SUN CITY — Developers hoping to pave the way for a 2.6 million-square-foot industrial facility on the southern border of Hillsborough County have hit their first roadblock.
The county's Planning Commission staff recommended that county commissioners deny a developer's request to amend the comprehensive plan to allow a giant warehouse off U.S. 41.
One of the staff's key concerns is that the facility would sit outside the urban service area, a demarcation meant to steer development to an urban core and discourage sprawl in rural areas.
The site is currently used as a farm and is surrounded on three sides by more than 2,500 acres of conservation land scheduled for restoration.
Inland Port Systems' executives said they would help with the restoration. Richard Ellison, the company's president, said because it would be in a rural area, it wouldn't disturb residents or come in conflict with neighboring industries.
"This is the perfect place," he said.
But Ralph Greenlee, who lives in Sundance, just east of the proposed warehouse spot, disagrees.
"It is true that it's 5 to 6 miles physically from our community," he said. "But when you could possibly run your trucks from east to west through my community to get to the multi-modal center, it's a bad, bad idea."
The fate of the proposed center may become clearer Monday at a Planning Commission public hearing, where the board will make a recommendation to county commissioners, who make the final decision.
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2443.