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Townhomes' allure not felt by all

GIBSONTON: The developer promised to improve the neighborhood with a 57-unit townhome complex on 10 acres.

Dixie Tool and Die, the property owner, is asking for a zoning change from agricultural rural to a planned development. The property would abut Gibsonton Drive and Nundy Avenue between Alafia and Gloria streets. It would offer a secured gatehouse, pool, clubhouse and a two-story enclosed parking garage.

Michael Horner, a planning consultant representing developer Causeway LLC, opened his remarks to the zoning hearing master last week claiming a high level of support among neighbors.

Then he contrasted the ponds, fountains and pitched roofs designed for the property with the semitrailer trucks, recreational vehicles and parked carnival rides to the north, calling his client's project "an unmet need in the Gibsonton community."

Two residents objected, one arguing on behalf of wildlife. The other, Jean Leonard, who lives adjacent to the project, called the townhomes "row homes" and complained about overcrowding and crime caused by development.

Horner replied by defending the townhomes as an attractive alternative for the area. Prices would start at $200,000.

County commissioners will hear the case on March 7. (PETITION 06-0120)

PLANT CITY: Plans for new developments are coming with bigger yards and more space set back from the road. An application for a 29-acre subdivision continues that pattern.

Property owner Wallace Peacock seeks a rezoning from agricultural to a planned development. The site would provide 28 houses bounded by Holloway Road, Turkey Creek Road and County Road 39.

Most of those homes would take up close to an acre, although homes in the interior of the development would have to settle for half an acre.

Front setbacks from the street are a proposed 30 feet. Distances from the rear of houses to the property line run 50 feet. The case goes to the County Commission on March 7. (PETITION 06-0098)

APOLLO BEACH: If commissioners approve, another community with shops and living space could crop up on the northeast corner of U.S. 41 and Leisey Road. At a zoning hearing master's meeting last week, Kevin Menear of the Genesis Group said that the project would offer commercial, office and residential space.

South Shore Falls would build up to 347 housing units and would resemble nearby developments Shore Park and Mirabay. Property owner Betty Jo Council is seeking a zoning change from agricultural to a planned development.

The developer would build at least two stories for part of the project so that residents could live above commercial sites, Menear said.

The Genesis Group has also offered to extend Leisey Road east of U.S. 41 and would build South Shore Falls around the extended road. County commissioners will hear the case March 7. (PETITION 06-120)

Andrew Meacham can be reached at 661-2431 or