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Mobile home residents fight zoning change

(ran East, West editions)

A representative of the property's trustee says the change being proposed for land adjacent to the Park Ridge Mobile Home Park would benefit the area.

Park Ridge Mobile Home Park residents are worried that a request to extend commercial zoning into residential land will destroy their neighborhood.

As it is, 72 mobile home park lot owners are upset because of "junk cars" stored next door and what they describe as poor upkeep on the property.

Many of those park residents plan to attend Thursday's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to protest the zoning changes, says Dan Osborn, president of the park's board. The zoning board meets at 7:30 p.m. in the Pinellas Park City Hall, 5141 78th Ave. N.

At issue is about 3.5 acres of land at 6740 Park Blvd. The land fronting Park Boulevard is zoned commercial up to a depth of 155 feet. The southern portion is residential.

Salvador Greco, trustee for the property, has asked that the commercial zoning be extended south, so the commercial area would be 300 feet deep, or 145 feet more than allowed. A Pinellas Park zoning staff report says the change would enhance the property's redevelopment potential.

The remaining land still would be zoned residential.

But some Park Ridge residents are unhappy because extending the commercial area would mean they border commercial rather than residential property, Osborn said.

Greco could not be reached for comment, but his authorized agent, Jerome Slosberg, said he sees no problem with the change.

"It's commercial now," Slosberg said. The change from the present heavy commercial zoning designation to a more restrictive general commercial zoning would be "for the betterment of the whole area," he said.

The new commercial zoning would restrict the types of businesses that could locate there, Slosberg said. The new zoning would limit the possibilities to retail stores or such businesses as doctors' offices. An automobile sales business is on the property.

"It is to be used in a beneficial manner," Slosberg said. "It's going to be an asset, not a detriment to the community."

Slosberg said he could not say if the used automobile sales business would be kicked off the property if the zoning change is granted.

Pinellas Park would not require it.

While the new zoning would be more restrictive, the car business could stay, said zoning coordinator Wayne Wells.

"Whatever's there when the zoning changes is grandfathered if it does not conform to the zoning," Wells said. He said he is unsure if the auto business is allowed under the proposed zoning.

Wells said the proposed zoning could allow Greco to put busier businesses than retail stores or doctors' offices on the property. Under the proposed zoning, such businesses as auto body shops, major auto repair, light manufacturing and some warehouses would be okay if Pinellas Park approves.