted its location in a rural area represented urban sprawl at its worst and the site adjacent to the Bullfrog Creek wetlands as well as to the Balm Scrub nature preserve threatened both protected wildlife and habitat. In addition, opponents raised the issues of traffic congestion on already failed roadways and the lack of available public services such as potable water and sanitary sewers.

The project could be re-submitted for consideration at a later date.

Copyright 2010 Melody Jameson

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