By Tamas Mondovics
Bloomingdale area residents are both relieved and revitalized following a recent court hearing in connection with their continued effort to halt the development of the now famous Bloomingdale Big Box and residential complex project within their neighborhood. It took two weeks for circuit judge William P. Levens to deny the County and Developer Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC’s motion to dismiss a law suit filed by Bloomingdale area residents represented by Can-Do (Coordinated Active Neighborhoods for Development Organization), which first took its fight to court late last year.
As part of his decision, Levens also ordered all parties involved to select a mediator by Tuesday, April 15 and to schedule a mediation session no later than Monday, June 30.
The hearing was prompted by Hillsborough County and Developer Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC, after they filed a motion to dismiss the case with prejudice based upon the belief that it is not valid.
The topic is the Bloomingdale Mixed Use Development (MUD), which was approved by the County and proposed by developer Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC. involving plans for 158,800 sq. ft. big box store—most still believe to be a Walmart or a similar retailer—with 720 proposed parking spaces, five out-parcels as well as a residential complex with 261 apartments or condominiums.
“I feel very good about the decision,” said plaintiff and Bloomingdale area resident Fred Brown just moments following the news. “It continues to demonstrate our concerns on how the county went about granting approval for the developer.” Brown emphasized that Can-Do and area residents continue to believe that the public should have been notified properly of the project, which he said “was not.”
“Going through the back door business is over when it comes to destroying our communities,” Brown said. “Brandon and Valrico don’t need a big box or another Wal-Mart. We have plenty of big box stores sitting empty currently.”
Attorney Pamela Joe Hatley representing Bloomingdale area residents attended the court hearing on Tuesday, March 18 facing five attorneys from Hillsborough County and two attorneys representing Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC. Hatley said that Judge Levens did not provide an immediate ruling, instead decided that he would make a decision within a fairly short time after he had carefully reviewed the issues in question further.
“Our fight isn’t over and this is not a done deal,” Brown said. “I believe the community has sent a very clear message to the county, the commissioners and the developer concerning this project.”
For more information, visit http://www.kwuick.com/BloomingdaleBigBox/SitePages/Position.aspx.