Here is an update and some info about the rezoning plan that concerns Boyette scrub. At least one person in my family attends the local civic meetings monthly to voice their (our) displeasure with this plan. Please write a letter similar to the one attached to add support to this cause. (BTW I am not related to Mariella but she is a local lead on this cause)
From: Mariella Smith
Subject: Update on rezoning with road thru ELAPP and over Bullfrog Creek
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 18:28:08 -0400
To: Smith Mariella
Thanks to all of you who are FLOODING the county with letters opposing this development proposal, the developer is requesting a continuance (postponement) of the zoning hearing, in order to try to review all our concerns and meet with the community. County staff encouraged them to take this course in light of the massive opposition pouring in.
The developer is requesting that the zoning hearing date be changed to:
June 16, 6:00 p.m.
See the developer's letter here: http://www.box.net/shared/1ebaxu9ogc
(The zoning hearing masters almost never deny these requests, so there's no need for a crowd to show up next Monday, after all.)
Stay tuned for details on a community meeting.
Please send in an opposition letter if you have not done so yet. (see sample letter below) There is now more time for letters, as that deadline moves back with the hearing date.
This horrid project was sailing right on through the process until we raised our voices against it. Because of our involvement, more issues with the project are also coming to light, and we now have a better chance for a more positive outcome. Thank you for taking action -- it's working!
Thanks to all who are forwarding these messages -- please forward this one as well, so everyone is aware of the new hearing date.
Call me if you have questions: Mariella Smith, 645-4218
(original e-mail below)
Please send a letter now opposing this proposed zoning change that would pave a new road right through the Balm Scrub Preserve (a county-owned ELAPP Nature Preserve), running north-south, making a new connection 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 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. See notes below, with links to more info.
Please send letters opposing this proposal:
Be sure to reference RZ 08-0306
Feel free to copy the sample letter, below, or just say "I oppose RZ 08-0306 because of its impacts to our natural resources and traffic." Add your name & address.
Send letters via e-mail to:
Subject: Opposition re: RZ 08-0306, adjacent to Balm Scrub Preserve, Wimauma
Please put a copy of this letter, in the case file for review by the Zoning Hearing Master, and consider me a Party of Record.
Opposition re: RZ 08-0306, adjacent to Balm Scrub Preserve, Wimauma
Dear Zoning Hearing Master,
I am opposed to this zoning change that would add too much density to the rural area, and allow intolerable impacts to our natural resources. I'm especially concerned about the ecological damage that would be done by paving new roads through the Balm Scrub Preserve, to the north, and over Bullfrog Creek to the 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, which we do not need at this time -- the roads do not serve any current residents.
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.
This site is the "hole in the donut" surrounded by ecologically sensitive wildlife habitat and wetlands. Furthermore, it is almost all in the Rural Area -- outside the Urban Service Area. Because of its special location, this application should be required to go through a Specific PD approval process -- not this general PD process -- so we can see exactly where the wetlands are, and plan precisely where each building would go, particularly in the sections that back up to the preserve.
This unique site should also be held to higher standards than the usual bare minimums. A larger proportion of open space should be required, and large buffers should be provided all around. The wildlife corridors and crossing should be planned in detail, in advance. High fencing should be used all around to keep the wildlife off the roads, and direct them to the protected crossing. Bridges, rather than culverts should span the creeks. Lower density should be considered.
Please deny this proposal.
"Westlake Reserve" maps, plan, proposal - RZ 08-0306: http://www.box.net/shared/9nq7k55okk
Transportation Comments: http://www.box.net/shared/bh34e4a8so
Some comments from the Transportation staff analysis note the areas of traffic concerns:
The impacted portions of analyzed roads are currently operating at acceptable levels of service. With the addition of project traffic, and vested traffic, some of the impacted portions of roads can be expected to operate at an unacceptable level of service. ... With project and vested traffic, portions of SR 674 would operate at an unacceptable level of service. With the addition of project traffic and vested traffic, the intersection of US 301 & SR 674 would operate at an unacceptable level of service. ... Several parcels in the general area have either received rezoning approval or are seeking rezoning approval in the area of this application. ... The major roadways in the vicinity of the project are currently operating at an acceptable level of service. With the addition of project plus vested traffic, these roadways will begin to operate at an unacceptable level of service.
Get more info online: http://pgm.hillsboroughcounty.org
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 #"
Call me with any questions.
Thanks for your help!