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    County denies new zoning for businesses

    Neighbors show up to oppose two Ulmerton Road businesses that already were operating, in violation of county zoning regulations.

    By LISA GREENE, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published December 20, 2001

    Pinellas County commissioners said no Tuesday night to two Ulmerton Road businesses that began operating in violation of their zoning.

    Both businesses came before the commission to ask for zoning changes after being cited by county officials. The changes would have allowed their operations, one a used car lot and the other a wood-chipping business, to continue.

    But after hearing protests from several residents who live near the businesses, commissioners turned down both requests.

    The used car lot, located on the southeast corner of Ulmerton and 119th Street, opened about six months ago. Small businesses have operated there in the past, but the C-1, or neighborhood commercial, zoning doesn't allow a car lot.

    The owner, Lonnie Young, didn't realize the car lot wouldn't be allowed when the sales began, said his lawyer, Donald McFarland. McFarland and a local minister said the dealership sells cars to people who otherwise couldn't afford them and in some cases has even given them away.

    But residents said the lot was bringing too much traffic to 119th St. Adelle McKinney, who lives across the street, said the lot's bright lights keep her awake.

    "I've spent a lot of sleepless nights over this," she said.

    Further east, Acorn Services has operated a tree service for years at the southeast corner of Ulmerton Road and Center Avenue. But several months ago, the company started chopping and chipping logs into firewood and mulch. The company's engineer, James Shaw, said Acorn would build a soundproof building so that noise wouldn't bother residents.

    But residents told commissioners that company trucks are running up and down the residential streets south of Ulmerton, even though trucks aren't allowed there; that the operation is noisy; and that when it rains, their drainage ditches fill with red dye.

    County staff members recommended that commissioners turn down the mulch operation but allow the property to change to allow more commercial uses. Commissioners refused to do either.

    "I think the neighborhood has suffered enough," said Commissioner Barbara Sheen Todd.

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