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Shopping center to replace church


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 25, 2000

KEYSTONE -- Woodlands Baptist Church will be looking for a new residence to replace its location at Race Track Road and Nine Eagles Drive. Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater, which owns the land and the building Woodlands has been using for more than four years, is seeking a rezoning of the 8-acre parcel for the construction of a shopping center.

Paul Heier, pastor of Woodlands Baptist Church, doesn't know where the church will relocate but said it will probably stay in the area. "I am thankful that they have let us use the land," Heier said.

The church will remain at its present location for another five to eight months, Heier said.

Vincent Marchetti, who represents Calvary Baptist Church, said it is unknown what businesses will occupy the proposed shopping center. (Petition 00-1021)

* * *

CARROLLWOOD: Cornerstone Communities Inc. wants to develop more than 10 acres at the northwest corner of Linebaugh Avenue and the Veterans Expressway for retail, commercial and office uses.

The proposed development will include a business center and a 3,000-square-foot convenience store with gas pumps and car wash. (Petition 00-1014)

* * *

UPPER TAMPA BAY: Simpson Housing Limited Partnership is requesting to rezone almost 16 acres on the south side of Hillsborough Avenue, east of Race Track Road, to build a 300-unit apartment complex.

According to a transportation analysis, roads in the area will not be too adversely affected by the increase in the number of vehicles brought by the development of the multifamily site. Currently, the land is vacant. (Petition 00-1022)

* * *

UNIVERSITY NORTH: The owner of nine acres near Fletcher Avenue and 56th Street is asking to make major changes to the planned development designation. The Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg seeks approval for the construction of a 75,000-square-foot self-storage warehouse and 55,000 square feet for commercial uses. The original petition asked for a total of 80,000 square feet of floor space for general commercial uses. (Petition 00-1020)

* * *

LUTZ: A church on Livingston Avenue says it shouldn't have to build a sidewalk in front of its new building. Community Investments Group of Tampa is requesting a variance to omit 330 feet of a 5-foot-wide sidewalk in front of the Community Education Center, near Green Meadow Drive. In 1999 the county approved the site plan for the church, which included the sidewalk. Community Investments Group says there is no need for a sidewalk because the area is located on a two-lane road in a rural neighborhood with virtually no pedestrian traffic. The petition also says the cost of constructing the sidewalk would be a financial hardship for the small congregation, which is moving from rented facilities in Tampa. (Petition 00-948)

* * *

LUTZ: A landowner is trying to salvage development rights on property that is being shish-kabobed by the Suncoast Parkway.

Eight years ago, more than 300 acres of the property north of Lutz-Lake Fern Road were rezoned for up to 303 houses and a small shopping center.

Then came a tidal wave of changes. The Florida Department of Transportation condemned a Parkway route through the middle of the property, paying eye surgeon Raymond Agia $8.95-million for 123 acres. While that was being thrashed out, the county tightened a variety of rules that would drop the land's development potential.

Now, the Agia family wants to have the remaining portions of the land "vested," making them exempt from the new rules. But the vesting deadline passed before the Parkway impact was settled. So the family must persuade the Hillsborough County Commission on Tuesday to authorize a vesting hearing before a hearing officer. (Petition 00-0821)

* * *

KEYSTONE: The latest subdivision coming to this part of the county now has a name: Water Chase. The 800-home development, planned on 452 acres along the northwest side of Race Track Road, east of Nine Eagles Drive, is expected to be completed by 2003. Groundbreaking is set for the first of the year, said Keith Bass, regional director of Taylor Woodrow Communities. The subdivision will consist of 647 single-family homes and 150 townhomes.

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