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St. Petersburg Times published November 12, 1999 Rural areas work on goals for growth: Lutz and Keystone/Odessa want to manage growth and preserve their rural character. By JACKIE RIPLEY TAMPA -- What's the best thing that might come out of the Lutz and Odessa/Keystone community plans? An end of frustration felt by residents, developers and county officials. That's the opinion of Steve Morris, president of the Keystone Civic Association and one of the civic leaders who helped craft those plans. Morris said the community plans will remove those frustrations because they outline "what the community wants" as well as being "precise plans to direct development." At a workshop before the Hillsborough County Commission on Wednesday, members of the Planning Commission and civic leaders put forth their best effort to bring commissioners up to speed on the progress of the community-based plans. They are the result of a nearly two-year process by the Hillsborough Planning Commission, involving countless meetings between residents and planners, to craft blueprints that would preserve the rural nature of the areas. "This is not a no-growth plan," said Lorraine Duffy, planning manager of the Planning Commission. Instead, it is a plan that allows "growth that is compatible with the area." But what is compatible with Lutz may not necessarily be compatible with Keystone/Odessa, even though both communities want to preserve their rural character. In Lutz, the focus is on openness, heritage and individuality, a place where cookie-cutter subdivisions don't fit in. Morris said the community plans will remove those frustrations because they outline "what the community wants" as well as being "precise plans to direct development." That's not to say they have a place in Keystone/Odessa, where the theme is rural. "We want the hay around and the cows around," said Odessa resident Jeanette Lindstrom. Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman wanted to know how to bridge the gap between people who live in these areas for peace and tranquility and those who also want urban services such as sidewalks and fire hydrants. "If you want rural development you're going to have to accept rural standards," said Duffy, admitting it's a concept that will have to be taught. County Commissioner Jan Platt wondered if the plans would be strong enough to protect the two communities from growth that threatens not only from the south but also from Pasco County to the north in "a wave that will not just inundate them in the end." And County Commissioner Ben Wacksman said the plans must be good because "no one is 100 percent happy with them." Joseph Narkiewicz, executive director of the Builders Association of Greater Tampa and a member of the advisory committee to the Planning Commission, said members agreed on where they want to end up but not how to get there. The committee's findings will be translated into new county land-use laws by next spring with hopes for adoption in May or June, Duffy said.
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