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Numerous restrictions come with dirt pit okay

keystone Work hours and truck travel are limited at the 54-acre Dibbs excavation site.

By Bill Coats, Times Staff Writer
Published February 22, 2008


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The bad news, for residents along Lutz-Lake Fern Road who rallied against a big dirt pit: the pit was approved last week. All it needs now is a batch of construction and environmental permits.

The good news is when, and where, the trucks can rumble. A web of conditions may restrict them to the Suncoast Parkway and 1,000 feet of Lutz-Lake Fern between the Suncoast and the pit property. And in that case, the trucks won't roll before a Suncoast interchange opens in summer of next year.

The trucks will travel to and from a 54-acre excavation planned by developer Stephen Dibbs just west of the Suncoast and south of the Hillsborough-Pasco county line. Once the digging starts, it can continue for 10 years. Trucks could haul away up to 2.5-million cubic yards of dirt, a daily average of 56 loads.

But "daily" could vary hugely.

In a decision by Harold Youmans, a Hillsborough County land use hearing officer, the excavation must close on Sundays and holidays. It must close between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. on other days.

Dibbs wanted the right to truck dirt eastward on Lutz-Lake Fern as far as N Dale Mabry Highway. Youmans granted that, but with restrictions that may effectively forbid it.

Trucks could haul dirt east of the Suncoast only to serve any of three construction projects:

- The future Suncoast interchange. That work could start in six months, likely too soon for Dibbs' excavation to be under way.

- Steinbrenner High School. Site work began there in December, too early for any Dibbs dirt.

- The widening of Lutz-Lake Fern to Dale Mabry, still being planned and scheduled for completion by 2012.

But there's another big catch. The Hillsborough County School District persuaded Youmans to ban dump trucks past the triple campus of Steinbrenner, McKitrick Elementary School and Martinez Middle School on school days, between 6:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.

Vin Marchetti, Dibbs' attorney, urged Youmans to let trucks pass the schools at midday, when kids are inside. That would have made Dibbs' excavation the closest dirt source for the Lutz-Lake Fern widening.

But Youmans' decision means that during the school year, trucks can deliver dirt past the schools only on Saturdays, and for 75 minutes during the evening rush hour.

"They're effectively not allowing us to bid on this project," Marchetti said.

The trucks won't be allowed under any conditions to travel west of Dibbs' property on Lutz-Lake Fern.

Dibbs will be required to monitor and repair damage on the 1,000 feet of Lutz-Lake Fern his trucks will use. He'll have to hire off-duty deputies to manage traffic during rush hours.

And he'll have to get somebody, at the end of each day, to sweep dirt off the road.

Bill Coats can be reached at 813 269-5309 or coats@sptimes.com.

[Last modified February 21, 2008, 22:39:17]


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