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Unfinished roads stalling business park development

Two roads, or the lack of them, may put the brakes on a 386-acre business park in northwest Hillsborough County. The Tri-County Business Park, off Racetrack Road near the

Hillsborough-Pinellas county line, ran into trouble with the Tampa Bay

Regional Planning Council this week. The reason, according to planner Suzanne Cooper, is that two roads intended to handle more than half the traffic generated by the park are not yet in place.

That would put many more motorists on State Road 580, an already

traffic-clogged, two-lane road running between Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

"580 is a serious-problem roadway," Cooper said.

But the missing roads are not Tri-County's responsibility. They are projects being built by three other area developers.

One of the roads is an east-west link between Forest Lakes Boulevard and Racetrack Road.

Developers of Cypress Lakes, a planned residential community near Oldsmar, are responsible for installing a portion of that east-west road. They recently were given an extension and plan to begin building later this year.

"At a recent public hearing, they said nobody else had built their portions so the road wouldn't go anywhere," Cooper said.

Tampa Bay Park of Commerce, responsible for another portion of that road, has completed designs and is waiting for approval.

The second missing road is an extension of Linebaugh Avenue, which is tied to an approved development that has no immediate time frame.

Those roads are necessary to carry 52 percent of the park's traffic, Cooper said. "It would be another corridor essentially parallel to (SR) 580," she said.

The situation became further complicated because separate governing bodies - Hillsborough County, Pinellas County and the city of Oldsmar - are involved, Cooper said.

Although the project was approved by the Hillsborough County Commission in December, the Planning Council can appeal that approval through the Florida Land and Water Adjudication Commission. They will do so by the end of the month, Cooper said.

James J. Shapiro, president of Rutenburg Corp. investment properties division, said a compromise would be reached between his company and the council. He would not elaborate.