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County Promotes Safety Around Planned Interchanges


Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2016

The Suncoast Parkway 2, which the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced will begin construction this summer, will have interchange access ramps at both Cardinal Street and State Road 44.   The Cardinal Street area is rural and residential.  The State Road 44 area is semi-rural with limited existing commercial development.  That is why county planners are fine tuning the development standards for how commercial development can grow and develop around the interchanges.  
In 2005, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved an Interchange Management Area Plan to properly plan for future commercial growth around the Suncoast 2 Parkway interchanges at both the Citrus County and state roadways.  The Interchange Management Areas (IMAs) were formulated and installed in the Citrus County Land Development Code to keep proposed road intersections from mirroring the visual blight and unmanaged growth at the Interstate 75 and State Road 44 in Wildwood.  The problem was that in 2005, FDOT had not selected the preferred corridor for the parkway.  During that time, the BOCC approved the Plan as serving a one-mile radius surrounding a potential interchange area. 
More recently, the BOCC instructed planners to revisit the Plan to specifically identify properties surrounding the areas where we now know that the interchanges will be constructed. These development standards identify access management strategies for how commercial driveways connect to the highways leading from the interchanges to promote safe travel.  The standards also look at landscape, exterior lighting, pedestrian circulation, signage, and how lots can subdivided.   However, the standards do not change the zoning.   Instead, the Plan recognizes the interchanges as gateways to Citrus County that can define a community.
The Citrus County Planning and Development Commission has recommended approval of the Plan to the BOCC.  The BOCC will hold a public hearing at the Citrus County Courthouse on June 28, 2016, at 5:05 p.m. to determine the future of the Plan.  For more information, call Joanna Coutu of the Land Development Division of the County at 352-527-5239.  Information may also be viewed at http://www.citrusbocc.com/plandev/landdev/ldc/ordinance-amendment-oa-16-03.pdf

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