Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

San Antonio may not be able to stop planned Saint Leo University project

SAN ANTONIO — Even after months of deliberation, San Antonio city officials still reject Saint Leo University's plan to build a major warehouse along a city street. But that might not be enough stop the project.

A revised plan is headed to the town of St. Leo's commission for approval Monday. That plan still hinges on the controversial use of Pompanic Street, even after San Antonio residents and officials have said they think the street is unsuitable for truck traffic and poses a safety hazard.

Although San Antonio shares control of Pompanic with St. Leo, the building would lie in St. Leo limits. That means site plan approval is up to its commission, not San Antonio. It's not clear what the city can do, if anything, to stop the plan if it's approved.

"We'll see," San Antonio Mayor Tim Newlon said. "At that point it becomes a legal issue."

The proposed facility — a 16,000-square-foot plant operations building — would bring daily truck traffic to Pompanic, including semi trucks. The street is already too narrow for cars heading opposite ways to pass one another, Newlon said, let alone trucks.

He said the street would likely need to be widened to avoid safety issues.

University engineer Peter Hubbell disagreed, however. A traffic study on Pompanic revealed the street saw 600 to 700 vehicles a day. He said the facility would add about 26 vehicles per day.

If the street's width is already an issue, Hubbell said, the facility's extra trips wouldn't warrant widening the street.

But he has already tried and failed using those figures to placate San Antonio's concerns about the university's plan. Hubbell and other university engineers met with residents May 14 to discuss using Pompanic. Afterward, San Antonio officials' and residents' minds were unchanged.

The university's persistence left many wondering, why not connect the facility's driveway to nearby State Road 52? Hubbell, however, said the university doesn't want a service road running through land it wants to eventually develop.

The building would stand on a nearly 12-acre vacant lot overlooking Lake Jovita. SR 52 borders the lot's southern edge. Pompanic and San Antonio border the east, and the Holy Name Monastery, which the university purchased last year, borders the west.

Original plans for the new facility had it using already existing roads through campus that entered from SR 52. But when the university purchased the 12-acre lot next to San Antonio, Hubbell said the university wanted to move the facility as far away from campus as possible.

The problem with that, Newlon said, is it places the facility where it becomes a problem for San Antonio and the town of St. Leo. He said that not only is Pompanic not wide enough for the facility's truck traffic, it's not strong enough.

"My fear is the road will deteriorate faster than it normally would," Newlon said. "Residents of San Ann and St. Leo will foot the bill for that."

The university disagrees, further contributing to the impasse. Pompanic is a general access street without a weight restriction, it said in a release. The university's analysis showed the street could handle weights far greater than that of the facility's truck traffic.

Newlon said that since an April meeting with St. Leo's former mayor, Hubbell and a university representative, he hasn't heard from the university.

Richard Christmas, St. Leo's current mayor and member of the town commission, said that when the university makes its case for the plan's approval Monday, they'll think of San Antonio.

"We want a plan that addresses both San Antonio's and the university's concerns," Christmas said.

San Antonio may not be able to stop planned Saint Leo University project 06/05/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 5, 2014 4:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. White nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida tonight and the school is on high alert for tensions. [Associated Press]
  2. Bowen: Park land deal raises Penny for Pasco questions

    Environment

    The Penny for Pasco is unambiguous.

    At least it is supposed to be.

    There was no equivocating in 2004 when Penny for Pasco supporters detailed how the sales tax proceeds would be spent: schools, transportation, public safety and environmental lands. No money for parks. No money for recreation.

    Pasco County is considering a loan from its Environmental Lands Acquisition and Mangement Program to buy land for a park in the Villages of Pasadena Hills in east-central Pasco. Shown here is the Jumping Gully Preserve in Spring Hil, acquired by ELAMP in 2009 and 2011.
[Douglas R. Clifford, Times]
  3. Another Tampa Bay agency loses tax credits worth millions in dispute over application error

    News

    LARGO — Another Tampa Bay housing agency has lost out on a multi-million dollar tax credit award because of problems with its application.

    A duplex in Rainbow Village, a public housing complex in Largo. The Pinellas County Housing Authority is planning to build new affordable-housing in the complex but was recently disqualified from a state tax credit award because of an issue with its application.
  4. Live blog: Many unknowns as Richard Spencer speaks in Gainesville today

    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]
  5. As Clearwater Marine Aquarium expands, it asks the city for help

    Growth

    CLEARWATER — When Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates saw an architect's initial design for the facility's massive expansion project, he told them to start all over.

    Clearwater Marine Aquarium Veterinarian Shelly Marquardt (left), Brian Eversole, Senior Sea Turtle and Aquatic Biologist (middle) and Devon Francke, Supervisor of Sea Turtle Rehab, are about to give a rescued juvenile green sea turtle, suffering from a lot of the Fibropapillomatosis tumors, fluids at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Wednesday afternoon. Eventually when the turtle is healthy enough the tumors will be removed with a laser and after it is rehabilitated it will be released back into the wild.  -  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is launching a $66 million renovation to expand its facilities to take in injured animals and space to host visitors. The aquarium is asking the city for a $5 million grant Thursday to help in the project. American attitudes toward captive animals are changing. Sea World is slipping after scrutiny on the ethics of captive marine life. But CEO David Yates says CMA is different, continuing its mission of rehab and release, it's goal is to promote education, not exploitation. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times