Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sod farm's development plan concerns Wimauma neighbors

WIMAUMA — Residents warned of traffic congestion and roadkill if a sod farm goes ahead with its plan to build 1,088 homes near environmentally protected land.

Turfgrass America held a community meeting May 28 to explain its plan to build a development called the Reserve at Westlake on its 537-acre farm off West Lake Drive, south of Balm Road and east of U.S. 301.

The meeting was called in response to more than 60 letters opposing the project. The company received the letters days before a rezoning hearing that would have paved the way for construction. That hearing was canceled.

The first phase includes about 500 homes and a two-lane road that would run through preserve land protected by the county's Environmental Land Acquisition and Protection Program.

One ELAPP general committee member called the planned road a "killing wall in a field of death." Wildlife regularly travels through the preserve just north of the planned development, she said.

"ELAPP's whole philosophy is about connecting wildlife habitat corridors, and this flies in the face of that by separating the corridor into two pieces," Mariella Smith said.

Planners will provide wildlife crossings to meet specifications that will be set by the county, said senior project planner John Bowers of WilsonMiller.

The county also requires that planners provide a survey of species found in the area, he said.

Phase 2 of the project, if they're able to buy land west of the property, would include bringing the total number of houses to 1,088 and extending 19th Avenue to West Lake Drive, Bowers added.

Several residents said there will be terrible congestion if they do that.

There's already enough traffic at County Road 674 and West Lake, Dana Phillips said.

If more traffic dumps into that intersection, which doesn't have a signal, there will be more accidents, she said.

"If you can make it work traffic wise and wildlife wise … more power to you," she said. "But I would not personally buy there."

Residents were also concerned about the water source for irrigation and the architectural style of the homes.

Planners didn't have answers because it's too early in the process, they said.

Turfgrass America is going forward with its rezoning application with a hearing in July. County commissioners will have the final say in August.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.

Sod farm's development plan concerns Wimauma neighbors 06/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 5, 2008 4:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Google parent leads $1B Lyft investment, deepening Uber rift

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — Google's parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

    This  file photo shows a smartphone displaying the Lyft app.Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber. [Associated Press, 2016]
  2. Check out what this former Buc has cooking in Buffalo

    Bucs

    Leonard Johnson is thrilled to extend his NFL career in Buffalo this season, but whenever his playing days are over, the former Bucs cornerback is ready for life after football.

    He's actually pretty excited.

    Buffalo Bills cornerback Leonard Johnson catches a pass during an NFL football training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Saturday, July 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
  3. Editorial: Arrests show construction licensing board's faults

    Editorials

    Ripping off consumers got a little harder in Pinellas County this week after teams of deputies launched a predawn operation and arrested unlicensed contractors. It was a needed crackdown on a problem that appears rampant in Pinellas because the agency charged with overseeing local contractors has no policing …

    Ripping off consumers got a little harder in Pinellas County this week after teams of deputies executed a predawn operation, arresting unlicensed contractors.
  4. Dade City teen arrested after authorities say he pulled fake gun on student

    Crime

    DADE CITY — A 14-year-old boy faces felony charges after he pulled a fake gun on a Pasco Middle School student near the school Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities.

  5. Live blog: Crowd shouts at Richard Spencer as he speaks in Gainesville

    College

    GAINESVILLE — A small army of law enforcement officers, many of them from cities and counties around the state, have converged on the University of Florida in preparation for today's speaking appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

    Florida Highway Patrol cruisers jammed the parking lot Wednesday at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center in Gainesville, part of a big show of force by law enforcement ahead of Thursday's appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer. [KATHRYN VARN | Times]