Potential USF student housing in Lutz sent back to county official

By: Christine Wolstenholme

    What had been expected to be a small shopping center with a handful of businesses could become 18 townhouses targeted to USF students. However, that proposal has been sent back to the county’s Zoning Hearing Master John Crislip for closer scrutiny.

The Lutz Civic Association, along with long-time Lutz resident Eleanor Cecil, oppose the site’s change to residential development.

“Two years ago that property was rezoned for businesses and we highly supported that, and that’s what we’re really pushing for again.” Cecil said.

The property, which is 2.8 acres, is located at Sinclair Hills and Livingston Avenue.  It is currently developed with a single-family dwelling and a non-residential structure.  The area within which the property is located is classified as Residential-6 by the Future of Hillsborough Land Plan.

Miles Savery, a developer from Juniper, is requesting rezoning to the planned development in order to include the 18 townhouses in the southern portion of the property, while using approximately 3,500 square-feet for a dry cleaning business on the northern portion.

The Planning and Growth Management Department and Crislip, approved the petition since it was compatible with surrounding development and is appropriate for the subject area.  But, since there are oppositions from citizens in the local community and the Lutz Civic Association, the proposal was sent back to the Hearing Master.

Citizens fear this development will create additional traffic in the area, particularly on Livingston Avenue.  They also worry that the townhouse units will be rented out to students.

“For the past two years there has been a sign on this property advertising townhomes with four bedrooms and five baths.  That can be nothing but student housing,” said Cecil.

The sign is no longer on the property but citizens are worried about the renting-out of four bedrooms for all 18 townhouses.  “That property is inappropriate for the high density that 18 townhouses would bring.  Our concern is who would buy these.”  Cecil said.

Another issue that worries Cecil is that there won’t be any management or control in these townhouses, just like many of the other student apartments in the area. 

At last week’s meeting, Steve Allison, counsel for the petitioner, said that the current owner of the property did not put up the prior sign indicating the number of bedrooms per unit.

Allison said that he does not know the amount of units that will be on the property.  “That has not been determined.  It will be determined by site constraints, the ability to provide adequate parking, things that would make it a marketable project for people that would prospectively buy it.”

“If there are students living there, and that certainly is a possibility, it would be in an ownership type of situation, and we think that does provide assurances of maintenance of the project and that it would be a project of quality.” Allison said.  Many of the local residents disagree.

The next hearing will be on Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor in the Board Room located at 601 E. Kennedy Blvd.

//RP (RZ) 06-1564//

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2 Responses to “Potential USF student housing in Lutz sent back to county official”

  1. Aaron Says:

    Good straight forward news.

  2. usfadvancedreporting Says:

    watch how you set up you quotes, a couple are confusing. some grammer errors, but good read all around

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