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A new business near Four Oaks? Maybe, or maybe not

Published Sep. 27, 2005

An unnamed company is interested in building a drugstore near the Four Oaks community that could help cure some of what ails the neighborhood.

Real estate agent Al Rodd of Advantage Realty said he is negotiating on behalf of a company that wants to buy a 1.66-acre lot at the northeast corner of Four Oaks Road and Gunn Highway.

"The buyer will possibly put a freestanding drugstore there," Rodd said, declining to name the prospective buyer. "But we've got to get the property before we can do anything. One of the parties doesn't want to sell."

County records show that the lot is owned by Peter and Dora Fernandez and that it has an assessed value, for tax purposes, of $45,700.

The lot is zoned residential, and Rodd said the company would most likely offer to help pay for some type of improvement project in Four Oaks in exchange for residents' support for a commercial rezoning.

He said this type of dealmaking between corporations and homeowners is becoming more common as residents have more influence in rezoning petitions that affect their property values.

"I think it's extortion _ friendly extortion," he said. "I can understand some civic associations wanting some improvements and I think it's understandable as long as it's reasonable."

The Four Oaks neighborhood is one of the oldest subdivisions in the Carrollwood area. It is a collection of dilapidated mobile homes, junk piles and modest but tidy houses. The residents have recently begun to organize and ask the county to invest more money in the community's infrastructure.

They want to raise property values by adding sidewalks, improving drainage and replacing septic and well systems with county water and sewer service.

Four Oaks community activist Brenda Hendrick said a drugstore development at the entrance to the neighborhood could be a good thing.

"I would hope it would (improve the image of the neighborhood) and cause people to be more responsible and more aware of the looks of their property," she said.

In other Four Oaks news, Hendrick detailed a list of community problems to County Commissioner Jim Norman during a meeting of the Carrollwood Area Association of Neighborhoods on Tuesday.

"I feel we have been neglected," she said.

While trying to clean up the area where she was born and raised, Hendrick has made a few enemies among her longtime neighbors who are set in their ways. She said some people are unhappy about her reporting their dogs to animal services or complaining about them to code enforcement.

Norman invited Hendrick to contact his office with any problems that could be addressed by the county. Then he offered her a bit of advice on how she might be more effective in making improvements.

"Instead of sending a team of code enforcement officers to come in and bust everybody, I would hope the neighbors could get together to improve your community by working together," Norman said. "We don't want to have neighbor against neighbor if at all possible."

_ Tim Grant can be reached at 226-3471 or