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A whole lot of building going on

© St. Petersburg Times
published May 3, 2002

TOP OF THE HEAP: So far this year, 1,660 building permits for single-family homes have been approved for Hillsborough County, reports the Florida Home Builders Association. That's more than in any other county in Florida. The next closest is Orange County, with 1,425 building permits, followed by Broward County with 1,291 permits.

Florida leads the nation in the number of building permits issued this year, with 21,710 permits issued in January and February. That's up from 17,340 for the same period last year.

So where does that put Hillsborough County? No. 1 in the No. 1 state.

SHE'S A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY: Dee Layne has lived in Lutz for nearly 25 years, and she's doing all she can to preserve the rural feel of her community in the face of rapid growth. As president of the Lutz Civic Association for the past five years, she has helped coordinate the development of the Lutz Community Plan, which went into effect in Jan. 2001.

The plan calls for no perimeter walls around communities, lots of at least 1 acre, a minimum number of sidewalks and streetlights and a variety of setbacks. The goal is to keep plenty of open spaces, avoid the cookie-cutter feel of so many suburban communities and "keep our night sky," Layne says.

Layne, a candidate for Hillsborough County Commission, is hoping the county will amend the land development code to implement the Lutz Community Plan. Much of the current county code contradicts elements of the Lutz plan. A public hearing before the Hillsborough County Commission is scheduled for June 12 at 6 p.m. A second hearing is scheduled for July.

In the meantime, Layne is delighted that such developers as Lennar Corp. and Woodshed Development Corp. are planning communities in Lutz that follow the guidelines of the Lutz Community Plan.

"The development community is trying to work within our vision," Layne says.

- Write to Janet Zink in care of the St. Petersburg Times at 1000 N. Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602; or by e-mail,

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