CARROLLWOOD, Fla. - They proved you can fight the big boys and win.
Dozens of red-clad Carrollwood residents packed the Hillsborough County Commission chambers Tuesday morning to show their continued opposition to a proposed Walmart Market and WaWa Convenience Mart planned for the corner of Floyd and Dale Mabry.
Those residents were up dark and early to bus it down to the Land Use hearing, where the overflow crowd had to assemble in a 26th floor conference room to watch as a phalanx of attorneys and experts hired by Walmart explained why the proposed land use was OK and would benefit the community.
In fact, county staff had given a green light for the zoning, based on studies done by both the developer and architects for the buildings.
But one-by-one, the commissioners admitted that while there was some basis to approve the project, they just couldn't ignore the outcry from the community. Their vote was 6-0 to deny the request.
"They sided with us," said Leah Wooten, who spoke as the representative of "813 Cares" -- the grass-roots group spearheading the opposition. "We're thrilled! It's been such a long 10 months."
Indeed ,an appeal could take months -- perhaps years -- and could end up costing millions of dollars in legal fees and staff time.
However, in this case, the commissioners bowed to their constituents, many of whom wore "I voted" buttons to remind the board that they're working for the people.
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