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Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
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Rezoning request in Seffner draws ire of rural neighbors

SEFFNER — A plan to build apartments in a rural area off Taylor Road has longtime residents there pushing back.

They didn’t want a recreational vehicle storage area that was proposed previously and they don’t want the 36 apartment units now being proposed on the 5.3-acre property between U.S. 92 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

A zoning hearing is scheduled for Monday at which time a hearing master will decide whether to recommend in favor of changing the zoning to allow a higher density.

“The owners could build up to six units per acre right now,” said Terry Flott, who heads the Seffner Community Alliance, a group that addresses development issues in this semi-rural community. But they would be restricted to building either single family homes or duplexes.

The rezoning would allow more flexibility in the type of unit that could be built, including apartments or town homes, said Todd Pressman, who represents the land owners.

There are other issues, too. When the Winn-Dixie plaza was built at the northwest corner of Parsons Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the drainage issues were so bad that the store had to deal with nearby property owners to use their land for drainage, Flott said. That included the property now up for a rezoning.

Hillsborough County Planner Michelle Heinrich said she has heard the same thing regarding the drainage. She said that would not be a matter taken up as part of the rezoning, however. It would have to be worked out when the developer comes in for site development, she said.

Krystle Booth, a life-long resident of Taylor Road, said apartments would ruin the rural feel of the area, which now has only single-family homes on big lots with a few duplexes. Two cemeteries in the area, which she called historic, would also stop any widening of Taylor Road, she said.

“People already speed up and down the road, too, and there are two special needs bus stops on Taylor Road,” Booth said.”This will just make it more of a nightmare.”

Pressman said the landowners have already made concessions, based on comments he has heard from the community.

“We have included a restriction on the number of units to 36,” Pressman said. He said his clients originally asked for a rezoning that would allow them to build a recreational vehicle storage compound. But after hearing push-back from the surrounding residents, they changed the request.

Heinrich said the property could hold 49 units under the requested zoning category, but because of the restriction being included in a recommendation to approve it, there would be a maximum of 36.

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