By Matt Wiley | August 22
The public will have its say in November and December regarding the voluntary annexation of nearly 150 acres of New Tampa land behind Wharton High.
The Tampa City Council approved two public hearings to discuss the voluntary annexation of 148 acres located east of Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (behind Wharton High), between New Tampa Blvd. and County Line Rd., during its August 22 meeting. The hearings will be held on Thursday, November 14, 5:30 p.m., and on Thursday, December 5, 10 a.m.
The land, which is co-owned by Busch Junction Enterprises and Taylor Morrison of Florida, Inc., is to be used for a new single-family housing community that will target “empty-nesters,” or families whose kids have grown and moved out and who want to downsize their homes. Currently, 370 homes (2.5 per acre) are planned for the development.
“A public hearing is necessary to bring land into the city limits,” says District 7 City Council member Lisa Montelione. “Nothing is in stone until after the public hearings.”
Assistant city attorney Kate Taylor says that the first hearing will likely feature a short presentation about what is being considered, followed by a period of time for public comment. City Council members will listen to the public before deciding whether to create an ordinance approving the annexation.
Taylor explains that if members of the public express disdain toward the annexation, the Council will be looking for substantial evidence that the annexation would not be a good move, such as if it would create an unsafe increase in traffic in areas where there are children at play, presenting a danger to the community.
Montelione says that anecdotal evidence, such as a member of the public not liking the developer(s), will not affect the Council’s decision.