Rezoning: Cypress Pointe

LAKE TARPON CAMPGROUND REZONING

Update 8/6/03: application has been withdrawn!

Project Name: Tarpon Falls

Current zoning: Commercial Recreation, 392 spaces

Requested Zoning: Residential Planned Development 10 units/acre (39.3 acres, 393 units)

Requested housing count: 370 units

Application: Z-7-8-03

Is 370 year-round, full-time homes  more intense use than 392 part-time recreational spaces ?

RV resort seeks new rezoning

St. Petersburg Times, published 2003-07-01 09:00:00 Etc/GMT

   PALM HARBOR - The owner of the Cypress Pointe RV Resort is back with a new buyer, a new lawyer and a new development plan.   This spring, the Pinellas County Commission rejected a proposal to allow a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the 39 acres now occupied by the park.

   Now the park's owner, the Wilder Corp., and a new developer, Crescent Resources LLC, are requesting a rezoning to allow the construction of 370 dwellings, mostly townhomes and condominiums.

   With the change in zoning, the number of approved residences on the property would drop from the 392 spaces now at Cypress Pointe.

   "We're reducing the number of units, so it would seem that the net traffic impacts would be negligible," said Ed Armstrong, a Clearwater attorney hired to work on the rezoning request. "This certainly would not generate anywhere near the traffic a Wal-Mart would have."

   The land is on the east side of U.S. 19, south of Klosterman Road, and overlooks Lake Tarpon. The zoning being requested would allow up to 10 units per acre.

   The proposed project would be called Tarpon Falls. It would include 282 townhomes, 72 condominiums and 16 single-family homes. The tallest buildings on the property would consist of four floors of condos built over one level of parking, said Joel Mies, development manager for the multifamily division of Crescent Resources.

   Mies said he didn't know what any of the homes might sell for, but the idea was to create an upscale community. Tarpon Falls would have an undetermined number of boat slips and a boat ramp that only its residents could use.

   Construction of the project would mean clearing out what few residents remain at Cypress Pointe. This is the third major redevelopment proposal for the property in a little more than two years, and many of the RV park's year-round and seasonal residents have already left.

   One of those still there Monday did not welcome news of the latest proposal.

   "You're going to destroy this for somebody's condo?" said Bill Haddon, a 52-year-old Tennessean who spends two months a year at Cypress Pointe with his family. "Anybody who appreciates nature and beautiful things will see that this is a crime against nature."

   Two residents who live south of Cypress Pointe and who opposed the previous proposals said the new plan is better, though still not ideal.

   Multifamily development would bring in "too many people, too many cars, too many more problems for the road," said retired sales executive Bill Gold, 74, who lives in Lake Shore Estates.

   "It's too much for a small area," Gold said. "I don't think we need that."

   Gold's wife, Rhoda, said "it would be much nicer" if the new buildings were shorter and the development were more spread out, but "it's certainly a much better scenario than putting in a commercial structure of any kind along Lake Tarpon."

   In 2001, developers proposed building a Target and Lowe's home improvement store on the property, but withdrew that plan after hundreds of residents turned out to oppose it. In March, county commissioners unanimously voted to deny plans for a Wal-Mart supercenter and residential development on the property.

   For the Wal-Mart project, the developer's attorney, Joel Tew, tried unsuccessfully to convince neighbors and county officials that the amount of traffic that the Wal-Mart would generate could be mitigated.

   The latest developer, Crescent Resources, is a subsidiary of Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, N.C.

   Unlike past proposals, Crescent Resources' rezoning request won't require the county to do a detailed traffic analysis, said Paul Cassel, director of the county's development review services department.

   That's because the residential zoning being sought already is consistent with the county's comprehensive land use plan. The plan outlines broader uses for a given area - such as residential or commercial - each with a range of permitted zoning classifications.

   With Wal-Mart, officials would have had to change the comprehensive plan to allow the commercial use of the property. That triggered a more involved review of the project.

   For a similar reason, the owner and developer did not have to wait six months after the County Commission's rejection of the Wal-Mart plan before submitting a new proposal for the property. The six-month waiting period would have applied if another change to the comprehensive plan was being proposed, Armstrong said.

   With the rezoning being requested, Cassel said, county officials will primarily consider "consistency with the neighborhood, impacts on the neighborhood . . . and is that the right zoning on this piece of property?"

   - Times photographer Douglas R. Clifford contributed to this report. Richard Danielson can be reached at 445-4194 or Danielson@sptimes.com

   If you go

   Public hearings on the latest proposal for the land now occupied by the Cypress Pointe RV Resort are scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 7 with a county zoning examiner and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 with the County Commission. Both meetings will be held in the commission's assembly room on the fifth floor of the County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater.


Here are some common environmental questions asked when these types of projects are proposed:

- will the retention during unusually heavy rains run off into Lake Tarpon?

- will the retention area be sealed to prevent underground seepage into Lake Tarpon?

- will the noise level be increased? will it affect nearby residents?  nearby wildlife?

    


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