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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.

Redstone Properties LLC  has returned to the county's Planning and Growth Management Department to request changes to its land use plan that would permit it to develop a big-box retail store.

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."

 

Watts_wonderful February 23, 2013 at 02:34 PM
A big box development in that area is not needed. There are already empty commercial properties in the area such as the closed Sweetbay store and the Albertsons. Nothing new needs to be built until what already exists is filled. This library serves as a meeting place for many in the Bloomingdale community. In the afternoons, there are teenagers everywhere. They have walked there. Increasing the traffic in that area will endanger them. In the mornings, there are families everywhere. The traffic will put children in danger as well. This type of development there will significantly change the feel of the Bloomingdale community. That really makes me sad. Our neighborhood is already suffering with empty, foreclosed houses and renters instead of committed community members. This will add to our difficulties and prevent our recovery.
JSB February 23, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I agree with Watts......this is a horrible idea. The traffic increase is one that Bloomingdale Ave is not going to be able to handle. And we already have two empty giant storefronts within 1/2 mile of this site. That's just the start of the list of good reasons for this to be shot down. It appears that our county is run by people who lack common sense and who don't have any understanding of how to truly create a community plan. Allowing developments piecemeal and seemingly just on whims is not the way to create and maintain a nice community. This needs to be STOPPED. And they need to listen to those of us who live here and keep the community going strong.
MS February 23, 2013 at 07:51 PM
I agree with both Watts and JSB. The risk to the teenagers who walk to school and home, as well as the families that frequent the library, is not worth adding a big box retailer to that location. In addition, that area is especially traffic heavy as it is with families using the Y and the ball fields almost every night - and especially on the weekends. This are is a family-friendly area and needs to stay that way. Adding a big box retailer to that location will discourage these family activities and change the feel of our community.
jabcdb February 24, 2013 at 12:30 AM
I agree as well. (I live off Hurley)!
Tony Abbate February 24, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Money, money, money. It's all about money. What about quality of life for all of us that live here. We don't want and don't need another store of ANY kind. More traffic on Bloomingdale. Just what we need. We all know that eventually something will be built there. I'm ok with something more in line with offices that look like residential construction and low traffic generators. I live less than 1/2 mile from the site.
Nikki Riggsbee April 18, 2013 at 03:40 AM
This development will be ruinous for the neighborhood. With that much land being covered with concrete, inadequate drainage will produce flooding. Our property values will go down - after the hit we already took from the housing bubble disaster. The planned apartments will change the tenor of the neighborhood which is all single family homes and will overburden schools that are already overloaded. Who pays for the extra schools - and for enlarging the roads already very overcrowded with the school and the development further east on Bloomingdale? This will be a disaster. We must get help from the county commissioners - or get new commissioners.

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