Library Friends Concerned About Proposed Neighboring Big-Box Development
Owners of the property east of the library are once more proposing to build a large-scale store.
A controversial Bloomingdale Avenue property is once again in the spotlight.
This is the third time the property owner has attempted to submit a plan to the county to develop big-box retail on the 43.5 acre pasture, which is zoned for Greenfield Traditional Neighborhood Design.
This designation is similar to the zoning of the Winthrop Town Centre on Bloomingdale Avenue and Providence Road. Providing that the development meets certain traditional design standards, it allows the developer to build six units per acres of residential development and 500,000 square feet of commercial, including a 125,000-square-foot big box store.
According to county planner Matt Lewis, the developer has not confirmed what store it wants to build but has mentioned a Super Target or Sam's Club.
He said the county Planning and Growth Management Department recently had some initial conferences with the developer about its plans for the property. However, the county sent the developer back to the drawing board, saying it had not submitted an adequate plan for handling traffic on Bloomingdale Avenue.
The developer also met with members of the Hillsborough County Library Board to address the requirement that the proposed development be linked to the Bloomingdale Regional Library's parking lot.
Lewis said the county is requiring that the developer provide access from the proposed development to the library for connectivity and to reduce traffic on the main road.
Nevertheless, members of the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library worry about the impact on the library.
"We are concerned about several things including new traffic patterns, the potential loss of the left-hand turn lane into the library, customers trying to avoid the traffic light and cutting through the library, the uncertainty over how traffic will flow if the left turn lane is eliminated and safety concerns for patrons with the additional cars that will likely cut through the library parking lot to avoid a light," said Friends member Pat Boody.
"I just can't imagine the impact to Bloomingdale/Lithia Pinecrest having that many more cars on it at all hours of the day and night," said Boody. "It is one thing to have a neighborhood such as Winthrop built there, plenty busy as it is, and quite another to have a superstore."
Carol Jones, president of the Friends, said she doesn't understand the requirement linking the development to the library.
"So far, no one has been able to point out to me another library in this county that is connected in such a way that the library parking lot can be used for cutting through," she said.
Jones said she's also heard from residents in the area as well as library patrons who are concerned about the proposed development.
The community, however, won't be able to voice those concerns at a zoning meeting, said Lewis.
"The property is already zoned for this use," he said. "Any approvals that are needed will come from Planning and Growth Management."