The rumor circulating among Bloomingdale area residents and neighboring Walmart store employees of a new, much bigger store to be built within the community is officially over. Hillsborough County officials confirmed that the Redstone Properties Inc., known for representing Lowe’s and Walmart projects have submitted an application for approval for a 158,800 supercenter, consistent with the average Walmart size. The property is currently a vacant field adjacent to the Bloomingdale Regional Library, directly across Blowing Oak St. and may receive its approval as early as this week, according to county officials.
Patrick Murray with the Hillsborough County’s ‘The Center’ for Development Services Infrastructure and Development Services Team confirms that the developer has filed paperwork for county approval. On its application, Murray explained, the developer listed its request for approval for a 158,800 sq. ft. store with 720 proposed parking spaces with a total acreage of 43.52 acres, ruling out the idea of a smaller neighborhood market that averages about a third of that size. County officials said that the project also includes five out-parcels aside from the main shopping center. Executive Planner, Frank G. Breaux, also with County’s ‘The Center’ for Development Services explained that the project is currently in for Preliminary Site Plan review. “The current status is listed as ‘Insufficient for Review,’ meaning that additional information is being requested in order to continue the review process,” Breaux said. “There is, therefore, no Site Plan approval at this point.” Hearing the news about the new Walmart store, local community advocate, George Niemann, wondered about the necessity of the project. He expressed some preliminary concern about the impact such a store would affect the roadways and the community. “To tell you the truth, I am a bit puzzled; do we really need another Walmart?” Niemann asked, adding that the biggest immediate problem could be the additional traffic on the already busy roadway, especially during rush hours. While there is no word on a time-frame of building start-date, or any time frame of the project, Murray said that residents may, in fact, see the new store built in the neighborhood relatively soon. “Some projects stretch out for years after submission of the plans, but with a company like Walmart, things seem to go quickly,” Murray said. For more information about the project, please visit the www.hillsboroughcounty.org.
Photo Caption: Hillsborough County officials confirmed that Walmart is planning on building a new store on Bloomingdale Ave. on a vacant field adjacent to Bloomingdale Library, across from Blowing Oak St.
More History on The Site: How Did This Happen, What About the Roads, Where Was The Notice?
The site was rezoned to Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) – Greenfield in 2003. In 2011, development regulations in the Land Development Code (LDC) for the TND – Greenfield district were replaced through the text amendment process with Mixed Use Development (MUD) regulations. The adopted Mixed Used Development regulations apply to properties that are rezoned to the MUD district, as well as to properties that were rezoned to TND-Greenfield prior to Feb. 1, 2012.
Public notice for the LDC text amendment was provided through newspaper notices in the Tampa Tribune, and there was no legal requirement for the posting of site specific signs (Public Meeting Signs), as this was not a rezoning. The LDC amendment process requires two public hearings with the Board of County Commissioners and a vote on consistency with the Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan by the Planning Commission, which it received.
About The Site Submittal
The developer submitted a site plan to the County in January 2013 that outlines a big box store, five outparcels, and a residential area to the property east of the Bloomingdale Library. Though the proposed site plan is on Bloomingdale Avenue, it also has frontage on Lithia Pinecrest.
A big box store was a permitted use of the TND-Greenfield district and remains a permitted use of the MUD district. The name of the retailer for the big box store has been speculated through the community; however, no retailer’s name is noted on any documents submitted to Hillsborough County. It is the developer’s responsibility to seek a retailer.
In early February, the County found the site plan insufficient for review due to a lack of transportation study and lack of adequate information to review it against the Land Development Code. The developer has since submitted a new site plan on Feb. 25.
The project is currently undergoing Preliminary Site Plan review, which is an administrative process and does not require public notice. The County reviews what the developer has submitted against the requirements of the Land Development Code, then approves or denies the plan based on whether it meets those requirements.
The County is working with the developer on the site access requirements. Typically, that is turn lanes or other improvements at the entrance points. The County cannot request further requirements in excess of the Land Development Code.
There is no timetable for approval, but it may be as early as this week.
There have been concerns expressed that Bloomingdale and Lithia Pinecrest are currently failed roads – meaning the number of vehicles on the road exceed the adopted level of service. Per the Hillsborough County Level of Service Report, Lithia Pinecrest is a failed road, Bloomingdale is not.
The County has a transportation concurrency requirement in place to address roadway capacity impacts of proposed developments. As provided by state law, the developer of this project is pursuing a proportionate share contribution to the County in order to address the transportation concurrency requirements. This will involve an agreement with the County providing for a payment by the developer based on the project’s transportation impacts on failing roads once existing roadway deficiencies are accounted for.
Should you have any other concerns on this project, please contact Wanda Sloan, Community Affairs, Office of Neighborhood Relations, at 813-307-3564.