by LISA MACNEIL
At the regular BOCC meeting on February 11, 2020, the commission voted unanimously to approve the small-scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPAM1904) that will allow for the rezoning of an 8.8-acre parcel located on the northeast side of Ponce De Leon Boulevard, approximately 447 feet southeast of Landfill Road. The parcel will be rezoned from AG (agricultural) to C-2 (commercial), allowing for the development of an outdoor boat and RV storage area.
The Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation was to deny this request based on inconsistency in land use of the surrounding area and the lack of utility and water infrastructure. Additionally, the site currently contains an archaeological site (File No. HE00068), according to the Florida Master Site File data.
Attorney Darryl Johnston, represents the petitioners Jeffrey A. Sousa and Stephen C. Fortin, and acknowledged the archaeological site information, and stated the archaeological features would be addressed during planning prior to development.
Regarding the lack of utilities, Johnston said, “We’re not building a strip center (or) a Target.” Johnston summarized that the 4 acres planned for vessel storage would not require water and sewer connections, but will have a well and septic system.
As for land use, the two planned developments adjacent to the parcel are the World Woods Golf Club and the Seville subdivision. Johnston explained that the vessel storage is an ancillary use that many residential areas don’t deal with, because it is more lucrative to plant houses rather than storage. However, he believes the need is there, since most storage facilities of this type are located on US 19, and very few serve this portion of the county.
Additionally, a new interchange is planned for the Suncoast Parkway and US 98, which will attract more vehicle traffic to the area.
The petition had the support of most of the BOCC. Commissioner Steve Champion summarized, “I just don’t understand why we would even turn this down. There’s a landfill, there’s mines, it’s a truck route, there’s flood zones, what else would you use this property for? I think this is a great use of the property it’s close to the highway.