I attended an informational meeting at the Original Carrollwood Recreation Center this evening to review a proposed rezoning for the corner of Floyd Rd. and Dale Mabry.
This corner was previously home to the Hudson Nursery. The new project is titled the "Hudson Market Redevelopment."
Here are the facts that I learned from the developer, proposed tenants and engineers:
The land is currently privately owned, but in 2006, it was rezoned to approve three items: 25K sq. ft. of office space, 17K sq. ft. of light commercial (on D. Mabry) and 37 residential units (behind the office/commercial). The developer of this proposed project is now deceased, and Brightwork is the new developer requesting the zoning change.
The zoning request would change the corner from light commercial/office/residential to heavy commercial. The developer proposes using 47,300 sq ft to install a Walmart Neighborhood Grocery (41,180 sq. ft.) and a Wa Wa convenience store/gas station (6,119 sq. ft). It is unclear if Walmart grocery would be open for 24 hours, but Wa Wa is a 24-hour business.
This rezoning also would require the installation of a new traffic light on Dale Mabry at Floyd Road to allow access/egress from the parking lot. This light will sit between the existing lights at Lake Carroll Way and Hudson Lane. As the property is currently zoned today, a traffic light is not required - it is only a requirement for the proposed rezoning.
State Senator Jim Norman attended this evening's review as well as an aide from Victor Crist's office (Craig Jewesak, I believe). The overall mood from residents was pessimistic, with the following concerns being voiced:
- Addition of another traffic light will increase pollution (noise and air) and further congest an area that already has traffic flow issues. The additional light would mean a total of five traffic lights in the 2.2-mile stretch between Linebaugh and Stall Road. This was widely viewed as excessive.
- Neighbors in the immediate vicinity are concerned about the effect on their property values. Residents of the community that, I believe, is called "The Enclave" are directly across from the site's proposed entrance/exit. Their properties are currently valued in the $400-500K range. Homes in surrounding areas range in value from $96K to $600K. I asked the Walmart representative if he had any community studies on the effects of Walmart's on surrounding residential property value, and he said he did not. His view is that they would not be putting this in if it negatively affected the neighborhood. I personally am skeptical about the quality of that answer.
- Traffic volumes will further stress neighborhoods in the immediate surrounding areas - Floyd Road, Hudson Way and Hudson Lane. There are currently speed bumps on Hudson Lane and Way and there is limited entrance/exit from Gunn Highway. However, these mitigating actions have done little to quell 'cut through' driving as a short cut between Gunn and Dale Mabry. Adding a Walmart grocery store will increase illegal cut through traffic from Gunn Highway as it provides faster access. This property also is on a bus route, which will support bringing in additional traffic from neighboring communities.
- There isn't a community need for another grocery store or gas station. In the three miles on Dale Mabry between Linebaugh and Fletcher Avenue, there are four grocery stores - two Publix, one GFS and one Fresh Market - and there is a Sweet Bay accessible on nearby Casey Road. There are four gas stations with attached convenience stores in the same section of Dale Mabry of which at least two have 24 hour operations. There also is a 24-hour Super Walmart just 2.19 miles south of the proposed location, and a 'regular' 24 hour Walmart 2.83 miles north.
- The pollution effects of another large paved lot on nearby Sweetwater Creek (it runs behind the proposed site) are unknown. While the Walmart and Wa Wa reps offered guarantees that their parking lots will remain debris free and their water runoff will be handled appropriately, there was great skepticism about the actuality of that situation once they are entrenched owners. This skeptcism is specifically driven by the behavior of nearby CVS pharmacy. Residents believe that CVS has not kept many of the commitments it made during the rezoning and construction process.
The rezoning is not a 'done deal,' and the homeowners who I spoke with this evening are gearing up to assert their opposition to this project. The land will not be purchased by these developers unless this proposal is approved by the rezoning board.
There is a public hearing scheduled for May 14 at 6 p.m. at the Board of County Commissions Boardroom (2nd Floor, County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL).
If you would like your voice to be heard post a comment on this board or, more importantly, contact your Senator and Commissioner and also submit your written comments for the upcoming hearing. I have included contact information for State Senator Jim Norman, Commissioner Victor Crist and the hearing here for your convenience:
State Senator Jim Norman
14031 N. Dale Mabry Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33618
County Commissioner Victor Crist
http://www.commissionervictorcrist.com/?page_id=17 (this is his e-mail page)
601 E. Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33602 Phone: 813-272-5452
Written comments or testimony:
PGM-Zoning Hearing Section
ATTN: Land Use Hearing Officer
P.O. Box 1110, 20th Floor
Tampa, FL 33601
OR, e-mail: email@example.com