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Townhome project faces drainage, density issues

PALM RIVER: Townhomes are becoming a ubiquitous part of the Brandon area landscape.

Developers like them because they fit a lot of homes into a small space; buyers like them because they're less expensive and easier to care for than single-family homes.

But people who live in the neighborhoods where builders propose to build townhomes often object to their arrival.

That's what's happening in a Palm River neighborhood.

Marisela Perera is trying to get 9.5 acres on the southwest corner of 12th Avenue and Maydell Drive rezoned to planned development. The property currently is zoned for one home per acre.

Site plans initially called for 22 single-family homes and 39 townhomes on the parcel. But community members, wielding nearly 100 letters from their neighbors, voiced opposition to the project at a zoning hearing on Sept. 16, citing the density of the proposal and flooding it might cause.

Zoning official Martin Smith recommended denial of Perera's request in October, largely because of the townhomes; the County Commission then sent the plan back to the developers for revisions. The developers came back with a new plan showing 19 single-family homes and 28 townhomes.

Still, Smith on Jan. 9 again recommended that the County Commission deny Perera's request.

According to Smith, the developer still has not resolved issues related to drainage.

More important, though, is the population density that townhomes would bring to the area.

The parcel, Smith wrote in his opinion, is the last remaining undeveloped land in a rural-residential area.

"To inject an isolated project containing townhomes into such an environment is ... clearly inappropriate," Smith wrote.

The County Commission is scheduled to consider the request Tuesday. (Petition 03-0973)

A zoning official is scheduled to consider the following requests April 7.

BRANDON: Southern Heritage Neighborhoods has asked the county to rezone 22 acres on the northeast corner of Guiles and Brucken roads to planned development. Southern Heritage wants to build 40 single-family homes on the site. The parcel, currently developed with one home and an orange grove, has an agricultural zoning that allows one home per acre. (Petition 04-0461)

TURKEY CREEK: Members of the Springer family have asked the county to rezone 9 acres on the south side of State Road 60 2 miles east of Dover Road to planned development. The parcel currently has an agricultural zoning that allows one home per 5 acres. It now holds one single-family home and a citrus grove. The Springers want the zoning change to accommodate expansion of the 38-acre Citrus Hills RV Park, which has 228 RV units. The additional parcel would allow 55 more RV spaces. (Petition 04-0466)

BLOOMINGDALE: Sam and Mary Reina want to rezone 15 acres on Bloomingdale Avenue 700 feet east of John Moore Road to planned development. The parcel currently has agricultural zoning that allows one home per acre. Site plans show up to 30,000 square feet of office space on the site and 35 single-family homes. (Petition 04-0465)

When and where

Hearings of county zoning hearing masters and land use hearing officers, and land use meetings of the County Commission are held on the second floor of the County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd. All hearings before a zoning hearing master begin at 6 p.m. on Mondays or Tuesdays; commission meetings begin at 9 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Both are televised on government access channels. Land use hearing officer hearings, which are not televised, begin at 9 a.m. every third Friday. Basic information about each petition is available online at www.hillsboroughcounty.org/pgm/ zoning/hearings.html hearing date. For information, call 276-2058.

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