Meadow Pointe residents rally against 7-Eleven

A proposal to build a 7-Eleven at the intersection of Mansfield Boulevard and County Line Road is on hold while developers decide their next step.

Pasco County commissioners on Jan. 9, and members of the county’s Development Review Committee, on Jan. 11, both voted to continue public hearings on the matter until “a time uncertain.”

Area residents of Meadow Pointe II hope the project won’t proceed, according to Chris Dillinger, who has spearheaded the opposition effort with Meadow Pointe residents.

“If developers do pursue this, we’re not going to stop and let this happen. We’re going to fight it tooth and nail,” Dillinger said.

The site is next to Kids R Kids Learning Academy of Meadow Pointe. Dillinger has one child, 8 months old, at Kids R Kids, and another who attended prekindergarten.

Residents who oppose the gas station and convenience store worry about children’s safety, and an increase in traffic generally at the intersection.

More than 900 people have signed an online petition Dillinger created at Change.org opposing the 7-Eleven. He also created a Facebook group, “MP711.”

No one spoke at the county commission or development review committee meetings on behalf of the applicant and Meadow Pointe developer, Trout Creek Properties.

County officials said the property’s current neighborhood commercial zoning doesn’t permit underground fuel storage and gas pumps. They suggested Trout Creek seek a modification to the zoning.

Trout Creek in its initial rezoning application asked for general commercial. County officials were uncomfortable with that category.

That designation would allow some “ugly stuff,” including junkyards, said Corelynne Howell, a county senior planner.

7-Eleven filed a separate pre-application in fall 2016 prior to preliminary discussions with county planners, and before the rezoning application.

The proposed convenience store would be more than 3,000 square feet and would have 16 gas pumps.

Opponents say a gas station next to a children’s day care and school is unsafe. They also worry about traffic in and out of Kids R Kids, and at the intersection.

Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore agrees with the opponents.

“I don’t think this is the most suitable location for them,” Moore said. “I’m 100 percent against it.”

Dillinger said an added worry would be if a road connection were built to link Mansfield Boulevard in Pasco and Kinnan Street in Hillsborough County. That would cause a significant increase in traffic on Mansfield Boulevard, he said.

Dillinger believes the expectation of that linkage is what made the Meadow Pointe location attractive for 7-Eleven.

“It’s all related,” Dillinger said.

Connecting the two roadways, which currently dead-end at the county line, has been debated for years. The issue currently is under review, with Pasco awaiting the results of a study to evaluate the pros and cons of more county-to-county road connections.

If a public hearing is rescheduled on 7-Eleven, Trout Creek must again post signs on the site, and send new notifications to  affected property owners regarding the hearing date.

Published January 17, 2018

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