Residents Support Legal Action Against County For Big Box Property

By Tamas Mondovics

During the first community meeting in months, residents who have formed the Bloomingdale Can-Do, a local group fighting a big box rezoning on Bloomingdale Ave., were joined by a throng of fellow residents from neighboring communities also opposed to the development. Rumored is a Walmart Supercenter, apartments and commercial on a 45-acre parcel on E. Bloomingdale Avenue in Valrico. At the end of the meeting, residents pledged financial support of an effort to continue the fight to protect their community by means of a lawsuit against Hillsborough County.

Close to 100 attended the intense meeting held at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, which outlined the history of the controversy, residents’ concerns as well as the work behind the scenes on the part of the CAN-DO Committee.

The controversy stems from a 2011 language change in county zoning amendment rules which allowed the property to be changed from a TND residential development to a MUD-Mixed Use Development-which allows this type of commercial project.

CAN-DO contends, the community was not properly informed or noticed about the change.

“Bloomingdale CAN-DO has spent a great deal of time researching the zoning history of the property,” spokesperson Fred Brown told the roomful of residents. “We have met with legal counsel and a county planner regarding the options our group can pursue, including filing suit against the BOCC.”

The subject matter and what residents continually oppose is the project proposed by Redstone Properties Inc.-now known as Red Cast Bloomingdale, LLC., including site plans for a 158,800 sq. ft. big box store with 720 parking spaces, five out-parcels as well as 261 apartments.

Community advocate George Niemann, was pleased with the show of force  at the meeting, “There was no doubt that all in attendance were fired up,” Niemann said. “By suing the BOCC our goal is to reverse the current land use specification from MUD (Mixed Use Development) to TND (Traditional Neighborhood Development), which was inappropriately changed without the BOCC following the proper process,” Niemann said.

Lithia Oaks resident Carol Robison agreed when she said to all in attendance, “Our emphasis should be that we need to file suit against the county and hold them responsible for their actions in connection with this project.”

At the end, residents were unanimous on mobilizing to form new committees, support a lawsuit financially and to push forward.

CAN-DO is a grassroots organization of residents and homeowners associations who are advocating for sensible development in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Hillsborough County, Florida.

For more information about CAN-DO and the Bloomingdale Big Box project Bloomingdale CAN-DO can be contacted via Email at BloomingdaleBigBox@gmail.com.