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Neighborhood notebook

By SUSAN THURSTON and JOSH ZIMMER
© St. Petersburg Times,
published December 9, 2001


Women's club gives $6,700

TAMPA PALMS -- The Tampa Palms Women's Club donated $6,700 to area charities that help children as part of its annual holiday luncheon on Thursday.

The group gave $3,000 to the University Area Community Center Complex and $3,000 to Outreach Assisting Students in Schools, or OASIS, which distributes clothes, school supplies and household items.

It also gave $700 to Santa Sac, a program run by Jim Henning of Florida Executive Realty, which provides gifts and clothes to children at the Hillsborough County children's services center on Lake Magdalene Boulevard.

In addition, members brought gifts for 150 underprivileged children who attend Tampa Palms and Lawton Chiles elementary schools.

The club raised the money through the rental of booths at its annual crafts fair at City Plaza.

County, landowner spar over school plans

KEYSTONE -- A disagreement between Hillsborough County and a prominent landowner near a proposed church off Gunn Highway appears no closer to being resolved.

The county is fighting efforts by Joyce and James Gills III to block plans by the Baptist Church of Citrus Park for a K-12 religious school on 41 acres near the Gillses' property. A county land use hearing officer said the project should be denied but the county's land use appeals board on July 6 said the church can proceed with efforts to permit the project.

The Gillses, who own 90 acres, are contending in county circuit court that development of the property, including the installation of athletic field flood lights, would hinder their enjoyment of the lakeside tract. In a recent filing, the county says the appeals board decision should stand. Tampa attorney Robert Williams, who represents the Gillses, expects both sides to file additional motions.

Developer halts talks in dispute over land use

KEYSTONE -- The disgruntled developer of a 5.25-acre tract at the busy corner of Gunn Highway and Van Dyke Road recently dropped out of mediation talks with Hillsborough County.

In a letter to the county, Tampa attorney Vin Marchetti, who represents Belleair Development of Palm Harbor, said the company wanted to cancel the next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday. Marchetti said last week that, based on prior discussions, he and Belleair did not think mediation "would be fruitful."

The County Commission voted to rezone the site last December but rejected Belleair's request for a 15,000-square-foot building. Commissioners instead limited the largest building to 7,500-square-feet, pleasing the Keystone Civic Association, which wanted smaller buildings. Belleair initially thought it could market the property but soon found no one was interested in the smaller buildings, Marchetti said. Belleair filed for mediation.

Marchetti said the company could leave the property alone or ask the county for a variance. The rezoning also included space for a 4,000-square-foot day care center.

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