May 20, 2013
Commissioner Higginbotham To Meet with Residents Over Bloomingdale Big Box Store
After what he said took weeks of searching for a suitable venue, Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham (District 4) told the Osprey Observer, that he has secured a location to meet with residents over the controversial proposed mixed use development on Bloomingdale Avenue near Lithia Pinecrest Road, adjacent to the Bloomingdale Library.
The meeting is now scheduled for Monday, June 10, 2013, from 6-8 p.m. at the Brandon Community Recreation Center, located at 502 E. Sadie Street, in Brandon.
“The underlying message is that residents want someone to listen,” Higginbotham said as he talked about the reason for setting up the meeting.
While no other commissioners are scheduled to attend the meeting, Higginbotham said that the Hillsborough County Land Use Attorney, Adam Gormly, along with some of the county’s staff to answer technical questions will also be present.
“Finding the right location was not easy at this time of the year to host a meeting, and it took a little longer to find a facility,” Higginbotham said, but added that it is an official meeting which will allow residents to voice their concerns.
The Bloomingdale MUD ( Mixed Use Development) proposed by Redstone Properties Inc., involves plans for 158,800 sq. ft. big box store—most believe to be a Walmart—with 720 proposed number of parking spaces, five out-parcels as well as a residential complex sporting 261 apartments.
Residents have been asking for county staff to meet with them and explain the project, which has been approved for commercial zoning since 2003 but did not require a public hearing for approval of site development plans, as well as to hear the community’s opposition to the project, with no success.
With more and more signing up on Facebook and change.org, to fight the project, which residents say caught them by surprise, and they took to the streets in protest of the approval earlier this month, the signed petition has now reached the 1,000-signature mark.
Bloomingdale area resident Jeremy Monette, who during an earlier meeting voiced his dismay over what he called the County’s lack of communication to residents about the project and apparent, uncooperative behavior, spoke highly of the turnout as well as his fellow neighbors’ commitment to fight the development.
“The turnout for this street protest is just spectacular,” Monette said. “The support speaks volumes of the people that come to gather to protect their community, schools, environment and roads.”
Monette emphasized that the issues are many, but a major concern in connection with the proposed development is safety for both pedestrians—young and old—as well as motorist as area roads will be hit with the extra traffic.
Community advocate George Niemann said that the Higginbotham’s meeting will not accomplish much as the zoning for the project has long since been approved.
For more information, visit www.bloomingdalebigbox.com or mark your calendar to attend the meeting.