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New yards won't hog so much

By JANET ZINK
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 2, 2002


WASTE NOT, WANT NOT: In keeping with a state mandate, local governments are adopting new irrigation regulations for residential construction that conserve water.

Hillsborough's new rules take effect Oct. 1. That makes Norm Davis, Hillsborough's water conservation manager, happy. He says he was eager to get the regulations in place before the spring dry season.

The changes embrace principles of xeriscaping by requiring low-volume systems, and separate irrigation zones for grassy areas and plant beds. A 3-inch layer of mulch must be installed around plant beds and individual trees in turf areas, and irrigation systems must avoid spraying water onto sidewalks or streets. Areas less than 4 feet wide can be watered only with micro-irrigation, such as soaker hoses.

Similar regulations took effect April 1 for new residential construction in the city of Tampa.

The county and city stopped short of specifying plant species with low water needs, something Sarasota did, Davis said.

"We don't want to train inspectors to be horticulturists," he said. "That's really asking a lot of an inspector."

But the Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension Service maintains list of plant species that can live with limited watering.

EARLY BIRDS GET TO RESERVE: Construction won't begin on Parkside of One Bayshore until January, but 53 of the 80 units in the 17-story condominium tower have been reserved. They were all spoken for last weekend.

Prices range from $327,000 to $656,000.

Smith and Associates had compiled a list of interested buyers since November. They were invited Saturday to stake their claims; the reservations list was opened to the public the next day. One Bayshore, at Bayshore Boulevard and Platt Street, will consist of the high-rise, an apartment complex and 14 townhouses.

BIG PLACE, BIG SALES: FishHawk Ranch has had a good year. New-home sales at the 4,400-acre master-planned community in southern Hillsborough County increased 44 percent, to more than $50-million, during the first half of this year.

Residential builders at FishHawk Ranch sold 260 new homes from Jan. 1 to June 30, says Pam Parisi, marketing manager for FishHawk Ranch. Last year's first half produced 185 new-home sales, and nearly $35-million in revenue.

Based on the number of homes, FishHawk Ranch is the largest master-planned community being developed in the Tampa Bay area, according to Rose Residential Reports, which tracks new-home sales in the local market. The community will have nearly 7,500 residences when it sells out.

About 1,500 acres -- more than a third of its total -- are set aside for nature preserves, open space and recreation.

-- 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, janet.zink@gte.net.

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