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Proposal calls for homes and townhomes

A plan for apartments east of Livingston Avenue failed. Neighbors like the new plan better but would like houses only.

By EVE LEBERSON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 3, 2002

LUTZ -- To the north are forests and shady, large-lot neighborhoods. To the south are hundreds of apartments.

The question Tuesday night will be: What belongs in between?

Two years ago, owners of 40 acres east of Livingston Avenue proposed 360 student apartments. But that foundered as the apartment market softened, the developer balked and neighbors massed in opposition.

On Tuesday, a new, milder proposal is to be argued before a zoning hearing master. It calls for 110 townhouses closest to Livingston and 96 houses to the east of those.

Neighbors have said the newer proposal is better than the old one, but they think the project should be houses only.

"We strongly feel that the development with the townhouses and the 40-foot lots is just not appropriate," said one of the neighborhood leaders, Carl Brown.

But the county planners disagree.

"The requested rezoning would be comparable with the mixture of residential zoning and development in the general area," wrote the county Planning Commission's Steve Griffin. (Petition 02-0063).

UNIVERSITY NORTH: Scime for Permits Inc. is asking for a rezoning that would allow the continued operation of a 12-bed residential home for emotionally disturbed patients. The 4,200-square-foot facility now occupies the half-acre site on 131st Avenue west of Florida Avenue. County staff are not supporting the request. A zoning hearing master is scheduled to hear the petition Monday. (Petition 01-01216)

CITRUS PARK: First Citrus Bank is seeking a zoning hearing master's endorsement for plans to develop a 4,000-square-foot office building next to its existing bank at the corner of Gunn Highway and Sheldon Road. According to the petition, the freestanding facility would be used for bank operation services by employees only. The petition is scheduled to be heard Monday. County staff and the Planning Commission approve of the project. (Petition 02-0132)

The following petitions were heard by county commissioners Tuesday:

LUTZ: The Diocese of St. Petersburg won county approval to develop a religious retreat on 200 acres off Van Dyke Road.

The project will include a 250-seat chapel, 21,000-square-foot spiritual center, 7,000-square-foot youth center, 18 residential cottages, nature trails, outdoor pavilion, swimming pool and fitness facility.

County staff and a zoning hearing master had approved of the project. (Petition 01-1520)

TOWN 'N COUNTRY: Commissioners approved a rezoning that will allow manufacturing on 1.4 acres at the southwest corner of Linebaugh Avenue and Anderson Road. Sanjay Agarwal plans to operate, manufacture and sell marble and granite counter tops. County staffers and a zoning hearing master had endorsed the rezoning. (Petition 02-0042)

CARROLLWOOD: Burcaw & Associates won the county's approval for a 26-home subdivision on 10.38 acres at the end of Pine Bay Drive. County staff, the Planning Commission and a zoning hearing master have recommended approval of the project. (Petition 02-0046)

When and where

Hearings of county zoning hearing masters and land use hearing officers, and land use meetings of the County Commission, are held on the second floor of the County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd. Zoning hearings begin at 6 p.m., and commission meetings begin at 9 a.m. Both are televised on government access channels. Land use hearing officer hearings, which are not televised, begin at 9 a.m. For information, call (813) 272-5920.

- Times staff writer Bill Coats contributed to this column.

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