Friday, November 14, 2008

Public Hearing, Monday, Nov.17, 6pm, County Center

Alert from Mariella Smith, Ruskin, FL:
Public Hearing for the horrid proposal of a new subdivision in the middle of a nature preserve plus wetlands:

Monday night, November 17 at 6:00 p.m., at County Center, 2nd floor (601 E. Kennedy Blvd.).
The item is #9 on the agenda.

This proposed zoning change would pave a road right through the Balm Scrub Preserve (a county-owned ELAPP Nature Preserve), running north-south, connecting to county road 672. They also propose a new 4-lane road crossing Bullfrog Creek, running east-west. Both roads cross Essential Wildlife Habitat and wetlands, and would have terrible environmental impacts. The only reason for these roads is to build a big subdivision in the rural area -- the roads do not serve any current residents. (see maps

The site of the proposed project (which includes multi-family townhouses in the Rural Area!is now approved and ranked "A" for conservation as part of a larger area that the county hopes to acquire and protect under our ELAPP program as a nature preserve. This site should not be developed — it should be preserved!

The proposal is for 1089 houses on 537 acres adjacent to Balm Scrub preserve, surrounded by Essential Wildlife Habitat (Gopher tortoises, Kestrels, plus deer, bobcats, foxes and more). The ELAPP preserve wraps around the east and north sides of the proposed subdivision. Bullfrog Creek runs along the west and south sides. This site is the "hole in the donut" surrounded by ecologically sensitive wildlife habitat and wetlands. AND it is almost all in the Rural Area -- outside the Urban Service Area. This is the definition of Urban Sprawl, and it will set a precedent for more expensive sprawl outside the Urban Area.

This huge development will have horrible traffic implications for Wimauma, Balm, and Sun City Center, as well as anyone who travels 301, 19th Av., 674 and 672. In fact, the proposed "19th Ave. Extension" over Bullfrog Creek was recently opposed by citizens. The adamant opposition to this road was one of the reasons for the county's withdrawal of the South County Transportation Plan. This road is not supported by citizens and it is not appropriate to approve it in a rezoning without more community discussion.

The project does NOT comply with the Wimauma Community Plan.

We do NOT need 1089 new houses way out in the Rural Area, whose residents will have to commute to jobs and services in Tampa & Brandon.

County staff is recommending approval (!), so we need to show up at this zoning hearing Monday night to try to persuade the zoning hearing master to recommend denial to the county commission, who will make the final decision at the final public hearing, January 13, 9:00 a.m.

Please join us Monday night if you can, and save the date for the final hearing on Jan. 13, 9 a.m. as well. You don't have to speak — your presence alone helps. County rules say you cannot speak to the commissioners at the final hearing unless you provide oral or written testimony at the first hearing this Monday night (or have a letter in the case file).

Please forward to any interested citizens. Thanks for your help!

Mariella Smith, 

Get more info online: 
Login is "public" and the password also is "public." See site plans, agency comments, letters, and everything in the case file. Click on "query" and enter the case number (08-0306) where it says "tracking #"

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