Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Town 'N Country residents fume over dirt pile

About 60,000 cubic yards of dirt has been heaped onto a vacant lot on Sheldon Road between Cluster Avenue and Flora Street. A zoning official said it presents a hazard to kids.


About 60,000 cubic yards of dirt has been heaped onto a vacant lot on Sheldon Road between Cluster Avenue and Flora Street. A zoning official said it presents a hazard to kids.

A sky-high pile of dirt on Sheldon Road between Cluster Avenue and Flora Street has neighbors seeing red and county officials seeing code violations.

"It's incredible that this could take place in just a matter of weeks,'' said code enforcement's Gene Minkel. "The dirt pile wasn't approved, and current zoning does not allow it.''

The 60,000 cubic yards of dirt, piled on a vacant lot in a residential neighborhood, came from the Tampa International Airport interchange construction project. The contractor is Flatiron-Tidewater Skanska.

It was Jason's Hauling, however, that dumped the dirt and then told county officials it had a lease agreement with property owners Nicolas and Konstantina Tsokos, Minkel said.

Calls to Jason's Hauling were not returned. Neither were calls to Nicolas Tsokos. Tsokos' attorney, Jack Larkin, declined to comment.

Hillsborough County, meanwhile, has issued a cease and desist order to keep any more dirt from being piled onto the 60-foot mound.

"People keep asking why the county authorized this, but the county has not approved of anything,'' said Christa Hull, environmental supervisor for planning and growth management. "We're trying to enforce our regulations. We're trying to get them to cooperate and restore the property.''

Minkel agreed. The dirt presents a serious problem.

"There's a potential hazard to kids,'' Minkel said. "And in a serious storm there could be movement of earth, it could block drainage, cause flooding and damage to adjacent properties.''

Hull said she will ask the county to fine the property owner for failing to comply with the county's land development code. Fines could go as high as thousands of dollars a day, she said.

The dirt pile also was the subject of a flurry of e-mails among civic leaders in Town 'N Country. They say it gives the community a black eye and is a public hazard.

"It's a classic example of how it's easier to get forgiveness than to get permission,'' said Bill Browne, chairman of the Town 'N Country Alliance.

"How about if they put it next to one of the fairways at Rocky Creek golf course. I think it would be a great hazard for golfers.''

Jackie Ripley can be reached at or (813) 269-5308.

Town 'N Country residents fume over dirt pile 03/20/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2008 6:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Power struggle: Latvala targets Putnam's large donations from electric utilities


    TALLAHASSEE — The 2018 race for Florida governor will be about power — not just political power, but electric power.

    Scott Crellin, a trouble man for Duke Energy, works to cut tree limbs from a Tarpon Springs power line after Hurricane Irma. The utility's problems with getting power restored after the storm, and it's contributions to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's campaign for governor, have become an issue in the governor's race. [CHRIS URSO  |   Times]

  2. Authors R.L. Stine, Neil DeGrasse Tyson coming to Tampa Bay this week


    AUTHORS: Neil deGrasse Tyson, R. L. Stine, Finn Murphy

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12:  Author R.L. Stine attends “Goosebumps” New York premiere at AMC Empire 25 theater on October 12, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
  3. Brothers' fatal shootout at Plant City ranch draws lawsuit from survivor


    TAMPA — George "Terry" Long escaped with his life last spring when his wife's ex-husband tried to gun him down at Plant City's Rocking V Ranch.

    This Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office photo shows part of the scene at the Rocking V ranch in Plant City where two brothers were shot dead April 15 during a family confrontation. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Florida Gators' Jordan Sherit out for the year after hip surgery


    Florida Gators defensive lineman Jordan Sherit will miss the rest of the season after undergoing hip surgery earlier this week, coach Jim McElwain said Wednesday morning.

    "It's a bad deal, man," McElwain said.

  5. 5 things to do under $5: Wiener dog racing, Streetcar Festival, Clearwater chalk art, Dia De Los Muertos


    1Wienerfest: They had us at wiener dog racing. This day devoted to dachshunds features racing, a dog costume contest, food trucks, photo booth and raffles at the Florida State Fairgrounds on Saturday. Leashed dogs of all breeds welcome. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. Free admission. (407) …

    An entry in the costume contest from 2015's annual Dia de los Muertos Fiesta, or Day of the Dead Festival, hosted by Casa Tina's Mexican Restaurant.
photo courtesy Mikell Herrick