After nearly a year of planning, the North Alexander Street Land Use Study is complete.
After approximately a year of studying and gathering public input, the Hillsborough County Planning Commission finally has a completed North Alexander Street Land Use Study, which they presented to city commissioners on Sept. 10.
The extension of Alexander Street that connects the existing road at Interstate 4 to Paul Buchman Highway was completed in 2014. Approximately 10 years ago, a Northeast Plant City Master Plan was created. The city relies on that Master Plan to determine how to vote on any land usage or development cases. Due to all the changes in the last decade, the planning commission felt it was high time the section in question was updated.
“We held the open house here in May and 250 property owners were notified,” Planning and Zoning Director Mark Hudson said. “We also interviewed approximately a dozen community leaders to get input.”
The study began in August of 2017 and in May, the HCPC held an open house at Plant City’s City Hall to go over the proposed maps and acquire public input.
“The study is looking at the impact this road is having on the community and what the changes to that road will have over time, the changes over time meaning how quiet this area used to be. So as properties annex into the city, what will they annex in as?” Jay Collins, senior planner with the planning commission, told the Observer.
Residents came in and toured the maps with a planner and then sat down with markers to make their adjustments and suggestions. The planners also took opinions online for months, gathering as much public comment as they could.
After combing through the suggestions and pairing it alongside the data they had acquired, they had 16 suggestions for city commissioners to potentially adopt in the master plan. They said most of the transportation was operating well, but recommended the city continue studying the transportation issues in the area.
They also encouraged the city to continue with the voluntary annexations, to meet annually with the school district, to begin preliminary work on a utilities plan for the area, to evaluate signage and specifically to conduct a more in-depth analysis of the neighborhood on the west side of Paul Buchman and Monroe Street.
Hudson echoed the sentiments held by the commissioners when he explained that the retail industry was dying and the future would hold rapid growth of industrial and residential communities.
As of now, there is not enough growth in the analyzed area to support any further retail industry like a Publix, however, the completion of North Park Isle could easily change that. They suggested the city amend the employment projections for the city, which is already underway. They updated the preferred land use for the area and highlighted areas that may need to soon be considered for the addition of signage or intersection lights.
Their suggestions caused commissioners to once again voice their desire to look at State Road 39 South and North Alexander Street as potential sites for a “new County Line Road,” which would result in converting the area to another industrial complex.