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K-Bar's future to hinge upon 47 acres' fate

By MICHAEL SANDLER

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 2000


TAMPA -- On the surface, the deal seems insignificant compared with the huge developments in New Tampa. A mere 47 acres tucked away on the rural outskirts of the suburbs.

But when the City Council hears plans to annex Guy Spicola's property today, the outcome will likely decide the fate of the 2,500-acre K-Bar ranch.

Mike Lawson, a developer for U.S. Homes, said he will present an annexation agreement to the City Council this month. U.S. Homes recently reached an agreement to purchase the property from Spicola, though Lawson said both parties have yet to settle on terms.

For some time, the 47 acres in unincorporated Hillsborough has been surrounded by city property on three sides and K-Bar to the north, creating a major obstacle to K-Bar's development.

Annexing K-Bar without it would create an illegal enclave around Spicola's property.

Should today's agreement be approved, the City Council is expected to annex Spicola's property on Dec. 14, said Ron Rotella, the mayor's consultant on development. Once completed, this deal would clear the path for the much larger K-Bar annexation in January.

U.S. Homes is also the developer for Heritage Isles, the previously annexed property that surrounds Spicola's property on the other three sides.

Lawson said U.S. Homes has yet to determine whether Spicola's property would be developed as part of Heritage Isles, or as a separate community.

"We haven't really decided," said Lawson, who is also the chairman of the Heritage Isles Community Development District. "It could go either way. We haven't done any planning on it."

-- Michael Sandler can be reached at (813) 226-3472 or sandler@sptimes.com.

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