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Today's forecast: new homes by the thousands

Published August 15, 2003

Not that anyone needs more proof that the growth in south Hillsborough County is explosive, but here it is: Papers filed with the county in the past two weeks may pave the way for as many as 3,348 new residences in Ruskin, Riverview and Valrico.

Among them is a request by Beazer Homes to rezone 932 acres on the west side of U.S. 301 that would allow the company to build 1,660 single-family homes and 290 townhomes. Site plans also show a 175,000-square-foot commercial center at the corner of Big Bend Road and U.S. 301 and two new roads, one north-south and one east-west. Much of the parcel, bordered by Big Bend Road to the south, 19th Avenue to the north and Interstate 75 on the west, is owned by Frank Diehl, owner of Tomatoes of Ruskin Inc. It includes 278 acres of wetlands around Bullfrog Creek. (Petition 03-1334)

In Ruskin, Metro Development Corp. has asked to rezone 67 acres on two parcels just south of 19th Ave. NE that are separated by 12th Street NE. The company wants to build up to 400 homes on the sites, which are owned by the operators of Spencer Farms. (Petitions 03-1338 and 03-1339)

Metro Development also wants to build 364 waterfront townhomes on 40 acres off Palm River Road between Causeway Boulevard and Tampa's city limits. The parcel is currently zoned one home per 5 acres and 12 duplexes per acre. (Petition 03-1337)

Bay Hill Homes has asked to rezone 181 acres in Ruskin so it can build nearly 500 single-family homes. The property is west of U.S. 41, north of Shell Point Road, south of 19th Avenue NW and east of 14th Street NW. It is currently zoned for one home per 5 acres. The proposed development is 1 mile east of Bahia Beach Resort, which is approved for 831 homes and a half mile west of Mira Lago, which is approved for 625 homes. (Petition 03-1332)

Documents filed by M/I Homes ask to rezone 24 acres at the southwest corner of U.S. 301 and Pine Avenue in Riverview so it can build 52 duplexes and 30,000 square feet of retail space. The vacant parcel is currently zoned for one home per 5 acres and one home per acre. (Petition 03-1331)

And finally, Grant Homes has asked to rezone 10.55 acres at the southeast corner of S St. Cloud Avenue and Hidden Acres Drive in Valrico. The company wants to build 30 single-family homes on the land, which is currently zoned for one home per acre. (Petition 03-1328)

A zoning hearing master is scheduled to consider all the requests Oct. 27.

SUN CITY CENTER: It's not often that you see residents and developers fighting on the same side, but that's what happened Tuesday at a Hillsborough County Commission land use meeting.

Developer Stan Whitcomb went before commissioners to ask for a zoning change that would allow him to build an office park and freestanding restaurant on 12 acres at the northwest corner of U.S. 301 and State Road 674.

At issue was access to the property from U.S. 301. The developer and residents didn't want it; county planners did. Residents were concerned that cars would be able to cut through the office park from U.S. 301 to a Sun City Center neighborhood on Del Webb Boulevard where many residents get around on golf carts.

Commissioners asked the three parties to take 10 minutes out from the hearing, put their heads together and come up with a solution. They did.

There will be vehicle access from U.S. 301 to the eastern part of the property that holds the restaurant, and vehicle access to the offices on the western part from Del Webb Road, but cars won't be able to cut all the way through.

The commission approved the zoning request. (Petitions 03-0642, 03-0643 and 03-1178)

RUSKIN: The Hillsborough County Commission on Tuesday also approved a zoning change that would allow a community of 180 affordable homes on 24th Street S at 14th Avenue S.

Homes for Hillsborough, a nonprofit that helps low-income people buy houses, has built about 105 affordable homes since 1993. The organization will put the houses on 50 acres at the new location. Prices in the community, named Bayou Pass, will start at $80,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with 1,293 square feet of living space.

The community also will include a recreational area with a swimming pool, playground and clubhouse; a clock tower, commercial space and a day care center. The community will be open to households that earn 80 to 120 percent of the area's median income. Homes for Hillsborough's previous efforts have focused solely on those earning less than 80 percent of the median income, which in 2002 was less than $32,300 for a family of two and $40,400 for a family of four. (Petition 03-0525)

THONOTOSASSA: Commissioners on Tuesday also approved a zoning modification to the 150-acre Lazydays RV Supercenter site on Sligh Avenue at County Road 579. The change will allow Lazydays to add 19,615 square feet to the sales and service facility, nine spaces to its campground and 900 square feet to its community center. (Petition 03-0391)

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. All hearings before a zoning hearing master begin at 6 p.m. on Mondays or Tuesdays; commission meetings begin at 9 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Both are televised on government access channels. Land use hearing officer hearings, which are not televised, begin at 9 a.m. every third Friday. Basic information about each petition is available online at by petition date. For information, call 276-2058.

[Last modified August 14, 2003, 09:46:59]

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