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Grand Hampton adds acres

Despite adding 286 acres, the proposed golf community doesn't plan to add more homes.

By MICHAEL SANDLER

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 3, 2000


TAMPA -- A proposed golf community that has created serious friction between local environmentalists will be spread out over a significantly larger piece of land.

The Tampa City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the voluntary annexation of 286 acres directly west of Grand Hampton, where Toll Brothers plans to build 1,599 homes on 645 acres.

Linda Saul-Sena, who cast the lone dissenting vote against the original project, was absent from the public hearing.

With the newly acquired land, known as the Diez property, Grand Hampton has grown to 931 acres.

But Joel Tew, an attorney representing the developer, told the council that Toll Brothers has no plans to increase the number of homes on the property south of County Line Road between Bruce B. Downs and Interstate 75.

"To make this crystal clear, there will be no additional units of density," Tew said. "We will simply utilize the previously approved 1,599 units and spread those units over the additional acreage with Grand Hampton."

The council will give final approval to the annexation during a second public hearing on Nov. 16. The gated community is expected to include 829 single-family homes, 750 multifamily units, 80,000 square feet of commercial space and an 18-hole golf course.

In July, the council approved the project over objections by environmentalists that it would destroy protected upland habitats. Toll Brothers agreed to pay $673,000 to protect similar habitat off the site.

Sierra Club representatives disapprove of a proposed golf course and the option to meet environmental requirements off site. The group recently filed a lawsuit against the city.

The newly annexed parcel includes 134 acres of significant wildlife, 111 acres of which is wetlands. Tew said the developer plans to preserve the sensitive area in conjunction with the city's upland habitat ordinance.

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