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Borrow pit foes say they're not being heard at hearings

Work could bring 100 trucks to residential streets daily.

By RODNEY THRASH, Times Staff Writer
Published February 1, 2008



Opponents of a proposed borrow pit in northwest Hillsborough want a third hearing on the matter after the second one went the way of the first.

"I ask that you remand the matter back to staff for rescheduling ...," said Barbara Dowling, recording secretary of the Keystone Civic Association.

After the initial, four-hour hearing on Nov. 16, opponents said they didn't have enough time to present their arguments because county officials spent much of the hearing addressing last-minute revisions to the application. On Dec. 11, hearing officer Harold Youmans agreed and, in a seven-page ruling, asked the staff to schedule another hearing.

"Recommended conditions ... will be complete and distributed so as to allow at least six calendar days for analysis and review by any of the participants, including any opposition," Youmans wrote.

Instead, representatives for applicant Stephen Dibbs again submitted revisions to the application just hours before the second hearing on Jan. 25, which was two hours longer than the first.

"I feel I wasted four hours on the 16th," said Jerry Rosen a member of the Lutz-Lake Fern Community Coalition steering committee. "I did not want to waste another four hours, which I feel I have. I'm outraged at this."

Denise Layne, land use liaison for the Lutz Civic Association, said she is more than outraged.

"How much more absurd can this process get?" she asked.

"We're all going across the street," she said, a reference to a potential suit against the county.

If Dibbs' application is approved, he would be allowed to dig 2.5-million cubic yards of dirt for road and construction projects from 50 acres of Lutz-Lake Fern Road over a 10-year period.

The excavation has the potential to bring up to 100 trucks per day through residential streets.

Rodney Thrash can be reached at 813 269-5303 or rthrash@sptimes.com.

[Last modified January 31, 2008, 08:34:54]

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