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Monday, Oct 20, 2014
Brandon News

Bloomingdale residents meeting to determine future of big-box fight

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BLOOMINGDALE — A community that has pushed hard against plans for a big box warehouse store and large apartment complex near the Bloomingdale Regional Library is expected to decide Monday whether to continue the fight.

The Bloomingdale Coordinated Active Neighborhoods for Development Organization, or CAN-DO group, which has taken the lead on this fight, has set up a meeting for 7 p.m. Monday night at the library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave.

Many residents oppose the project because, they say, it will put so much more traffic onto the already crowded roads in the area, create a danger to pedestrians and adversely impact property values.

Hundreds of Bloomingdale residents have signed a petition opposing the development on 43.5 acres of land behind the library, but county officials say it’s too late, the deal is done.

The county commission rezoned the land to allow for a big-box store in 2011, but community members say they were not fairly notified of the meeting. The county staff advertised a countywide land-use code change at the time to allow mixed-use development on the property. The “countywide” code change only affected this one parcel, but that parcel was never mentioned when the meeting was advertised, residents say.

Activists have held several protests and rallies to discuss their discontent over plans for the 158,800 square-foot store and about 260 apartments, with access from Bell Shoals Road, already considered a failed stretch of pavement due to the amount of traffic using it daily.

CAN-DO, in late June, met behind closed doors with staff from developer Red Cast, previously known as Red Stone, to discuss the project. But the developer insisted the media not be allowed to attend the meeting and refused to meet with the community at large.

The developer offered few concessions, according to a press release issued by CAN-DO announcing the Monday meeting.

The community can vote on how to proceed during the meeting, said CAN-DO committee member Fred Brown.

“That’s the purpose of the meeting,” he said. “To move the process forward and the community will make that decision. We have done all of the leg work, with regard to the research and finding the facts of how this whole process happened and how Red Stone was able to move forward with this.”

The group has hired attorney Pamela Jo Hatley, using money contributed by members of the Bloomingdale community.

“At the meeting, CAN-DO will present to the community what we believe are our best options and will discuss next steps which will need to be taken for each option,” Brown said.

For more information on the meeting, contact bloomingdalebigbox@gmail.com.

yhammett@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7127

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