Public Rezoning Hearing on January 20, 2009

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Citizens Supporting the Current Zoning of the NW Corner of Ehrlich Road and Bellamy Road and the Preservation of Wetlands in Citrus Park

Hillsdale Baptist Church is made up of a local community of citizens, many of who live and work in the Citrus Park area.  Recently an announcement was posted that a neighboring property will be rezoned to accommodate the construction of a new RaceTrac Convenience Store and Gas Pumps.

At Hillsdale, we are fully in support of the growth and development of local businesses.  We do all that we can to invest in the well being of our county.  However, we are concerned that the addition of a Convenience Store and Gas Pumps on the corner of Ehrlich Road and Bellamy Road would have detrimental consequences in our area.

Because of this, we support the existing zoning of the Northwest corner of Ehrlich Road and Bellamy Road and the preservation of the wetlands in Citrus Park.

Here is a summary of the negative impact that rezoning to accommodate a RaceTrac Convenience Store and Gas Pumps would have on our community:

1.    The addition of a RaceTrac Convenience Store and Gas Pumps would further harm the beautiful wetlands and protected environment of Citrus Park.  The quiet ambiance that we currently enjoy would be replaced by pollution and noise.
2.    The driveway cut on Bellamy Road would be too close to the intersection, not allowing adequate stacking of Northbound Bellamy traffic when making a left turn into site.
3.    Since Bellamy Road is the only access into several developments, representing hundreds of homes, any commercial driveway to the site from Bellamy would not be safe or practical.
4.    The driveway cut on Ehrlich Road would be too close to the intersection, representing a traffic hazard to accelerating Westbound traffic from the light for right hand turns into the site.
5.    There are currently no provisions for a security/privacy wall along the Western property line between Hillsdale Baptist Church and the proposed RaceTrac Convenience Store and Gas Pumps.  If plans proceed, we would like to see a six-foot masonry wall run the entire length of the Western property line.
6.    An application for a Beer and Wine License is likely for RaceTrac Convenience Store and Gas Pumps.  This would put alcohol sales adjacent to Hillsdale Baptist Church, Preschool and Academy. Current regulations state that alcohol sales must be 500 feet away from the property line, not the building, of a church or a school.  The proposed site shows a 20-foot set back from the church property line.  A convenience store, like RaceTrac, will likely fail without alcohol sales.  See the Southeast corner of Ehrlich Road and West Village Road as proof of where a previous convenience store with gas station and car wash failed and was sold to Regions Bank.  Their failure is attributed to having no alcohol license due to the proximity of Ben Hill Middle School.
7.    The atmosphere of a RaceTrac Convenience Store and Gas Pumps is not in keeping with the residential character of the neighborhood.
8.    There is no need for additional fuel delivery in the neighborhood.  Stations in our area are closing due to the economy, not opening.
9.    The exit off of Northbound Veterans Expressway is poorly designed.  Because of this, many tickets are cited when traffic, merging Eastbound onto Ehrlich Road, does not come to a full stop. There is often a Highway Patrol or Sheriff waiting on the East side of the retention pond.  Eastbound traffic going into RaceTrac Convenience Store and Gas Pumps will likely have to perform a u-turn. Additional accidents are probable. Eastbound traffic turning onto Bellamy Road already does not have enough room in the turning lane, which clogs the traffic flow.

Again, at Hillsdale Baptist church, we are not against the success and growth of local business in Citrus Park.  A progressive, flourishing community is good for our own growth.  However, we do fervently support the safeguarding of our protected wetlands and the wildlife that accompanies them, as well as the quiet ambiance and residential character of our community.  For these reasons, we support maintaining the current zoning regulations of the previously discussed intersection.

We would greatly appreciate the additional support of all concerned citizens who have an interest in the well being of the Citrus Park community.  A public hearing is scheduled for January 20 at 6:00pm and is open to any interested party.

For further questions or comments, please contact John Tracy, Hillsdale Baptist Church Pastoral Staff Member, at 813-884-8250.

There is also a Facebook Group Created for Citizens to join and show their support of keeping the current zoning.  More information can be read there.  You can visit the Facebook page by clicking HERE.

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  1. David Hunter  January 3, 2009

    Our family here in AL. Will be praying for Hillsdale Baptist Church to not have such a business on that corner so close to the Church and what it would do and bring to the cummunity! I agree with you!! So now that you all again on this issue will be held up in prayers!! Also I am always praying for Hillsdale and the staff!! Loved the Christmas musical!! I am so glad that we were able to be there for it!

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