TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Commission should not let property owners "opt out" of community plans that are written with heavy citizen involvement and meant to create a vision for how individual communities grow and evolve.
That was the conclusion Friday of the state Department of Community Affairs, which recently reviewed proposed community plans for Brandon and Seffner-Mango, both of which include opt-out provisions.
That, the agency said, would give rise to incompatible land uses and "defeat the purposes of creating the community plan."
"They were very strong in their wording," said Robert Hunter, executive director of the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission, which has not supported the opt-out provisions.
Hillsborough officials started working with residents about a decade ago to create community plans. The goal: elaborate on the countywide comprehensive land use plan and let residents address concerns in their neighborhoods. Since then, plans have been written for about two dozen communities.
Before this year, county commissioners had never included the opt-out provisions in a community plan, officials said, but they did so at the request of some property owners.
Commissioners are scheduled to consider formally adopting the Brandon and Seffner-Mango community plans on Oct. 14.