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Carrollwood Village's standoff on speed humps may go to arbitration

TAMPA — After years of debate about putting speed humps in Carrollwood Village, Hillsborough County officials have had enough.

With residents bitterly divided, county commissioners Wednesday decided to hold one more big public meeting to hear all sides. Then they'll ask an independent arbitrator to settle what's needed once and for all.

"I just feel like that's the only way we're going to get any closure here," County Administrator Pat Bean said.

For now, that's just for Carrollwood Village. The same issue also has riven Original Carrollwood.

Commissioners could discuss Original Carrollwood later this month. Bean said she does not know whether she would recommend arbitration there, too.

In February, commissioners put a $2.3 million traffic calming project on hold in both Original Carrollwood and Carrollwood Village. They hoped their staff could meet with civic groups and find common ground on ways to curb speeding and cut-through traffic.

It didn't work.

In Carrollwood Village, county officials met with three neighborhood representatives and thought they reached a consensus, Bean said. Shortly after, one representative backed away.

"Traffic calming has turned neighbor against neighbor," said Jennifer Fritch, who has led the speed hump opposition in Carrollwood Village.

Going into Wednesday's meeting, county officials had been ready to recommend making the slopes leading up to raised speed tables more gradual in Carrollwood Village. They also recommended removing 41 of 91 warning signs. With a few exceptions, most of the raised pavement would remain in place in Carrollwood Village. At the point the county stopped the work, the project was about 95 percent complete.

In Original Carrollwood, the Carrollwood Civic Association has held several meetings on the issue. At one several weeks ago, supporters of the speed humps held forth.

Monday night, it was the opponents' turn. After more than an hour of charged debate, the civic association's board members said they couldn't tell the county there was any kind of consensus in their neighborhood.

"We've got this group over here; we've got that group over there," civic association president Mark Snellgrove said. "We're right in the middle."

The county meeting for Carrollwood Village hasn't been scheduled yet. Commissioner Jim Norman first suggested holding it at the Carrollwood Cultural Center.

Later, he said the county might need something bigger, like a high school.

Richard Danielson can be reached at Danielson@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5311.

Carrollwood Village's standoff on speed humps may go to arbitration 05/06/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 10:24pm]
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