Greener plans for golf course

The new owner of Pebble Creek says he'll renovate the club and put in miniature golf to attract younger players.

Published November 6, 2005

The following applications are being reviewed by a Hillsborough County land use officer:

NEW TAMPA - Pebble Creek Golf Club will swing into a new era now that ownership has changed hands.

Bill Place, owner of Ace Golf centers in Carrollwood, Brandon and Riverview, has purchased the course from its former owner, Meadowbrook Golf. Place has big plans for the course, which he said is in need of repairs.

Place plans to spend about $1-million - money he got from the sale of Pebble Creek's 7-acre driving range - to overhaul the greens, tees, parking lot and clubhouse. Place sold the 7 acres to a developer who plans to build townhomes on the site.

Place also wants to attract younger golfers with a miniature golf course. It's something the area could use, he said.

"Out in New Tampa, entertainment-wise, there's very little for kids and families besides going to movies," he said.

The minigolf idea has been a point of contention with some Pebble Creek residents, he said.

"People are saying, "You're going to take out all the trees and you're going to put in dinosaurs and windmills,' and that's just not what we're about," he said.

The minigolf course, going in near the entrance to the community, will have attractive tropical landscaping, he said, and the mature trees will stay put as a visual buffer.

Construction won't start until the spring, when conditions are best for laying down new greens. Place expects the course to be completely remodeled a few months after that. The minigolf course will come later, as the site's zoning needs to be modified. The public golf course will remain open through construction.

Place said despite some complaints, most Pebble Creek homeowners are optimistic about the changes.

"The biggest reaction is everyone is very welcoming and very glad to see that we're going to put a lot of money into it," he said. "It's only going to improve their property values."

- Stephanie Hayes can be reached at 813 269-5303 or shayes@sptimes.com

h0987$temp$ $STPT$ Paper:+ Date: 11/06/05+ Page: + Section: NORTH OF TAMPA+ Byline: JEREMY HAYES+ Headline: New development could boost boom+

NEW TAMPA: The rapidly developing New Tampa area may soon have another growth spurt.

Almost 215 acres owned by Busch Junction Enterprises and John-Mary Enterprises just southwest of County Line Road and Bruce B. Downs may soon be developed for several uses.

If the proposed planned development, Trout Creek Preserves, is approved, the property will be divided into four distinct parcels of land.

The first, just south of the county line, would hold 242 single-family townhomes and condominiums. The second parcel would hold up to 350 detached, single-family houses, which would range from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet each. A nearly 92,000-square-foot office complex would fill the third spot, while the fourth would be set aside for commercial and retail uses. (Petition 06-0086)

CARROLLWOOD: The thumping whir of helicopter rotors may soon sound in the air above Carrollwood.

Tony and Debbie Ferguson own almost 12 acres of land at 15439 Lake Magdalene Blvd. They are trying to get the board's approval to build a Helistop on the land, and to convert an old storage building into a hangar. The proposed site lies between Lake Magdalene and Lake Platt. (Petition 06-0112)

UNIVERSITY AREA: A menu change might soon be happening in the University area.

Sonic Drive-In Restaurant is asking the board the reduce the setback by the 15 feet needed to convert the building at 2526 Bearss Avenue from Pizza Hut, its former tenant, into a new 1950s-style drive-in. The change in the setback is needed in order to build a canopy over the restaurant's parking spaces, in order to provide shelter from Florida's sun and rain while its patrons eat.

The company says that the canopy will not only offer protection from the elements for its patrons, but will offer cover for servers and will also help protect the food, which is served on trays that attach to car windows. (Petition 06-0142) TOWN 'N COUNTRY: Vincent A. Marchetti, Foley and Lardner LLC, wants to rezone the land on the northeast corner of Waters Avenue and Wilsky Boulevard into a planned development. If approved, the development would set aside slightly more than 2 acres of the 121/2-acre-plot for commercial uses, while a 137-unit single-family residential development would occupy the remainder. (Petition 06-0127)

ODESSA: Staff and patrons of the Big Cat Wildlife Sanctuary, 12802 Easy Street, want some more room to roam.

The sanctuary is trying to convert almost 3 acres of adjacent land it owns into six homes and additional parking spaces. The homes would most likely be used to house several of the facility's workers, but other uses are still a possibility. They would be conventional homes, mobile homes or a mixture of the two.

The current zoning would only allow them to build two homes (Petition 06-0115) The following recommendations were made by Hillsborough County land use staff:

UNIVERSITY AREA: Cars Unlimited is trying to work in its limited space, but needs to build a new garage.

Allan Stathas, the owner, wants to build a new 2,100-square-foot metal garage on the business' acre of property, 203 W Fletcher Ave, which currently houses a used-car lot. The garage would be used to detail sold cars and to store tires that are currently scattered outside.

Staff recommended that Stathas be allowed to build on the site, because the retention pond in the northeast corner of the property would interfere with placing the garage elsewhere. (Petition 05-2081)

UNIVERSITY AREA: Dorcas Palmer wants to modify her property, a small residence at 1907 139th St. in the University area, into an 18-bed assisted living facility for the homeless.

Staff found the application acceptable, providing Palmer ensures that the property is adequately fenced to provide screening.

Neighbors, on the other hand, have voiced several complaints, including the possibility of appropriately housing and caring for 18 individuals in a house that is only slightly more than a half-acre. Also, neighbors are worried about the impact that housing so many homeless, who they say frequently have drug-and-alcohol problems, would have on crime and vandalism in the area. (Petition 05-1005)

- Jeremy Hayes can be reached at 813 269-5302, or via e-mail at jchayes@sptimes.com