Send a letter to the County Commissioners about the Southshore Growth Issues:

 

UPDATE 19 Jun 2019 2:05pm – We recently were given a response from the county commissioners office – The charter school has withdrawn their application for rezoning. It is no longer an issue.

Dear Ms. Murman;

Southern Hillsborough County’s infrastructure is a dumpster fire. It’s not bad enough that Big Bend Road is a death trap when drivers are trying to get on and off I 75. It’s not bad enough that Big Bend is not drive-able when the school bell rings at East Bay High. It’s not bad enough that 10,000 or so homes are either newly built or in the planning stage and sub-divisions are popping up like gophers – in every field and around every corner – without an ounce of common-sense infrastructure investment. Apparently, it’s not bad enough. It’s about to get worse.

The latest and greatest ridiculous imposition is a plan to put a Charter School where the old Winn Dixie was located on the corner of Apollo Beach Boulevard and US 41. Precisely on what may be the one intersection in South County that isn’t a hazard. Not only that, the school’s soccer field will be located in the front of the building, adjacent to the highway – choking off access to about 12 local businesses, to include a bank and a very popular Irish Pub. We need retail here. Not another school. Not another sub-division.

This proposed school will alter the traffic pattern on US 41, creating a “right turn only” route out of the only access road serving those 12 retail businesses, the bank and Irish Pub. The same “right turn only” will also be shared with the school traffic. This routes anyone desiring to go north on US 41, down to the next intersection (Flamingo Drive), which has no light and is currently dangerous for a U-turn or left turn any time of the day. Someone will die. Most surely the businesses in The Waterside Shoppes of Apollo Beach will.

To say we are under-served in Southern Hillsborough County is an understatement. We are ignored, exploited and forced to live with decisions made by people that never have to drive these roads, run these businesses and live our lives. Bad ideas run rampant, but none are as horrific as “shoe-horning” a school in the middle of a busy in intersection with limited access, blocking accessibility to local businesses and creating a traffic hazard. It’s both horrific and irresponsible. If this happens, mind you, it can never be undone. We will be stuck with it.

Our current challenges are enormous. A tremendous influx of new residents has come with no infrastructure support. There is no increase in law enforcement, yet there is a notable rise in crime. Our North/South access to and from Tampa is limited to US 41, I 75 and US 301. US 41 is consistently blocked by CSX trains that have no qualms about holding up traffic for miles (and hours) any time they like. Access to I75 is always blocked by a ridiculous on/off ramp issue that was clearly designed by Lego Land. And US 301? Unless you have to use it (when there’s an accident on I75 and a train on US41), US301 at Big Bend has been choked off by a mixture of too much traffic, ongoing construction, caused by zero planning for growth and development.

Something must be done to save Southern Hillsborough County from dependably bad decisions or blatant omission from thought. Actions have consequences. It’s clear that builders and “influencers” are in charge. It’s time to do the right thing, please.

Instead of jamming a size 12 school into a size 6 dress, why don’t we focus on the catastrophe we will suffer when a hurricane comes up the Gulf and nobody can evacuate because all of our North/South access is blocked by ongoing random construction, poorly thought out traffic patterns, inadequate roads and over development. Oh – and the daily CSX barrier that will surely stop on the tracks….and back up…and move forward…and back up.

The residents and business owners of Apollo Beach will be at the July hearing. It’s time to listen to our concerns, please. They are valid.