TAMPA, Fla. — "There's a big difference between looking out into an open lagoon or directly into someones front door," says Allison Roberts, who was horrified to learn that a New York-based developer wants to fill in 3 acres of the North Rocky Point Basin to build townhomes.
Not only does Roberts and many other residents of the nearby Dana Shores neighborhood worry about overdevelopment in the community, but they are sounding the alarm about what they see as a potentially-dangerous precedent if the townhomes are ultimately approved.
"There are hundreds and hundreds of properties throughout the bay, throughout the city and county, that are submerged lands that if they allow this to be developed that might be in front of your property next," warns Roberts, who is president of her neighborhood's civic association.
There are areas along Bayshore Boulevard and in other parts bordering Old Tampa Bay that are privately owned and could be dredged, filled in and developed upon if local authorities were to change course from long-standing policy.
Both residents and some local businesses voiced their concerns at a recent Tampa-Hillsborough planning commission meeting, saying the townhomes would block views and access to a basin that it a popular place and boat.
It's also a state-regulated Manatee Protection Zone.
Despite these concerns, the planning board approved the plans, which still need to be approved by the Tampa City Council and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
The developer is planning three-story townhomes, each with a private dock, although the plans could still be amended after some approvals.