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Developers favor commercial over residential

The following development proposals were submitted for review.

KEYSTONE: It's rare in these parts for a landowner to choose commercial development over homes.

But after speaking with county planners, Jack and Myrle Elliott and William Wylie decided that developing their 10 acres for future businesses and professional offices is a better idea.

The property is on Tobacco Road near the Suncoast Parkway and Veterans Expressway. The Elliotts own 6 acres; Wylie owns 3.8 acres. They are from Lutz.

A zoning hearing master is scheduled to hear the request on Oct. 25, followed by an appearance before the Hillsborough County Commission on Dec. 14. (Petition 04-1720).

TOWN 'N COUNTRY: There's a new plan for a 12.5-acre parcel near Town & Country Hospital.

Mission III development Group, LLC, wants to rezone the land for 60,000 square feet of office space in connection with the hospital.

The property east of Webb Road is set aside for single-family homes and a 630-space parking lot. The lot used to be zoned for an adult congregate living facility and a child care center, but commissioners modified that plan last year.

A zoning hearing master is scheduled to hear the proposal on Nov. 15. Commissioners are scheduled to consider it on Jan. 11. (Petition 04-1679).

NORTHDALE: Wal-Mart wants to build a larger fence at its Ehrlich Road complex than the retail giant originally agreed to.

Several months ago, commissioners approved conditions for Wal-Mart's expanded garden center off N Dale Mabry Highway that included a 4-foot masonry wall with a 2-foot wrought-iron fence on top. Wal-Mart is coming back with a request for a 10-foot ornamental fence, largely to prevent theft, it says.

Commissions are scheduled to review the proposal on Oct. 26. (Petition 04-1722).

KEYSTONE: Here's something for Fido, not to mention his or her owners.

Jeffrey and Vickie Downing want to convert 2.4 acres they won off Lutz-Lake Fern Road into a small-scale dog training facility. They'd also like to add an indoor boarding complex in the future. The property, at the northwest corner with Angel Lane, is now zoned for single-family homes.

The proposal goes before a zoning hearing master on Nov. 15, followed by the commissioners on Jan. 11. (Petition 04-1684).

CARROLLWOOD: Townhouses are in, and Yoel Bush Construction Services wants to be part of the development craze.

The local company has a request to rezone a 0.7-acre parcel on Orange Grove Drive to allow for up to 12 units per acre, up from current zoning that only allows six units per acre.

The request is scheduled to go before a zoning hearing master on Oct. 25, followed by an appearance before the commissioners on Dec. 14. (Petition 04-1757).

TOWN 'N COUNTRY: The owners of land next to Rocky Creek see offices, not homes, on their 2.6 acres.

Mark Cain and 4M Development Corp. want commissioners to rezone the property from medium-density residential to a planned development for office use. The proposal envisions two buildings with 14,000 square feet of space. (Petition 04-1683).

The Hillsborough County Commission made the following decisions Tuesday.

WESTCHASE: Oaksbury Drive isn't just any ol' street to the the Shires.

The main entrance to the 235-home subdivision has become part of its heart and soul, resident Ruben Collazo told the commissioners this week. After hearing his plea not to consider a new access route off Countryway Boulevard _ now a major thoroughfare in this fast-growing area _ the board voted unanimously to take the idea off the table.

Residents, including children on bikes, use Oaksbury daily, he said.

"This really has become the main street of the Shires Village, and the last thing we want to see is a curb cut there," he said, adding that residents collected 210 names on a petition opposing the connection.

Collazo called this a rare occasion when residents agree with the developer, whose representative, Michael Horner, asked for the opportunity to review other options with county planners. That made sense to commissioners and planners.

Zoning administrator Paula Harvey said there may be an access route off Countryway north of Oaksbury that could satisfy everyone.

"I think at a minimum we're giving the community a level of comfort," Commissioner Ken Hagan said.

Commissioners will consider other options at their Sept. 28 land-use meeting. (Petition 04-1412).

KEYSTONE: Lynmar Commercial Park started out with a grand industrial vision. The residential real estate boom changed all that.

Now just 53 acres of the 219-acre parcel remain undeveloped. Instead of an area defined by business, much of the land consists of houses. Amprop Development Corp. wants to scale back the project even further by eliminating more than 550,000 square feet of proposed buildout.

Commissioners agreed with the plan.

Amprop representative Kevin Mineer asked the board to downsize 188,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet of commercial space, enough for free-standing retail uses. He also sought to drop 400,000 square feet of industrial space _ fully one quarter of the original plan.

"We believe phase 3 will never be built," he said.

Despite the changes, Mineer said Amprop would follow earlier agreements regarding signs and tree preservation. (Petition 04-0720).

TOWN 'N COUNTRY _ County commissioners have cleared the way for about 65 townhouses on Theresa Street, south of Robin Hood Road. The townhouses were approved in a pair of rezonings last Tuesday, each adopted on a 4-2 vote. Commissioners expressed concerns about the townhomes' close proximity to the county's Coastal High Hazard Area, and having only Theresa Street as access. But planners assured them the county won't approve construction permits without requiring significant road improvements. (Petitions 04-972 and 04-1116)

CARROLLWOOD: First Citrus Bank received the rezoning it needed to build a three-story bank in place of a Shell gasoline station at N Dale Mabry Highway and Floyd Road. Michael Cantwell, representing homeowners in the area, said neighbors weren't opposed to a bank building but are worried about traffic impacts at the intersection. A county transportation planner said a consultant's study is under way about turning movements along much of N Dale Mabry. (Petition 04-1517).

CARROLLWOOD: Commissioners postponed until Sept. 28 a proposal to combine two shopping centers into one, and add stores in the parking lots. The rezoning would affect the Shoppes of Carrollwood, of which The St. Petersburg Times is a tenant, and Carrollwood Colonial Square. (Petition 04-807)

LUTZ: An office complex was approved for nearly an acre on U.S. 41 at Fifth Avenue NE, which had been zoned for apartments. The site is between a cemetery and a dentist's office. (Petition 04-1293).

CARROLLWOOD: Commissioners approved a medical office park across Ehrlich Road from Ben Hill Middle School. The 10,000-square-foot project would be called Pennington Professional Park. (Petition 04-1090).

TOWN 'N COUNTRY: Another medical complex, near the southeast corner of Sheldon and Mayflower roads, also was approved. Commissioners discussed whether the 3-acre project would be compatible with apartments nearby, but concluded the neighborhood contained a mix of land uses. (Petition 04-970).

Land Use Hearing Officer James Scarola recommended approval of the following developments.

TOWN 'N COUNTRY: Carrollwood Gardens, a proposed two-story complex of 68 townhomes, would complement other medium-density residential projects in the area, Scarola said.

Agreeing with conditions suggested by the county's Department of Planning and Growth Management, he said the buildings should be limited to two stories and incorporate a minimum of 20-foot setbacks along the eastern, western and northern boundaries within the development. In addition, he recommended 20-foot setbacks along Lois Avenue and Humphrey Street.

Planners want the developer to construct sidewalks in front of homes and preserve several grand oaks.

Hillsborough County commissioners are scheduled to vote on the rezoning at their Oct. 12 meeting. (Petition 04-1159).

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