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Residents are still opposing Pebble Creek storage facility

Neighbors say they will fight the proposed facility when it comes up before the City Council for rezoning.

Some residents still aren't sold on a plan to open a self-storage facility across from Pebble Creek, despite assurances that the building would blend in with the community.

About 20 people attended a meeting with the developer Thursday to go over details of the four-story storage building along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Most live in Pebble Creek or West Meadows near the proposed business.

Many vowed to fight the facility when it comes up for rezoning before the City Council. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the council chambers, 315 E Kennedy Blvd.

"I just don't feel that this fits with the overall residential area of New Tampa," said Marshall Adams of West Meadows.

Most said it doesn't matter what the developer does to make the building more attractive. They simply don't like the idea.

"I don't want a warehouse in front of my community," said Dana Melnick of Pebble Creek. "We are always the ones that get it. First we get Wal-Mart and now this."

David Smith, a land-use consultant representing the developer, Randy X. Ferreira, said the 85,000-square-foot storage facility would have minimal impact on the community. It would create less traffic than retail businesses and hardly be visible from Bruce B. Downs, he said.

"This is a good use of the site in terms of aesthetics and transportation impact," he said.

According to Smith, market studies have shown the facility would do well in the area. The bulk of customers would come from apartments, small starter homes and deed-restricted communities that require people to use garages for cars, not stuff.

"They wouldn't be building this if they didn't think there was a need for it," Smith said.

George Faugl, president of the New Tampa Community Council, said he has never rented storage space in his 30 years as a homeowner and doubts many people would use it. The warehouse would be an eyesore, regardless of how far back it is from Bruce B. Downs, he said.

"A warehouse is a warehouse," he said. "That's what it is, even if it's compartmentalized."

The building would have 640 units and cost about $4-million. Customers would have round-the-clock access to their space through a locked gate, although the developer said he would consider limiting the hours if neighbors objected. An on-site manager would live in a detached apartment at the front of the property.

This isn't the first self-storage warehouse New Tampa residents have opposed. A developer dropped plans to build a similar facility on Cross Creek Boulevard after neighbors said it would detract from the area.

_ Susan Thurston can be reached at (813) 226-3463 or thurstonsptimes.com.

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