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Wal-Mart gets desired zoning

Developers of a Wal-Mart, proposed for Gunn Highway and Henderson Road, have been granted a "brownfield designation" for a portion of the 68-acre site.

But it didn't come easy.

"They had to work for it," Jean Carson, who lives in Citrus Park and lobbied against the designation.

"We feel like we really got a victory because county commissioners didn't just slide it through."

A super-sized Wal-Mart, a retail/office park, restaurants and apartments are proposed for a parcel that once was home to a paint plant, but for years has been idle because of contamination.

Hillsborough County Commissioners paved the way for Wal-Mart to receive business tax credits by granting a brownfield designation on the 40 acres where Wal-Mart will sit,.

The term brownfield designation applies to any property that is contaminated, or perceived to be contaminated, that adds little to the tax roles and depresses neighboring land.

County Commissioners used the designation meetings to gain assurances from Wal-Mart's developer, Buckley Schuler Properties of Atlanta, that the store would be a good neighbor and that the site was consistent with the county's comprehensive land use plan.

They "had a lot of questions for the applicant in terms of meetings with neighbors and how the store would be developed," said Dan Blood, brownfield project director for the county.

Some of those issues included lighting, buffering and policing of shopping carts, Blood said.

"We were able to come to an agreement with the community," said Jim Dunphy, Buckley Shuler's development manager."All is well."

Developers plan to start construction on the 235,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter, as well as restaurants, an office park and 440 apartments next spring.

_ Jackie Ripley can be reached at (813) 269-5308 or ripleysptimes.com.

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