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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Neighborhood meeting on Dunedin Nielsen property turns tense

Groans, angry outbursts and a plethora of questions punctuated a neighborhood meeting this week aimed at gauging public support for a proposed zoning change at the former Nielsen Media Research property.

Representatives for Wells Fargo, which owns the 25-acre site at 375 Patricia Ave., met with neighbors for two hours Monday evening to float an idea they say would finally help attract a buyer after eight years.

Neighbors had mixed reactions to the bank's desire to change the property's light-industrial land designation to a category that would accommodate anything from mostly residential to a mixed-use "village" community featuring townhomes above offices, boutiques, restaurants and other retail shops.

However, a proposal that Beltrees Street be extended through the site for vehicular traffic — or, at the minimum pedestrians, bicyclists and golf carts — elicited such a visceral reaction from a few opponents that a bank representative had to step in.

"We are not going to be rude," Joel Tew, a land-use attorney hired by Wells Fargo, said to applause from most of the roughly 150 residents gathered at Dunedin Highland Middle School.

Although the most vocal opinion in the room appeared to be a belief that extending Beltrees from Keene Road to Edgewater Drive would mean overwhelming traffic and lowered property values, organizers said a subsequent vote by a show of hands indicated the audience was about evenly split on the proposal.

Read more about the project and the neighborhood's comments and questions here.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 23, 2013 11:38am]


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