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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Letter of the Day

Protect comprehensive plan, not special interest group

It was with dismay that I recently read a Tampa Tribune piece on Hillsborough County’s proposal to allow the storage of carnival gear outside the Show Business Overlay Zone (“County may allow carnival gear in yards,” Nov. 12). Really? At what point does Hillsborough County believe it to be OK to allow a 40-person special interest group to change the Hillsborough Comprehensive Land Use Plan when there is overwhelming opposition?

Over the years hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been spent to draft and implement a comprehensive growth plan for Hillsborough. For the most part, this plan has provided a guide for the current and future development of the county and has been reasonably successful. Hillsborough County “gave them (amusement operators) the nod years ago with the addition of a Show Business Overlay Zone that allows them to store rides, trucks and food vending trailers at their homes” in Gibsonton, according to the Tribune article.

Enter the small, special interest group called Tropical Acres. Some of these individuals have, with knowledge and forethought, openly violated the law for years by illegally storing show equipment on their property, according to the Tribune article. They have been and are subject to code enforcement violations that one could assume have become quite large over the years.

Now, in 2013, county planners are “bowing” to this very limited special interest group to change the Hillsborough comprehensive plan?

What about the interests of Hillsborough County homeowners, who outnumber this special interest group by 1,000 to 1? 10,000 to 1? Who is looking out for our interests or, simply, who is managing the comprehensive plan? Who is our advocate in maintaining our property values?

It would appear, according to the story, that some of the residents of Tropical Acres have managed to openly violate the law for years and then may be “congratulated” for doing so. Something is very wrong in Hillsborough County when the wants of a small special interest group outweigh the comprehensive growth plan of the many.

Martin McDonough


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