Palm Harbor community concerned about growth along Alt. US 19 - WFLA News Channel 8

Palm Harbor community concerned about growth along Alt. US 19

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Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche meets with residents concerned with growth along Alt. 19 in Palm Harbor. Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche meets with residents concerned with growth along Alt. 19 in Palm Harbor.
Alternate 19 in Palm Harbor Alternate 19 in Palm Harbor
PALM HARBOR, FL (WFLA) -

Many neighbors who live off Alternate 19 in Palm Harbor are concerned their area is growing too fast. The road narrows to two lanes in the section North of Alderman Road, yet the county approved another new development.

"The long-term issue is traffic and congestion here," said Joann Sawyer, homeowner.

Sawyer's property backs-up to the new Harbor Ridge development. To make matters worse for Sawyer, the county approved a variance for the developer to put up a 10 foot fence, without the required 24 foot setback, but with the condition of adding trees and landscaping.

Other neighbors explain the issue here is bigger than a 10-foot fence.

According to Debbie Cobb, the county is allowing this area to develop too fast and the infrastructure can't handle the growth.

"It's not just about fixing roads.You have a road with 22,000 people a day that go on it. You have 300 people down the road and the county just approved for a business to move in with 300 move people.you've got a development across the street," said Cobb.

Cobb is the outreach manager of The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary across Alt. 19 from Harbor Ridge. She said traffic on the state road often turns to gridlock and when it recently flooded, no one could get in or out.

"When I go to the county, they tell me the state owns Alt. 19, and I called FDOT, they told me they couldn't do anything about development," said Cobb.

She invited Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche out to take a look at their concerns.

"This particular area here along Alt 19 has always been a challenge. It continues to grow. Folks as private owners have the right to seek to develop their land, but FDOT has no plans on improving this roadway," said Roche.

Roche admitted the county needs a plan to handle long term growth in the area.

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