BROOKSVILLE - Planning and zoning commissioners Monday approved a conditional plat for the proposed Cortez Commons shopping center, paving the way for the development of the massive commercial project.
Located at the southwest corner of State Road 50 and Mariner Boulevard, Cortez Commons has already attracted 10 chains expressing interest in opening stores at the busy corner.
With P&Z approval, the project now enters the design phase, and infrastructure items like water and sewer, drainage retention areas, access to utilities, road accessibility and development of a frontage road will be addressed.
Planning member Denis Riley said the SR 50 and Mariner Boulevard intersection has one of the highest traffic accident rates in the county.
"There are a lot of traffic issues in that area that certainly need to be addressed as we go through the design process," Riley said.
Assistant County Administrator for Planning & Development Ron Pianta said staff would take into account the congestion around SR 50 and Mariner.
"I want to assure you that we are addressing all those traffic issues through the county engineer's office - appropriate traffic studies, frontage road requirements," Pianta said. "It's a very congested area, but we are addressing those issues."
County Commissioner Diane Rowden expressed similar concerns at last week's county commission meeting, and asked staff to see about moving up the intersection improvements to eliminate what has become a "death trap."
Tenants that have expressed an interest in coming to Cortez Commons are: Longhorn Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Bob Evans, Wawa, Dick's Sporting Goods, DSW Shoe Warehouse, ULTA, Hobby Lobby, Mattress Firm and Vitamin Shoppe.
Also at Monday's meeting:
.P&Z members unanimously approved a request from Jonel Marjoncu to rezone a parcel on the east side of U.S. 19, just south of Yellow Hammer Road, for a woodworking shop specializing in custom doors and windows.
Marjoncu plans to erect a 5,000-square-foot building on the site, which was originally rezoned for an automobile and truck repair shop.
.Commissioners rejected a request from the Suncoast Parkway Trust to rezone a 4-acre site on the west side of Winter Street, north of Horn Avenue, from commercial to residential.
Charles Sheffield, a trustee with Suncoast Trust, said the downturn in the economy makes it unlikely the property could be developed commercially and instead sought approval to build homes there.
But the board, following staff's recommendation, denied the request because it would be inconsistent with the commercial texture of the surrounding property.
.P&Z commissioners approved a conditional plat for property owner Gary Blackwell who wants to develop 28 acres near the entrance to the High Point subdivision.
Plans call for two senior housing multi-family lots and six commercial parcels on the north side of State Road 50 and west of Weeping Willow Street.