Wiregrass hearing pushed to June 19

Published May 19, 2007

WESLEY CHAPEL - A closely watched hearing that could mean the final green light for Wiregrass Ranch, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will be pushed back to June 19.

Two weeks ago, Wiregrass attorney Joel Tew got into a heated fight with commissioners and county staff members over potential delays on the project.

He said Wiregrass had waited too long for its hearing and must have it sooner than the date of June 5 that the county had planned for the hearing.

He got his wish - commissioners voted to move the hearing to Tuesday.

But on May 11, county staffers e-mailed Tew to say they could not advertise for the hearing in time and so must push the hearing back to June 5.

But Tew will be on vacation.

"I just confided in Barbara that I will be in Europe on June 5 a trip my wife planned seven months ago, and even Wiregrass DRI is not worth [that] anguish, so I would look to June 19 instead, " Tew wrote in an e-mail to county staffers.

"Barbara" refers to Barbara Wilhite, the chief assistant county attorney.

DRI means development of regional impact, referring to a megadevelopment with multi-county impact. That's the final designation that Wiregrass must win for the development to proceed.

Tew did not respond to a message seeking comment Friday.

Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at cyap@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4613.