A hearing master recommends denial after 15 people speak against the rezoning. Now it's up to commissioners.
By KEVIN GRAHAM
Published November 11, 2005
TEMPLE TERRACE - A Hillsborough County hearing master has recommended denial of a rezoning request to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter just outside Temple Terrace's jurisdiction, calling it "inconsistent with the established residential character of the area."
Wal-Mart will take its case to a higher power.
"Wal-Mart disagrees with the zoning hearing master's recommendation and we look forward to presenting our case before the Hillsborough County Commission," said Eric Brewer, community affairs manager for Wal-Mart.
Representatives of the retail giant and Temple Terrace residents made their cases before the hearing master at an Oct. 17 meeting that lasted past midnight. The recommendation for denial reports that only four members of the general public spoke that night in support of Wal-Mart, and 15 spoke against it.
"The maintaining of the existing zoning will best serve to protect and preserve the established residential character of the area and the overall general welfare, safety and public interest of the community," land use hearing officer Martin Smith Jr. wrote in his report.
Wal-Mart wants to build a 216,000-square-foot supercenter on 34.37 acres that front both Temple Terrace Highway and Harney Road, west of U.S. 301. Brewer said Wal-Mart has gone out of its way to make the supercenter fit in with Temple Terrace, designing the store's facade to match the Mediterranean style of the city's buildings.
While the property Wal-Mart wants rezoned sits in the county, the store would receive its water and sewer services from Temple Terrace. Residents have argued the supercenter would strain the city's services, like police and fire rescue response times, and bring unwanted traffic to their roads.
In his recommendation to deny, Smith also said the proposed rezoning would be inconsistent with policies and standards of the Future of Hillsborough Comprehensive plan, which outlines the compatibility of land uses and the arrangement and locations of retail commercial uses.
Hillsborough County commissioners will make the final decision on the rezoning request at a Dec. 13 meeting.