Townie Life Magazine is not a news publication and is certainly not political, but I did have the opportunity to attend a Lunch and Learn session recently, hosted by Debbie Ferraro, Business Development Manager, at Consumer Title in Apollo Beach, where Commissioner Stacy White presented some interesting information about the future of SouthShore.
I am sharing Commissioner White’s presentation with you, with his permission, and I’ve added a few notes for clarification.The abbreviated version of this story? SouthShore is exploding.
But, for a few more details…
Not included on these slides, but from notes I took from the discussion:
- Developer ‘impact’ fees are now being collected in the form of ‘mobility’ fees. The methodology is more complex than the previous impact fee method, but developers will now bear more responsibility for improvements when developing in our community. This is very good news.
- Stacy White is ‘pro growth management’. He believes growth is good, but we also must maintain the character of our communities. I agree 100%. Here’s a recent story I did on this very topic: http://townielifemagazine.com/2017/07/25/south-shores-small-town-identity/
- SouthShore recently got ‘hosed’ (Commissioner White’s word, not mine) by HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) who did away with several bus routes in our area, including several in Wimauma (where it’s most needed) and the express route between SouthShore and MacDill Airforce Base, which was a popular route. County Commissioner continues this fight for us, but mentioned local participation in these types of meetings is the only way to guard against the Tampa vs. SouthShore decisions, which often do not end in our favor.
Commissioner White’s Presentation Slides: The Future of SouthShore
While there is a push to expand the ‘urban service area’, the area for which the county supplies water and sewer, this is likely a long-term goal. It won’t happen overnight.
Commissioner White also pointed out that a lot of land in SouthShore is owned by few landowners, one of which is a subsidiary of the Mormon Church. This impacts our ability to make changes to large areas of SouthShore.
Unfortunately, Commissioner White could not offer details regarding specific retail/restaurants coming to our area, but he did mention we can get his support to help bring more restaurants and retail to our area using what he called his ‘Land Use Tools’ – whereby zoning an area in a specific way will steer the type of development that comes. Moral of the story – we have to be actively involved in meetings involving our community.
He also pointed out that the Board of County Commissioners is separate from the Planning Commission who often remain ‘hush-hush’ about what’s coming to our area – to protect negotiations that may be taking place. Sigh.
Road improvements recently approved by the Board of County Commissioners for our area:
- $812 million over the next 10 years (will be funded from increase in property values)
- Apollo Beach Blvd. fly-over I 75. Work on Apollo Beach Blvd extension now being done by Newland Communities (Waterset’s developer) who will take road to Covington Road. The county will then take over and take road to 301, including the fly-over I 75.
- Big Bend widening and reconfiguration of the Big Bend Blvd and I-75 interchange
- State Road 64 (College Avenue) is being resurfaced and getting turn lane enhancements meant to ease traffic especially during peak season
That’s all for now. I know this is obvious, but it’s important we each get as involved as we can in our community. This includes attending Board of Commissioner Meetings and other local county meetings.
As Commissioner White pointed out, without our involvement, we’re likely to continue to get the short end of the stick on issues that involve Tampa vs. SouthShore (receiving funds or services).
The squeaky wheel gets the oil so if we want to direct how our community grows going forward we can do so by getting involved… and squeaking loudly.