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County endorses alcohol waiver

By EVE LEBERSON

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 1, 2001


LUTZ -- The adults at Buchanan Middle School are unhappy enough that the convenience store across the street sold beer and cigarettes to wayward students. Now, a new CVS/pharmacy proposes to sell those, plus wine.

"I have objections that children have been smoking and drinking, and we would like for them not to have access to it," said Tammy Cummings, Buchanan's new PTA president.

Stores in Hillsborough County must obtain a waiver to sell alcoholic beverages if they are within 500 feet of a school or church. The CVS will be 175 feet from Buchanan Middle. It will be 184 feet from Buchanan Baptist Church and 176 feet from Trinity Presbyterian Church.

But county planners endorsed the alcohol waiver.

They said four-lane Bearss Avenue separates the store from the churches, and two-lane North Boulevard separates the store from the school. Also, the CVS is replacing a strip shopping center in which a Super 7 sold beer for more than 20 years.

Elise Lynn, attorney for CVS, said the store's cash registers would be programmed to block any alcohol sale unless an adult buyer's date of birth was entered.

CVS, she said, "is an improvement to this site."

Hearing officer Jamie Scarola must rule on the request in three weeks. (Petition 01-939)

* * *

NORTHDALE: The Bob Sierra YMCA has big plans for a new recreation center in Northdale. The YMCA is under a lease-purchase agreement to develop the center on 18 acres on Ragg Road now occupied by St. Timothy's Catholic Church.

Site plans call for an aquatic center, locker rooms, ball fields, a playground, an Alpine climbing wall and classrooms. The church plans to move from its location behind Gaither High School to a new sanctuary in Lutz in 2002. Construction on the YMCA is to begin in early 2003. A zoning hearing officer is scheduled to hear the proposal Sept. 19. (Petition 01-1173)

* * *

KEYSTONE: Zoning hearing master Martin H. Smith Jr. recommended denial of Leslie Land Corp.'s proposal for Highland Park, a neotraditional community that would include 400 homes, a fitness center, business offices and cultural facilities. The 315-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Race Track and S Mobley roads is now occupied by a home and a horse stable facility. County staffers had recommended approval of the project. (Petition 01-0347)

* * *

TAMPA PALMS: One of South Tampa's most popular restaurants, Trattoria Primadonna, is branching out to Tampa Palms.

Owner Cesare Tini, who also runs the original Trattoria Primadonna on Howard Avenue, will open the 4,500-square-foot Italian restaurant in the Oak Ramble Plaza on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. The restaurant, now under construction, will operate using the name Primadonna North.

Tini has filed a petition asking for permission to sell liquor at the Tampa Palms location, which will lie within 150 feet of residential property.

A land use hearing officer will hear the petition Aug. 10. (Petition 01-1151)

* * *

NORTHDALE: Mineo Shimada, the owner of Sushi-Haro, also needs a waiver to sell alcohol at his restaurant in the Colonial Promenade shopping plaza, as the Japanese restaurant would lie within 500 feet of a day-care facility.

A land use hearing officer will hear the petition Aug. 10. (Petition 01-1139)

* * *

KEYSTONE: The Planning Commission recommends the rejection of a 90-acre development proposal on Gunn Highway at Lutz-Lake Fern and Tarpon Springs roads. Staff said the request for 43,000 square feet of commercial space -- including a 29,000-square-foot supermarket -- and special permission to expand the number of estate home lots to 17 would have a negative impact on the rural community. The project still awaits review by the county's Department of Planning and Growth Management.

* * *

OLD TAMPA BAY: Smith is endorsing Valle Pines Land Corp.'s plan to add office, school, church, restaurant, outdoor storage and emergency service uses to a development project on 5 acres at Old Memorial Highway, east of Double Branch Road. The undeveloped parcel was zoned for planned development in 1984. County staff and the Planning Commission also endorsed the petition. (Petition 01-0304)

Where and When

Hearings of county zoning hearing masters and land-use hearing officers, and land use meetings of the County Commission, are held on the second floor of the County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd. The zoning hearings begin at 6 p.m., and the commission meetings begin at 9 a.m. Both are televised on government access channels. The land-use hearing officer hearings, which are not televised, begin at 9 a.m. For information, call (813) 272-5920.

- Staff writers Bill Coats and Josh Zimmer contributed to this column.

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