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Petition to stop devvelopment in North Port neighborhood

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 4:38 pm | Updated: 5:49 pm, Thu Feb 7, 2013.

A potential plan to put a gas station and Dollar General near one North Port neighborhood has some residents peeved. Now they're petitioning city leaders to keep it from happening.

"It butts right up to our home." A few months ago Janice Wilbert found surveyors behind her home. Then she found out the bad news. "We found out there was going to be a Dollar General on our corner of Cranberry and Price."

Right smack dab in the middle of neighborhood homes. That wasn't all. Across the street too. "Gas station, car wash, and convenience store."

While Price boulevard is an arterial roadway residents say they thought at most a park, church, or even offices could be built there. "People are up in arms."

City planners like Barbara McKeathon say some of the concern is premature. "We do not have any formal applications for any development on Price and Cranberry. We had a pre-application meeting with two applicants but we have not heard anything about if they are developing or not."

"There is a plan. Wouldn't you be worried?" Trees on the site have been marked. What looks like soil samples have been taken. Neighbor Dorothy Seifts shows us a preliminary plan sent to the city. They've now started a petition. "It wouldn't fit. I think with our 250 signed petitions of just local homes that are effected in the area we are telling the city that this is not in our best interest."

McKeathon says the properties have been zoned for years and that those who have bought the recently sold land have rights too. "The city can not just go in and downgrade the property. It is neighborhood commercial. It has restrictions. It is not straight commercial."

Those who live here say it will downgrade their property and wreck natural habitat where they see gopher tortoise, scrub jay, and bobcats. All while bringing bright lights, noise, pollution, traffic, and headaches to the place they call home. "I hope they take into consideration what we have. Re-look at our neighborhood and not make it retail."

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