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Borrow pit owner wants Hillsborough County to change rules

KEYSTONE — Nearby home­owners didn't want Stephen J. Dibbs to have his borrow pit on Lutz-Lake Fern Road in the first place. But they felt like the 38 conditions the county imposed on the pit earlier this year would help protect the road and their community.

So their opposition to Dibbs' latest move to change two of those conditions comes as no surprise.

"This applicant has already gotten everything he recently asked for, so why are we here yet again?" Odessa resident Tom Rafferty said during a public hearing Tuesday night.

Dibbs got county permission this year to remove up to 2.5-million cubic yards of dirt from 320 acres he owns on the north side of Lutz-Lake Fern Road, just west of the Suncoast Parkway.

Now Dibbs is asking the county to allow trucks from his site to go west on Lutz-Lake Fern Road to Gunn Highway.

He also wants the county to remove the limits on which projects he can provide with dirt.

When a new interchange onto the parkway opens in August, his trucks will be able to get onto the parkway and haul dirt to any construction project in the county.

Until then, they can only provide dirt for the interchange itself, the construction of Steinbrenner High School and the future widening of Lutz-Lake Fern Road to N Dale Mabry Highway.

Dibbs, however, also wants to supply dirt for upcoming work on Race Track Road.

Using his property, he contends, will save dump trucks a trip to a pit in Dade City, which would require an 80-mile round trip and another 77,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The longer trip also would mean more air pollution and truck traffic on Hillsborough roads.

"There is a considerable environmental difference between a 26-mile trip and an 80-mile trip," said Steve Allison, a consultant for Dibbs.

But residents of Keystone, Odessa and the Pasco County subdivision immediately north of Dibbs' property oppose the idea of putting more trucks on Lutz-Lake Fern or Gunn.

The county's staff likewise does not support Dibbs' request. County planner Brian Grady said the conditions were put in place to protect the area from repeated truck traffic on Lutz-Lake Fern, which is inadequate for handling heavy truck loads.

County officials plan to hold another hearing next month focusing on how the county's truck route plan affects Dibbs' request.

They scheduled that hearing because opponents had not seen a letter from a county official on the issue that Dibbs' representatives submitted Tuesday night.

After the public hearing is closed, zoning hearing master Steve Luce will decide whether to allow the changes.

AT A GLANCE

Next meeting

County officials will hold another hearing focusing on how the county's truck route plan affects Stephen Dibbs' latest request for his borrow pit at 6 p.m. Dec. 16 at the County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

Borrow pit owner wants Hillsborough County to change rules 11/20/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 23, 2008 12:30pm]
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