RIVERVIEW — Gibsonton has, for decades, been known as the winter home to carnival and circus folk and their yards have stored the equipment their shows require.
Hillsborough County gave them the nod years ago with the addition of a Show Business Overlay Zone that allows them to store their rides, trucks and food vending trailers at their homes.
Show business folk in Tropical Acres want the same consideration.
As the county finalizes an amendment to its rules that would give them the change they seek, the public will get a chance to weigh in at a meeting scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the International Independent Showmen’s Association, 6915 Riverview Drive, Riverview.
In Tropical Acres — a rural subdivision east of where Balm-Riverview and McMullen roads intersect and south of Rhodine Road — residents have stored similar equipment at their homes illegally for years. But there, they are subject to code enforcement violations and fines.
About 40 Tropical Acres property owners came to the county in 2011 seeking relief in the form of a rezoning that would add their property to the Show Business Overlay Zone. But residents in nearby deed-restricted communities came out in force to oppose that effort, shooting it down. They feared that expanding the zone would lower property values.
County planners worked with Tropical Acres to find a middle ground, which came in the form of an amendment to the comprehensive plan. Under the amendment, they can continue to store equipment, but legally and with a list of restrictions and a promise not to expand the area further.
Public hearings took place on the issue in the spring, but the county postponed transmittal of the comprehensive plan amendment to the state until October.
It will come up again before it is finalized. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the amendment Dec. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at its board room in the County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. The county commission will take it up in a workshop Jan. 29 in its chambers on the second floor. Then, the commission will hold a transmittal hearing on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.
For more information, contact Planner Marcie Stenmark at (813) 273-3774, Ext. 364 or email her at [email protected]