Harvest Creek draws concern
By ANDREW MEACHAM
Published October 21, 2005
PROGRESS VILLAGE - A proposed development that would take up nearly a square mile has put developers and residents at odds. Both sides lined up before the zoning hearing master Monday to make their cases for or against a project called Harvest Creek.
The project contains homes, office space, and retail and industrial businesses on the northeast and southeast corners of Progress Boulevard and Falkenburg Road.
Centex Homes is asking for a zoning change, from agricultural use to a planned development for 579 acres bordered on the east by Interstate 75, with a southern sliver extending as far west as 78th Street.
Teresa Montalvo of the county's planning and growth management department said she considered the subdivision's proximity to the interstate as a selling point. The county's comprehensive plan recommends high-density, mixed-use development along the I-75 corridor, Montalvo said, calling the site an "ideal location" for attracting both residents and employers.
Besides up to 2,750 apartments, condos and homes, the proposal makes room for 770,000 square feet of industrial space, 125,000 square feet of commercial space, and 60,000 square feet of office space.
Susan Murphy, a land planner representing Centex, said one developer, rather than several, would suit the area best. A single developer could donate space to the county to build a school, she said.
Centex has already agreed to dedicate at least 10 acres for school space, probably an elementary school, to alleviate overcrowding that will be made worse by new residents.
The Hillsborough County School Board withdrew its objection to the site plan after that assurance.
Chief facilities officer Cathy Valdes told the hearing master that elementary and middle schools in the area are already overcrowded, and that the School Board lacks money to build another school, even with the dedicated land.
Harvest Creek has also encountered objections from the county's economic development department over the quality of jobs the development will bring, and from the parks, recreation and conservation department, which has asked for 18 acres to be set aside as park land.
Presidents of the Progress Village and Greater Palm River civic associations voiced opposition to the zoning hearing master, citing increased traffic to the area.
Antonia Singleton, whose two children attend Progress Village Middle School, submitted photographs she had taken of birds and tortoises surrounding the Delaney Creek watershed, a former borrow pit.
The zoning hearing master will issue a recommendation within 15 days. Then, the County Commission will hear the rezoning request on Dec. 13. (PETITION 05-1253)
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Norman and Marjorie Tobiason have asked the zoning hearing master to rezone 3 acres north of Lumsden Road, just east of Parsons Avenue, from residential to professional office use. The area between Lumsden and Brandon boulevards contains both office and residential space. The parcel the Tobiasons want rezoned borders a vacant lot zoned for office space on the north end and residential lots to the south.
David Morgan, who owns the adjacent office property, supports the Tobiasons' request, arguing that the block has become too commercialized to support people living there.
Irvin Johnson, who has lived next to the property on Cheyenne Drive for 46 years, has objected to the request, saying that too much traffic and unbridled development will hurt the area. (PETITION 05-2031)
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Beef O'Brady's is finishing an expansion of its restaurant at 16773 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia. The establishment now offers another seven booths, another large television, plus an expanded kitchen. Because Beef O'Brady's serves beer and wine, the restaurant needed special permission, or "wet zoning," beyond ordinary building permits in order to make changes.
The county granted the restaurant's request, and workers last week were expected to bolt the last new television sets into place. (PETITION 05-2204)
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 http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/pgm/zoning For information, call 276-5920.
- Andrew Meacham can be reached at 813 661-2431, or online at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Last modified October 20, 2005, 10:29:05]
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