Neighbors fight rezoning proposal that would add large subdivision

Neighbors say proposal would complicate traffic
Posted at 9:04 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 21:04:04-04

The price of growth is getting a little too high for one Hillsborough County Community. They are coming together to fight a proposal that would add a 67-home subdivision.

From letters, to flyers and calls to the Development Services Department, neighbors in Odessa are making themselves heard. They're against a wetland, on Copeland Road, turning into a subdivision.

"While some of us may have felt initially '67 homes, so what?' once we thought about it, we thought we have to fight this," said Michael Kersmarki, vice president of the Cumberland Manors Homeowner's Association.

The proposed 55-acre development would include two gates to go in and out. One of them, on Nikki Lane would force the new traffic onto Heathridge Drive, impacting 25-hundred people currently living there. That's because, Heathridge is the only road that lets neighbors exit the area. Now, they fear the small road will be overwhelmed with an additional 1,000 car trips per week.

"We don't want to stop growth in this county, it's very important to our economy. But it has to be reasonable growth," he said.

Down the street, Cynthia Parkshook fears a different outcome.

"Our neighborhood is really concerned right now that it's going to cause flooding. We're already flooding up to the backdoor as it is," she said.

Likewise her Nikki Lane neighbor, Heather Belco, says her home already floods when it rains and higher-elevated new homes, would make it worse. Then, seemingly good news this morning. ABC Action News checked in with Hillsborough County and the group making the proposal revised their plan. The changes propose making the Nikki Lane gate an emergency exit only. However, neighbors are not convinced.

"The devil is in the details," said Kersmarki, "That gate has to be controlled by county emergency services."

"I'd like it to stay zoned as a pasture or farmland like it is right now," said Parshook.

Despite their reason for concern, these neighbors vow to be at the October 17th public hearing.

"Believe it or not that's my wedding anniversary but i'm going to be there," said Belco.

ABC Action News reached out to the William F. Sutton Family Partnership, the group proposing the development, to get their side of the story. We also reached out to their attorney multiple times but have not heard back from either.