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Zoning master recommends denial of plan to build RaceTrac station on wetlands area

BRANDON — The Hillsborough County zoning master has recommended the denial of a plan to build a RaceTrac gas station and convenience store on a wetlands area at the corner of Lumsden Road and Kings Avenue.

In his report, land use hearing officer Steven Luce found that the construction of the gas station is "not appropriate" at the site and does not fit with the comprehensive development plan for the area.

The Environmental Protection Commission also denied the request, according to the 12-page report.

At the Oct. 15 county zoning meeting, an attorney for RaceTrac Petroleum made a formal request to develop on the 2.5 acres of land, 1.3 acres of which are wetlands.

He argued that the new station and store would not only be convenient for nearby residents, but it would also create about 40 jobs and would bring in more tax revenues for the county.

The 2.5 acres are part of a larger, 55-acre tract of land that was zoned for professional and medical offices in 2002, provided that the wetlands area be protected.

At the same meeting, more than a dozen nearby residents protested the construction of the RaceTrac station, arguing that it was unnecessary to destroy the wetlands when there are plenty of other gas stations nearby.

They submitted more than 200 letters and petitions in opposition of the gas station.

The zoning master also recommended approval for rezoning a 25-acre lot near Brooker Road to construct 77 single-family residences.

Luce's recommendation will be sent to the County Commission, which will review the findings and have the final say on whether the development will be approved.