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Group launches bid to represent Keystone area

KEYSTONE — A new group says that it — not the long-established Keystone Civic Association — represents the interests of homeowners and businesses in this northwest Hillsborough community.

Keystone: The Great Northwest Business League Inc. has filed for recognition as a not-for-profit corporation from the Florida Department of State's Division of Corporations and rolled out a Web site that could pass as the area's official online portal.

In fact, that's the intent of the league's founding members.

"We're trying to become the official Keystone association instead of the one that is current," said Dimitri Artzibushev, one of three founders listed in state incorporation documents.

He says because of that group and a county-sanctioned community plan that restricts growth, the area lacks sidewalks, water, schools, adequate roads and other basic infrastructure. The civic association has long fought for these protections, as it seeks to maintain a rural style in Keystone.

"I'm in favor of preserving rural characteristics with common sense," Artzibushev said. "With the development that's been going on over the years and the people moving in, you can't go 100 percent rural."

The league wants to widen Gunn Highway, Van Dyke Road, Lutz-Lake Fern Road and Tarpon Springs Road; extend water and wastewater services; and build schools and additional recreational facilities closer to home.

"They may not want a super Wal-Mart, but they want that roadway widened, they want a sidewalk and they want a bike trail," said Claire Clements, another founder.

On its Web site, the league describes itself as a community-based partnership of residents, businesses and property owners.

But critics say that's not entirely true. All the founders are developers who have had trouble getting the county to sign off on projects they've tried to push through.

Only one — Artzibushev — calls Keystone home. The other two own property but don't live there. Clements resides in Westchase; Stephen Dibbs in Northdale. The league's mailing address, 5277 Ehrlich Road, is Dibbs' Carrollwood office.

"All three of them have huge axes to grind," said Tom Aderhold, a Keystone homeowner who had hoped to unseat County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan in Tuesday's primary.

He called the league's formation and its Web site "a full frontal assault" on the Keystone community-based plan, which homeowners drafted and commissioners approved in 2000.

"The real residents of Keystone love the area as it is," Aderhold said.

He should know. He's president of the Keystone Civic Association, which claims 300 paid members.

So far, the new group only has three known members.

Dibbs was unavailable for comment. However, Artzibushev said the civic association's membership numbers are misleading.

"The current Keystone association is controlled by 20 people that make all the decisions," he said. "You've got a lot of pacifists that stay in the background and just pay the membership fee."

Clements added that the point of the Web site is to recruit members and to get input from a cross-section of homeowners, not just a few independent minds.

"You get our Web site out there and we'll see who represents who," she said.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5303.

. fast facts

Web sites

• Keystone Civic
Association: www.
keystonecivic.org

• Keystone: The Great Northwest Business League Inc.: www.
keystonetgn.com

Group launches bid to represent Keystone area 08/31/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 4:02pm]
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