Last Meeting To Voice Opinions On Lithia Pinecrest Parcel Announced
By Michelle Caceres
Months after residents learned that a 19-acre parcel of land near their Valrico homes was in the process of being rezoned, opponents of the plan are still fighting against the change.More than 100 residents showed up at a meeting to plea with Zoning Hearing Master Steve Luce, who heard their numerous reasons as to why they oppose the proposed plan. The group donned red shirts in a show of solidarity, forming an impressive sea of red and filling the room at the County Center to capacity.The group says the construction of a commercial eyesore in the midst of its residential area- an area already in a close proximity to shopping and eating establishments- will cause an increase in traffic to already failing roadways, an increase in noise, a boost in crime levels, stormwater runoff from the development and a decline in property values.Valrico resident Lynea D’Angelo says fighting this rezoning proposal has felt like a full-time job. “I eat it, drink it and breathe it,” says D’Angelo.The 19.25-acre parcel is an open field and located east of Lithia Pinecrest Rd., between Brooker and Valrico roads. It is currently zoned ASC-1, meaning the property can be used for either agricultural purposes or for a housing development with a maximum of one single-family home per acre. The property owners, GLH Enterprises, L.L.C., are hoping to rezone the property as PD, a planned development. They hope to develop an office complex and shopping in the space.Neighborhoods abutting the property include the original Buckhorn Estates, Chelsea Woods, Lithia Oaks, Brooker Trace, Buckhorn Manor, High Point Estates, Oakwood Ravine and Buckhorn Gold Club Estates.Vincent Marchetti, attorney for the property owner, says his client has made significant changes to the project, including agreeing to postpone construction on a portion of the project until Lithia Pinecrest is widened to alleviate resident’s concerns.“My client has gone out of his way and has incurred significant expense to ensure comment from the public is obtained on this project,” says Marchetti. “We have listened to their issues.”D’Angelo says this cause has brought unity to many people living in neighborhoods that abut the property. “We’ve made some great friends out of this,” she says.The final decision about rezoning will be determined by the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, January 12, at 9 a.m. on the second floor of the County Center, located at 601 Kennedy Blvd. E. in Tampa. The meeting is open to the public.For more information, e-mail D’Angelo at email@example.com or call her at 661-8397 or contact Marchetti at firstname.lastname@example.org.