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Need dirt for that Rocky Point dredge and fill? The Florida State Fair is at your service

A controversial proposal to fill three acres of open water in Tampa Bay for expensive town homes in the Rocky Point neighborhood has stirred strong feelings. And an offer of dirt from the Florida State Fair Authority.
ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times
The lagoon bordered by private Scarborough Park on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. A developer wants to dredge and fill 3 acres of this open water to make room for townhouses. Neighbors and local businesses are furious but Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved the project, saying that it met existing zoning requirements.
ALESSANDRA DA PRA | Times The lagoon bordered by private Scarborough Park on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. A developer wants to dredge and fill 3 acres of this open water to make room for townhouses. Neighbors and local businesses are furious but Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved the project, saying that it met existing zoning requirements.
Published May 16, 2018
Updated May 17, 2018

A plan to fill in a patch of open water in Tampa Bay gained a preliminary green light this week, but many more steps remain before a lagoon in Rocky Point turns from water into land for expensive town homes.

Prime Companies, an Albany, New York-area developer, still needs a permit to fill in the bay from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and approval from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission.

More details have emerged about the project that has angered nearby Dana Shores residents and environmentalists.

Prime's local representative, David B. Dickey declined comment when asked where the developer planned to find enough dirt to fill three acres of water off N Rocky Point Drive.

Dickey said late Tuesday it would be "premature" to talk about it.

Meanwhile, the story caught the eye of the Florida State Fair Authority.

On Wednesday, Brian Keller, the authority's facilities director , contacted the Tampa Bay Times to see if the developer need any free dirt.

"If this project is approved we have hundreds of yards of fill dirt we would be more than happy to donate to the project. We would not ask for anything in return, we would like to just save some money by not having to pay a trucking company to remove and dispose of it for us," wrote Keller in an email.

The local Sierra Club chapter has vowed to vigorously oppose what is likely the first significant "dredge and fill" operation in decades in Tampa Bay, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is staying out of the fight.

The mayor doesn't have a position on the issue. It's a council matter, his spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said in an email Tuesday.

The City Council will consider the project at its June 28 meeting.

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