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Proposed Seffner water ski park would use cables

An Orange County developer wants to replace landlocked rows of citrus trees near Interstate 4 and McIntosh Road with a 58-acre water park.

Representatives of McCormick Road LLC say they plan to excavate the Seffner property, create a lake that could be more than 30 acres and open a cable water park — a facility where visitors would water ski and wakeboard by connecting to suspended cables rather than motor boats.

But another company less than a mile away might beat them to it.

McCormick Water Ski and Wakeboard School, located north of I-4 on Muck Pond Road, plans to add cables to its existing man-made lakes before summer camp season.

"We're not a couple years out. We're going to be up and running in a hurry," co-owner Patrick McCormick said.

The two plans are not related, despite their similar names. There are no cable water skiing parks in the Tampa Bay area, and only a handful in the United States.

The existing Orlando Watersports Complex would be a model for the new park, McCormick Road manager Chuck Hawthorne said. And owners of the Orlando facility are working with the developer to build it.

But before crews can start digging on the site, the developer needs permission from Hillsborough County officials.

First they must decide whether to change the county's growth guidelines to allow light industrial uses on the property.

The developer would also be required to seek other permits and approval for excavation on the site, located about 1.3 miles west of I-4 and McIntosh.

The property is part of more than 90 acres McCormick Road LLC bought for $6.5-million in 2006. But the land is in an area county planners designate as rural — a significant stumbling block for other recent proposals along the I-4 corridor.

Hawthorne said the water park would not clog roadways or disrupt daily life in Seffner.

"This is operated by electricity. It's very, very quiet. It makes no noise whatsoever," he said. "You can't even hear the operating motors. You just coast along."

Last month county commissioners voted against a developer's plan to build an industrial park just east of the proposed water park site.

They said they wanted to wait for planners to complete a study of the I-4 corridor before changing growth guidelines.

The McCormick Water Ski and Wakeboard School plans to have its cables up in about 60 days. It will be a significant change for the school, which opened in Seffner in 1974.

"It's going to lower our overhead so we can get more people in the door," McCormick said.

McCormick Road's project was among several amendments to the county's growth guidelines filed with the Planning Commission last month. Other proposals include:

• A subdivision of 55 half-acre lots on 38 acres at the northeast corner of County Road 579 and Pruitt Road in Seffner.

• Schafer Development's proposal for a large mixed-use development on 212 acres off 36th Avenue S between 70th Street and 78th Street in Palm River. The dairy farm site is already zoned for about 1,000 homes, according to the developer.

• County planners' proposal to create a 50-acre downtown district in Riverview, surrounding U.S. 301 north of Palmetto Street.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the amendments at a workshop next month.

County commissioners will have the final say at a hearing in July.

Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holin contributed to this story. Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or 661-2454.

. IF YOU GO

Changes proposed

The Planning Commission will discuss proposed changes to Hillsborough County's comprehensive plan — which defines the county's long-term growth guidelines — in a workshop at 5:30 p.m. April 14 on the 18th floor of the county governmental center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

Proposed Seffner water ski park would use cables 03/13/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 6:22pm]
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