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Developer aims for compromise

A developer for the Tampa Bay Park of Commerce will present a new plan to the City Council tonight and hopes it will be the final compromise.

Joel Tew, attorney for Michael Swerdlow Cos., released a proposal Monday that calls for the construction of 225 homes north of Linebaugh Avenue. Swerdlow would pay $60,000 to the city toward the construction of a new fire station and $1,000 per home to the School Board for the construction of additional classrooms at Forest Lakes Elementary School.

"It is a compromise that would allow residences north of Linebaugh with a little more density and a little more flexibility," Tew said.

Tew said the developer would not appear before the Pinellas County Commission today as planned. The developer has asked the county for a continuance on its request for rezoning so it can talk to the city about its latest proposal.

Other stipulations include:

Designating the rest of the property north of Linebaugh as commercial.

Relocating a 6-acre commercial parcel north of Linebaugh.

Eliminating the park site north of Linebaugh and designating the conservation area south of Linebaugh as a park site for recreational use.

Keeping land south of Linebaugh other than the commercial area and possibly the commercial parcel zoned for industry.

Robert Berg, the developer's regional vice president, said the housing would occupy about 60 acres north of Linebaugh. The park is north of Tampa Road and west of Racetrack Road.

The developer had wanted to build 500 homes at the site, a proposal soundly rejected by the city. City planners have said a large development would drain city services and crowd schools.

Mayor Jerry Beverland has said he would consider homes north of Linebaugh.

Berg said that if the council responds favorably, the developer will provide a more complete presentation. If it rejects the plan, the developer will go to the county.

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