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Inland Port Systems to rework its warehouse proposal

SUN CITY — A developer pushing for a giant warehouse in Sun City withdrew its controversial application to change the county's comprehensive plan just before county commissioners were scheduled to review it.

Inland Port Systems plans to refile this month, and president Richard Ellison hopes to win the Planning Commission's support this time.

"We think it's a great project for the region, and we'd like the Planning Commission staff to see its value," he said. "We're trying to bend over backward to make everything consistent."

The comprehensive plan amendment would pave the way for a 2.6 million-square-foot distribution hub off U.S. 41 outside the county's urban core.

South county residents have criticized the plan and said they are worried about large trucks traveling on local roads and the warehouse's impact on environmentally sensitive land nearby.

The Planning Commission and its staff had each recommended that the county deny Inland's request to change the comprehensive plan. They were concerned about plans to build the hub outside the county's urban service core.

The new application will include some changes, Ellison said. For example, the Planning Commission had pointed out that although Inland said it would restore part of the land, those promises in the application were not as binding as staff desired.

"We rewrote that policy and made it absolutely explicit that we had to do the restoration," Ellison said.

Although Inland is making some concessions, it is not changing the proposed location.

The company looked for property inside the urban service core, Ellison said, but it didn't find anything that fit. The proposed location is the best spot for the project in Hillsborough County, he said.

Residents of the nearby Sundance Community have said they are worried that trucks will travel on their local roads, but Ellison said that would not be allowed.

The application must be filed by Sept. 1 if it's to be heard in the next cycle of proposed comprehensive plan amendments. The Planning Commission's staff will review the application and make a recommendation. Then the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing, most likely in February, said planner Krista Kelly.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

Inland Port Systems to rework its warehouse proposal 08/20/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 20, 2009 4:30am]
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