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FishHawk takes the high road

© St. Petersburg Times
published August 23, 2002

DON'T HATE THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE DEVELOPERS: Environmentalists like to wag their fingers at developers, often with good cause. But sometimes, home builders take steps to fight their reps as tree-killers and water hogs.

Case in point: FishHawk Ranch. The 4,400-acre master-planned community has earned an award from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's Future of the Region program for environmental sensitivity.

While building a roadway, developer Newland Communities took extra precautions to preserve environmentally sensitive plants and trees, while enhancing a 100-foot buffer along the roadway.

Traffic lanes were directed around a large section of oaks, creating a heavily treed median, and many other live oaks were transplanted during construction of the 2.2-mile road instead of being destroyed. All plant species along Osprey Ridge Drive are native to the area and require little irrigation.

The Future of the Region awards recognize notable achievements in resource planning and management. The program weighs a project's contributions to quality of life and the environment, as well as innovation and cost effectiveness.

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council was established in 1962 to coordinate planning among local governments for future growth.

FIRST FAMILY: No, it's not the Bushes, George or Jeb. It's Jennifer Crocker and Todd Tanck, first occupants of a new home at Waterchase, Taylor Woodrow's luxury community on Race Track Road in northwest Tampa.

"It's strange because at night it's really quiet and there are no cars driving around," says Crocker.

She and her fiancee are first-time homebuyers.

Waterchase will hold its official grand opening weekend Sept. 21-22, which will include the unveiling of model homes, a 6,400-square-foot reception center, two community swimming pools, four lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, a tot lot and play field.

Taylor Woodrow has been developing and building communities and luxury homes in North America for more than 65 years.

Headquartered in Sarasota, current operations include more than 50 active developments throughout Florida, California, Texas and Ontario, Canada.

The company is a subsidiary of London-based Taylor Woodrow, a publicly traded real estate group founded in 1921.

-- 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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