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Annexation plans include new elementary school

The proposed elementary school site needs to be near Heritage Isles so children there can walk to school.

By MELANIE AVE and MICHAEL SANDLER

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 25, 2000


CROSS CREEK -- The city of Tampa is considering annexing 93 acres of land next to the Heritage Isles housing development at the eastern end of Cross Creek Boulevard near Morris Bridge Road.

Current plans call for a new elementary school to be built on the most northern area of the three-parcel property, said Donna Feldman, attorney for some of the property owners. The school is part of a 2-year-old annexation agreement made when the city enveloped Heritage Isles in 1998.

"The school transaction is pending," Feldman said.

While negotiations are ongoing, the school would draw students from Heritage Isles.

The proposed elementary site should put to rest School Board complaints raised two years ago.

School officials were alarmed when they learned the city was going to annex the 1,600-home, 936-acre Heritage Isles development and not require a school site for the burgeoning area.

But a last-minute agreement was reached before the City Council approved the annexation, essentially requiring a school to be built within or near the development. The school site has to be near enough to Heritage Isles so children who live there can walk to school.

Officials with Hillsborough County schools could not be reached for comment late Friday.

The three parcels of undeveloped land are located in unincorporated Hillsborough County. Two are located directly west of Morris Bridge Road, and the third is located southwest of the other parcels.

The property owners, which include Star 107 Development Inc., Joseph and Mary Ann Young, SDD Trust, FURUD and the Heritage Isles Community Development District, requested the annexation.

If the city annexes the property, its land use designation would have to be changed and approved by the state.

The developer could build up to three houses per acre compared to the current county designation of one house per acre, said Terry Cullen, planner with the Hillsborough County Planning Commission. Part of the land could be used for commercial or office uses.

The land use designation would be the same as that of Heritage Isles.

The annexation agreement could be presented to the City Council as early as 9 a.m. July 13, with final approval on July 27, said Andrea Zelman, assistant city attorney.

A public hearing on the land use change has been set for 5:30 p.m. July 13 at City Hall, 306 E Jackson St.

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