Decision looms on carnival equipment storage in Tropical Acres
RIVERVIEW - County commissioners could decide Thursday whether to allow legal storage of carnival and circus equipment in a rural residential neighborhood here. A final public hearing to discuss an amendment to the land-use code to allow such storage in Tropical Acres takes place at 6 p.m. in the second-floor chambers of the County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Commissioners are expected to vote on it. The amendment would allow show business folks to legally store food-vending wagons, recreational vehicles, semi tractor-trailers and carnival rides on their property, with screening and other restrictions. The proposal is considered a middle ground of sorts, between the 40 property owners in the rural large-lot neighborhood east of Balm-Riverview Road who had asked to be added to the county’s Residential Show Business Overlay Zone and the neighbors in surrounding deed-restricted communities who oppose it.The carnival and circus people who live in Tropical Acres requested the rezoning back in 2011, but when it came time for a hearing, residents in the surrounding communities showed up in droves to oppose expanding the overlay zone. Most of the Residential Show Business Overlay Zone is in the Gibsonton area and a pending Comprehensive Plan Amendment would direct all future show business storage to that area. The Planning Commission has scheduled a hearing on that amendment for Monday at 2 p.m. on the 18th floor of the County Center. The land-use code amendment being heard Thursday would grandfather in property owners that have been storing carnival and circus equipment on their property in Tropical Acres since 2011, as long as it remains in active use. Proponents say it is more of a cop-out on the county’s part than it is a compromise. Code Enforcement should be fining those storing items illegally on their property, rather than rewarding them for thumbing their noses at the law, attorney Michelle Drab, who represents homeowners in some of the communities surrounding Tropical Acres, said during a public hearing last month. She said her clients have no reason to believe Code Enforcement will do any more than it has done in the past to ensure that county rules are followed. Joe Even, an employee of Arnold Amusements, owns several pieces of property in Tropical Acres. Even said he and others in the business are just trying to come into compliance with the law. The county commission will have the final say.