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Planners approve revised mall plan

A regional mall planned for the northeast corner of N Dale Mabry Highway and Van Dyke Road once again has won the approval of Hillsborough County's Planning and Development Management Department.

Planners on Tuesday filed their report and recommendation on the 1.3-million square foot mall proposed by Advance Leasing of Port Richey.

Their approval is important because it is a key factor county commissioners will consider when they vote on whether to allow the 193 acre site to be rezoned so a mall can be built there.

The project was at the end of the county's rezoning process late last month when Advance Leasing representatives suddenly modified their plans, moving the rezoning application back to square one.

The changes were made in response to planners' concerns and the strong opposition to the project from residents of Lutz . Opponents say a regional mall is too much development for their rural neighborhood.

Although the original proposal and the modified one were approved by county planners, a lengthy list of conditions was attached each time.

This time, as last, the conditions mainly deal with a 5 acre wetland on the mall site and other surrounding environmentally sensitive land, said Steve Luce, a principal planner with the county.

A public hearing before one of the county's zoning hearing masters remains before the mall is voted on by the County Commission. The hearing is set for Tuesday, and the commission is scheduled to take its vote Aug. 10.

Commissioners will consider recommendations of the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission, the zoning hearing master and Planning and Development Management when they vote.