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Incompatibility doomed these projects

By BRIDGET HALL GRUMET, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 13, 2002

Is compatibility -- or the lack of it -- a sufficient reason for voting down a project? The county has cited it before:

A request to rezone 2.2 acres for a 260-foot-tall cell phone tower behind the Blind Americans' Wishing Well Center was unanimously rejected in December, in part because county commissioners said the tower would be a bad fit with the nearby Hernando neighborhood. County planners noted that the Comprehensive Plan discourages land-use changes that would be incompatible with their surroundings.

Plans for 120 apartments and a retail strip in Beverly Hills fell one vote short of approval in July, with commissioners Gary Bartell and Vicki Phillips saying the three-story apartments would be incompatible with nearby homes. Commissioners approved a compromise: Randum Corp. could build a 12,800-square-foot row of shops, but not the proposed apartments, at County Road 491 and Regina Boulevard.

A permit to turn a Citrus Hills house into a "group home" for the Jesus Is! Ministries II was shot down 5-0 by the county's Planning and Development Review Board in April. Frank Bower was opening his home to up to 14 guests at a time, including children whose parents were at live-in treatment programs and others who needed a place to stay. "It's just not compatible with the surrounding area," planning board chairman Ray Hughes said.

A proposed construction and demolition debris landfill just north of Sugarmill Woods was rejected by the planning board in May 1999. Ray Stevenson's property was zoned for agriculture use, and at the time county rules allowed such landfills on agricultural land if the planning board approved. But at the end of a contentious six-hour hearing, planning board member Miles Blodgett noted: "If the word "incompatible' ever came up, it's here."

A rezoning request for another Stevenson project, a proposed sand pit near the Hill N' Dale rural neighborhood at State Road 200 and CR 491, was unanimously rejected by the County Commission in May 1998. "I have a problem with the compatibility on this project and always have," said Brad Thorpe, a county commissioner at the time.

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