Town ’N Country resident balk at proposed assisted-living facility

Article Courtesy of The Tampa Tribune
By Geoff Fox

Published March 31, 2016


TAMPA — Plans for a 109-resident assisted living facility have rankled residents living in a nearby Town ’N Country neighborhood.

During a charged community meeting Thursday at the Town ’N Country Regional Public Library, residents said they were worried about flooding, increased sinkhole activity and traffic, and the potential effects on property values and wetlands.


The issue is expected to be discussed during a Hillsborough County zoning hearing at 6 p.m. April 4.

Sharon Tischer-Cooper, a 43-year resident of the neighborhood around Jackson Springs and Webb roads, said her neighbors unleashed their anger and frustration on county officials and the project developer during the meeting. “This has been done very quietly,” she said. “We didn’t know about it until three weeks ago. There was a teeny little sign saying the land was being rezoned by so-and-so. It took us a while to find out what it was about. “We live in a very established older neighborhood of single-family homes, and that’s how it’s always been.”

About three-quarters of the project’s roughly 12-acre tract is wetlands.

She said the project would lead to “200-something more vehicles on our two-lane residential subdivision in and out all the time, on top of existing traffic off Hillsborough Avenue.

“It’s a big problem,” she said. “We have sinkholes under our houses.”

Cooper also worried the building would be four stories high, which could lead to privacy issues for those living nearby.

Steve Allison, a planning and zoning consultant representing the project’s developer, Longboat Development LLC, said before the meeting that initial plans called for a building “that had parking underneath and three stories above,” but that plans are incomplete.

He said the developer would follow ordinances that govern wetlands and project density. About three-quarters of the project’s roughly 12-acre tract is wetlands. “There are ordinances that govern all that, and you comply with the ordinance,” Allison said.

“If you can’t, you scale (the project) back. The ordinance says we are to provide for our own retention and not alter the flow of water.

“That’s not an issue for us at this point in time.” Tom Hiznay, principal planner for the county’s Development Services department, said for the project to move forward, the area must be rezoned from residential to planned development.

County commissioners will have the final say on the project.

Hiznay said the facility would be built on “the uplands” on the eastern portion of the tract.

“The west end of the parcel abuts Webb Road. That’s the only road frontage the site has,” he said.

Hiznay said developers have agreed to a 50-foot setback from the northern property line, Jackson Springs Road. He said the facility could be two stories toward the northern end, but taller “on the back portion.” “It should have a residential appearance and a pitched roof,” he said.

Not much of what officials said Thursday seemed to placate angry residents, Tischer-Cooper said. “The county and state keeps doing this to the Florida we used to have,” she said.

“They don’t maintain the roads, then they keep building here, there and everywhere, and putting all these things on two-lane roads so people can’t get in and out. It’s felt by everybody.”