Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

Carrollwood Walmart foes won't go quietly

CARROLLWOOD — A proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market and Wawa convenience store got a green light from county zoning, despite neighborhood opposition.

Land use hearing officer Steven Luce recommended this past week that the County Commission approve the modification for the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Floyd Road, finding it compatible with surrounding land uses and zoning.

The decision was expected by neighbors of the 10-acre plot, who formed an 813CARe team to oppose the rezoning. For months, they have waved signs at the intersection and on Oct. 15 they packed a land-use hearing in protest. Neighbors sent more than 2,500 petitions, letters and emails.

In response to the zoning approval, 813CARe organizers sent an email to members urging them to continue the fight.

"The good news is that our fight IS NOT OVER!" the email read. "We need to band together and bombard the County Commissioners with our opposition. They make the final decision and we need to make it VERY HARD for them to vote against their constituents."

The activists attached the 13-page zoning recommendation, which acknowledged substantial opposition to the proposed project — primarily focused on traffic concerns.

Project plans include a new traffic signal and median at Floyd Road and Dale Mabry.

The signal would increase cut-through traffic on Floyd Road, neighbors said at the hearing, where they described the street as two lanes lined with trees and no sidewalks.

The transportation planner for the project estimated that peak morning traffic on Floyd Road east of Dale Mabry would increase daily from 44 cars to 120 and in peak evening hours from 64 cars to 155. The road can easily handle this traffic, the planner said in a report included in the recommendation.

The land is currently zoned for a mix of 37 single-family attached homes, offices and commercial buildings. The land has significant levels of arsenic and an insecticide called dieldrin, which would need to be cleaned up, according to reports included in the recommendation.

The new zoning would eliminate the homes and office space and increase the commercial space from 17,000 to 48,500 square feet. The Walmart Neighborhood Market would take 41,180 square feet and the 24-hour Wawa with gas pumps would take 6,119 square feet.

The proposed businesses are expected to draw 1,200 more cars daily than anticipated under the prior zoning.

County commissioners are expected to decide the matter Dec. 11.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3431.

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