Largest Development in Hillsborough History approved by Mitch E. Perry

12/06/06

Last night the County Commission convened for one issue only – that being whether or not to approve Lake Hutto, one of the largest developments in Hillsborough County history.

The plan by developers Pulte Homes would be to add nearly 3,200 homes to the area north of Fish Hawk Boulevard, and East of Boyette Road.

On Monday morning, neighborhood activists held a news conference to advocate that Commissioners deny Pulte Homes the re-zoning required for the project.

They specifically targeted Commissioner Mark Shape, who had expressed some concerns. One of those, Sharpe said, was whether a denial would adversely affect the School District. But Lorraine Suarez from the School District’s Facilities Department said for their purposes, they wanted the development to go forward (roll tape#1 o.q.�locate those schools�)

The other issue Sharpe had was about widening Boyette Road. Currently, plans are to go from 2 lanes to 4 lanes. But Commissioners ultimately included a stipulation that the county study the costs of widening the road to 6 lanes. Sharpe asked County transporation Bob Gordon if that was feasible (roll tape#2 o.q.�and we’ll do it�)

As part of the issue, Pulte Homes had said they will contribute 32 acres for 2 schools and a park, and would underwrite road improvements to the area.

But many residents remained skeptical. Picking up on that, Commissioner Brian Blair asked County Attorneys and Commission Chairman Jim Norman if the Public could speak out…..He was told that because it was quasi-judicial proceeding, they could not. (roll tape#3 o.q.�then I’m really not quite comfortable�)

Commissioner Rose Ferlita, in her first vote succeeding Kathy Castor, representing District One. She said she wasn’t satisfied from what she heard from Pulte Homes, earning applause from the 30 or so local residents who were opposed to Lake Hutto(roll tape#4 o.q.�applause�)

The final vote was 5 to 2 in support of the Lake Hutto project, with Ferlita and Al Higgenbotham voting against it.

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