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Commission rejects plans for factory

Developers were discouraged from making concrete on State Road 52 near the Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club. But what about concrete products?

Nice try, but no, the County Commission told representatives of SR52 Bellamy Land Trust on Tuesday.

In fact, manufacturing of concrete products doesn't belong in any light industrial area, commissioners ruled at their meeting in the Historic County Courthouse in Dade City.

The commission voted down a plan by the land trust to make noise and wall barriers on the site with concrete trucked in from elsewhere.

"How anybody calls that light industry is just mind-boggling," Commissioner Steve Simon said. "I don't think this belongs in any light industrial (area), anywhere."

In February, representatives of the land trust yanked their application to change the land use and zoning to heavy industry for a concrete plant on 10 acres on the south side of State Road 52, a half-mile east of Bellamy Brothers Boulevard.

They did so after 200 residents from the Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club protested the change at an earlier meeting before the County Commission, which frowned on the plan.

Since rezoning to allow a concrete plant looked unlikely, the land trust asked zoning officials to rule that the manufacturing of concrete panels for noise barriers or fencing would be allowed there on the now-vacant property with their current zoning of light industry.

Zoning Administrator Debra Zampetti agreed with the land trust. She said their plans amount to the construction of building supplies. That's allowed in light industry areas.

Opponents appealed to the County Commission.

On Tuesday, about 100 residents of Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club were back. They showed up with black-suited representatives of Hillcrest Preserve, a nearby planned development approved for almost 1,600 homes and nearly 720,000 square feet of commercial and office space on 668 acres.

Opponents accused the land trust of being sneaky and trying to get what it wants by going around the County Commission through the zoning staff.

"Their intent was to do it at a level so it would never be brought up here," said attorney Joel Tew, representing developers of Hillcrest. "It was a backdoor, end-run sidestep."

He argued that light industrial areas do not allow the manufacture of concrete products. Also, the passage of heavy trucks and open display of the panelmaking process would not be compatible with the residential area, he said.

Fred Lowndes, former county zoning director, represented the land trust. The site's zoning allows owners to make building materials, he said.

"That's all this is," he said. But commissioners said the business did not belong in light industrial areas.

In other business Tuesday, the commission delayed for one week voting on the purchase of 144 acres in Wesley Chapel for park space for $1.72-million to give the seller time to sign necessary paperwork. The issue will be considered at the meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the West Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey.

Also, the commission voted unanimously to move ahead with plans to try revitalizing neighborhoods in west Pasco. A county consultant targeted three areas: Brown Acres in Port Richey, the Holiday Hill subdivision and Sunnydale in Hudson. Community Development officials will start by mailing surveys to Brown Acres residents to gauge their interest.

The commission also scheduled the first public hearing for the 2002-03 budget for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Historic County Courthouse in Dade City.

_ Saundra Amrhein covers Pasco County government. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6244, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6244. Her e-mail address is amrheinsptimes.com.

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