PINELLAS PARK — Joanna Sands and her neighbors have reached their restrict. As condo complexes rise one after one other round their 55+ Mainlands of Tamarac by the Gulf group, they are saying they’re choked by site visitors, fear in regards to the adequacy of the realm’s infrastructure and that even their Aldi grocery store can’t sustain with the rising inflow of residents.
“The density of flats is oppressive to us,” Sands mentioned throughout an interview on the Mainlands, an enclave of 1,937 properties, every painted white.
“We want to see a moratorium on flats,” she later added.
Sands and her neighbors have collected greater than 1,000 signatures objecting to one more condo complicated. Some residents on the Lakes, adjoining to the Mainlands and likewise a 55+ group, and others in surrounding cellular house parks have additionally signed the petition, Sands mentioned.
The most recent flats are being proposed throughout from the Mainlands, on a portion of property presently owned by Calvary Chapel at 8900 U.S. 19 N. Belleair Growth Group, which approached Calvary about shopping for the property, needs to construct 239 models — 44 for workforce housing — on the just about 10-acre web site.
At its peak, the church had a mean attendance of about three,800, a quantity that started to say no about 5 years in the past. Attendance has leveled off to about 900, Pastor Ryan Marr mentioned.
“We predict this can be a actually good factor for us and it’s a extremely good factor for the group,” Marr mentioned, emphasizing the challenge’s reasonably priced housing part.
Sands worries about what would occur if the church determined to maneuver. “What’s going to go there? We wish our group to not be one condo after one other after one other,” she mentioned. “We settle for progress and improvement, however there are alternatives to make a distinction, to make a optimistic affect on town. There are such a lot of different issues that may be constructed. What we want to see is one thing constructed that will add to our group, add to the native financial system. We’d like one other grocery. We might use a pleasant pharmacy. We might use a health care provider’s workplace.”
The church web site contains an space of wetlands, another excuse for opposition to Belleair Growth’s plan. Final November, the agency’s request to rezone the positioning for the flats was rejected by the Pinellas Park Planning and Zoning Fee. It’ll go earlier than the Metropolis Council on March 26. Sands guarantees that opponents will present up in drive.
She’s involved that the rising variety of flats will burden taxpayers. “We, the residents, would be the ones to choose up the invoice for a brand new faculty, new lecturers, new emergency automobiles and emergency personnel,” she mentioned.
His challenge will generate about $1.2 million in property taxes, mentioned Carlos Yepes, co-owner of Belleair Growth together with his son, Christian. “We’re not burdening the system. There are advantages to town. We’re greater than paying our share,” he mentioned, including the county is getting no profit from the church property, “as a result of they don’t seem to be paying any tax.”
Yepes mentioned his Pinellas Park agency will make its case for rezoning. “It’s the proper location, the proper place,” he mentioned. “Now we have a site visitors gentle to regulate site visitors and we’re asking for no variances.”
Final week, Sands, George Filiau, treasurer of the Mainlands Grasp Affiliation, and Barb Tierney of the Lakes mentioned their issues in regards to the fast improvement that they really feel is strangling their communities.
“My largest concern is adherence to the concurrency administration system in Pinellas County,” Tierney mentioned of Belleair Growth’s plans. “They should have a concurrency evaluate, the drainage, the density, the utilities, stable waste, faculties, potable water, mass transit, sanitation.”
“The infrastructure is not going to deal with all of those flats going up,” Filiau mentioned. “You want the infrastructure to deal with all of this earlier than the flats go up. It’s going to be years earlier than the roads are accomplished.”
In November, the Mainlands, whose most important entry is off U.S. 19, put in a gate at its 40th Avenue entrance to cease cut-through site visitors from clogging its non-public roads.
Tierney famous that Belleair Growth must win approval for its mitigation plans for the wetland space from a number of businesses, together with the Southwest Florida Water Administration District and the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers.
A mitigation web site has been proposed and mentioned with Swiftmud, mentioned Dale Meryman, president of Meryman Environmental in Riverview, a Belleair Growth advisor. ”It’s a small space subsequent to an present system. That is offsite, however it’s throughout the similar watershed,” Meryman mentioned, including required survey has revealed that there can be no lack of endangered or threatened species from adjustments to the present wetland.
“On this specific case, the wetlands onsite are mainly coated with nuisance unique vegetation that’s required to be eliminated by the county per their improvement allow,” mentioned Meryman mentioned. The world is usually populated with Brazilian peppers, he mentioned. High quality wetlands have “80-plus p.c native vegetation,” he added.
Belleair Growth has additionally employed Lincks and Associates, a Tampa civil and site visitors engineering agency, to handle site visitors issues. Rob Fulp, senior challenge supervisor, for the agency, mentioned the brand new Gateway expressway, anticipated to be full in late 2022 or early 2023, would result in “a pleasant discount of site visitors on U.S. 19, from Gandy Boulevard to Bryan Dairy.”
The Florida Division of Transportation is “anticipating anyplace from 9 p.c to 22 p.c discount in site visitors,” he mentioned, including that residents might see a 15 p.c drop throughout peak hours.
“That’s going to take years to finish and proper now, the amount of site visitors is bumper to bumper and unsafe,” Sands mentioned.