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Project delays anger Oldsmar council

City Council members, shaking with anger at what they saw as another snub from the developers of Collen-Rood, threatened Tuesday night to slam the door on the project. A representative of Collen-Rood skipped the council meeting, setting off a flood of criticism from council members over the endless delays in the project.

"This is abuse of the city's time and I resent it," said council member Richard J. Massman.

Collen-Rood is a proposed 135-acre residential and office development south of Tampa Road. Owners Keith Collen and Edward Rood Sr. have pursued the development for years, but still nothing has been built on the property.

Last week, the council decided to condemn a clubhouse on the property in hopes it would push the owners to begin construction.

Rood has said the key to starting the project is an overgrown, unused golf course, which the city is scheduled to get as a public course once the project is under way.

The council delayed a public hearing Tuesday on changes to its agreement with Collen-Rood until March 6, but not before several frustrated council members unleashed another in a series of comments about the delays.

"I guarantee if we put an item (on next month's agenda) that says we are going to declare the development order null and void, they'll show up," council member Jerry Provenzano said.

He and others stopped short of calling for the end of the city's discussions with Collen-Rood. But all expressed disgust at the delays.

"They have come and agreed and agreed and agreed, then they change their mind the next time," said Massman.

The city attorney said he received a call from R. Bruce McLaughlin, Collen-Rood's designated spokesman. McLaughlin said he wouldn't attend Tuesday's meeting because he wasn't able to reach Rood during the day as Rood, a Tampa lawyer, was in court.

In other action, the council put off a public hearing on allowing Vision Cable to serve some parts of Oldsmar. Vision Cable's attorney could not make Tuesday's hearing, so the council decided to delay its decision until March 6.

TCI Cablevision serves 2,300 customers in Oldsmar, but some residents have complained about inadequate service. Vision Cable is seeking the right to serve areas of the city that were annexed after Aug. 27, 1982. That includes the massive Cypress Lakes project, which could double the population of Oldsmar when it is built.