Tampa City Council decided Thursday that six months was long enough for a lumber company to find a new home for one of its elderly neighbors.
The council abandoned a compromise between Logan Lumber Co. and the residents of the old black neighborhood known as Dobyville and voted to expand a newly created residential zone in the community by three lots.
The vote came despite Logan Lumber's plea that it had shown Mrs. Rosella Bennett homes they could buy for her and that it couldn't move Bennett's home on Fig Street as promised because of zoning restrictions. "I think it's a communication problem," said council member Linda Saul-Sena.
"I think it is more than a communication problem," Council president Joe Greco said. "I am very disappointed that in all the time they have had to resolve this, they have not.
The lumber company and other businesses in the neighborhood roughly bound by Kennedy Boulevard, Interstate 275 and Rome and Willow avenues are fighting over how the area should be zoned.
Families in Dobyville say residential zoning is the first step toward revitalizing what had been a healthy black neighborhood bordered by black-owned businesses.
It was zoned out of existence in 1957, when a light industrial designation prohibited the building or rebuilding of homes in the area. Over the years, industries like Logan Lumber expanded and the number of homes shrank.
Under the Comprehensive Plan, the city agreed to create a core of residential zoning along North B and Fig Street between Willow and Rome avenues and allow both residential and commercial development elsewhere.
Last April, the City Council agreed to let Logan Lumber keep three lots available for future commercial expansion, including Bennett's lot, if the company relocated her. Since it did not, the three lots will be zoned residential.