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Lake Hutto news lands with a thud

Published Dec. 8, 2006

Is Lake Hutto the right development at the right time in the right place?

The new Board of County Commissioners voted to approve the sprawling, 3,400-home Lake Hutto Development of Regional Impact (on Tuesday) despite objections from state officials and area residents.

Among the issues raised by such a large-scale development:

All area schools are over capacity and require new wings. The School District will need to build a new high school, middle school and two elementary schools for Lake Hutto. Adding a wing to Newsome High School will handle only the large number of eighth-graders moving into FishHawk Ranch.

School officials testified at a February public hearing that the new middle and elementary schools would be built with $55-million diverted from schools planned in a nearby retirement community. Why can't the School Board modify the student-generation rates to accurately reflect that there are more students in master-planned communities and none in retirement communities?

Lake Hutto will add 58,000 daily vehicle trips to a region where all impacted roads have gotten a "failing" grade.

Why isn't the county requiring Pulte Homes to fund the $9.4-million to widen Boyette Road from four to six lanes since that is the road most impacted by the development?

Pulte's plan for widening the roads will funnel traffic onto overcrowded Bloomingdale and Boyette roads. Bloomingdale Road can't be widened past four lanes, and Boyette Road probably can't be widened to the six lanes required for Lake Hutto. Everyone will be stuck!

Will the improvements happen? On time? Or will Pulte delay or fail to do them?

Where have all of our tax dollars gone? The area contributes the highest proportional share of tax dollars to the county's budget, yet all schools and roads are overcrowded.

Why isn't the county constructing a fire station and library as promised at the yet-to-be-built FishHawk Sports Complex?

The county is collecting $1-billion in capital improvement taxes, yet only $50-million has been earmarked for southeastern Hillsborough County.

Jose Sam, Lithia