Hillsborough River News

   A Partners In Planning Publication of

   The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board &

   The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission  

eNews Issue 4  

Fall 2011  

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In This Issue

Did you know?
Area of River watershed master planned
Tampa to improve spill response procedures
River Board meeting at Tampa Cruis-A-Cade Boat Club
USGS Charts

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NOV 4, 9:00am - Port Tour


NOV 15, 1:30pm - TAC


DEC 5, 1:30pm - River Board 


DEC 20, 1:30pm - TAC 



For more information on the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board & Technical Advisory Council, please contact staff at 813.272.5940 or visit us on the web:





Did you know?
boardwalk trail at Hillsborough River State Park

Hillsborough River State Park offers more than 3,300 acres of beautiful uplands, multiple biking and hiking trails; a full-facility, primitive and youth campgrounds; ample canoeing and kayaking opportunities and a newly renovated half-acre swimming pool. That, and much, much, more is what await visitors who wish to spend some quality time outdoors in central Florida. Hillsborough River State Park offers guests a bit of old-time Florida, from the natural wooded communities to the old buildings and pavilions built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the mid-1930s.


The Hillsborough River Bridge, also built by the CCC, is a prominent feature of the park, spanning across the river. Freshwater anglers can test their skills in the river, which is plentiful with bass, bream and catfish. A replica of Fort Foster - an 1837 fort from the Second Seminole War - is located within the park and ranger-led tours are offered every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Hillsborough River State Park  

Cypress swamps, pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks comprise the forested woodlands that provide habitat for a variety of wildlife common to the area, including bobcats, deer, gopher tortoises, woodpeckers and owls.  Hikers have four trail options which include a small portion of the 1,400-mile Florida National Scenic Trail. The national trail begins in the Florida panhandle, extends east, then turns south winding through central Florida and ending at Big Cypress National Preserve.


 Last year, the park was recognized by Reserve America as number one of America's "Top 25 Canoeing Spots," number one of America's Top 25 "Water Recreation Parks" and number 15 of America's "Top 100 Family Campgrounds." So if you like to canoe, kayak, camp, swim, fish, hike or bike, Hillsborough River State Park has it all.   For more information, please visit Hillsborough River State Park at Florida State Parks online.

Area of River watershed master planned

The City of Plant City was nearing residential build-out around 2001.  The municipality evaluated which adjacent lands were the most appropriate for future municipal expansion.  Based in large part on fewer environmental constraints and the availability of undeveloped tracks of land, it was determined the area to the northeast of the municipality was the most logical area to accommodate the future growth of Plant City.  The entire study area is within the watershed of the Hillsborough River and includes surface waters and wetlands that drain to the river.  It is generally bounded by Knights-Griffin Road to the north, the extension of Alexander Street to the west, I-4 or US 92 to the south and Polk County to the east.


Due to the anticipated expansion into this area and its lack of many public facilities, in 2008 the municipality proactively developed a "vision plan" for this area, which was named the Northeast Plant City Area Master Plan. The City of Plant City was aided in this endeavor by the Planning Commission and the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization.  


Northeast Plant City Area Master Plan  

This planning effort was undertaken to establish a "vision" for this area's future development, to ensure that new residents are well integrated into the social fabric of the City of Plant City. The guiding principles of this study included:

  • Preserving hometown charm of Plant City
  • Promoting economic diversity
  • Providing adequate infrastructure
  • Ensuring sustainable natural and built environments

One of the first steps of this study was to conduct a development suitable analysis for this twenty-two square mile area, which included a review and examination of wetland systems, historic and archeological resources, existing and planned infrastructure, floodplains and significant wildlife habit. Based on this analysis, public agency comment and citizen review, a preferred land use scenario was developed that promotes a village center concept, with higher intensity and density mixed uses at its core, while leaving areas in the periphery in a more rural lifestyle in unincorporated Hillsborough County.


The village center will be located at the intersection of Midway and Charlie Taylor Roads.  Another interesting feature is a large passive park just south of Knights Griffin Road and east of Paul Buchman Highway (SR 39).  Environmental sensitive lands will remain more rural in character, these areas are generally north of Knights Griffin Road and in those areas just west of County Line Road, north of Swindell Road.  Non-residential uses (industrial and commercial) are envisioned at the three interchanges with I-4, at Paul Buchman Highway (SR 39), Park Road and County Line Road. Wetland areas will be protected with a land use designation of Natural Preservation. In addition, this land use scenario promotes:  

  • A balanced mix of housing, employment and civic uses
  • The clustering of residential uses
  • Greenways that provide alternatives to vehicular trips and recreational opportunities
  • In the rural areas, the recognition of continued agricultural uses
  • The development of a roadway network that creates parallel facilities toMark Hudson, AICP I-4

"Through this master planning process, Plant City will protect the watershed to ensure future generations will continue to enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities afforded by the Hillsborough River," said Mark P. Hudson, AICP, Director, Planning and Zoning Division of the City of Plant City.  This preferred land use scenario was adopted into the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Plant City, in July 2009. Along with more in-depth site analysis at the time of annexation, the information contained in this land use scenario will be used to generally guide development within northeast Plant City. 



Tampa to improve spill response procedures
No Fishing sign on cement waterside wall

Approximately four million gallons of untreated sewage from broken pipes flowed down river and into Tampa's reservoir on the Hillsborough River in late March 2011.  Flowing from two sewer line breaks, the untreated sewage entered Trout Creek and worked its way through the tributary to the Hillsborough River.  Environmental officials consider it a major spill but do not expect the pollution to cause long-term damage to the river or a large fish kill, said Paula Noblitt, manager for the county Environmental Protection Commission.


The first break in an 18-inch line carrying sewage from New Tampa to the city's treatment plant on Hookers Point happened on March 15th near the intersection of Interstate 75 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.  The second came a day later near Trout Creek, just north of the entrance to Flatwoods Park.  The city put up signs at Trout Creek Park warning people not to swim, wade or fish in the river, because the park was where people were likely to have contact with tainted water, said Ralph Metcalf, director of the city's sewer department.  City of Temple Terrace staff were not immediately aware of the spill, despite being directly downstream on the Hillsborough River.


The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board and Technical Advisory Council spent several months investigating the response to the spill.  At their regular meeting in August, the River Board concluded that there were failures in the response and coordination after the spill.  The River Board sent a letter to the jurisdictions and agencies involved in the response recommending they meet to evaluate the response and improve coordination.  A written response by Anthony L. Kasper, P.E., Chief Engineer and Acting Director of the City of Tampa Wastewater Department notes: "...the City has already taken steps to counsel and provide additional training to its staff in the proper use of the State Warning Point, including procedures for overflow volume estimation and the need to provide regular updates not just to FDEP and EPCHC officials, but also the State Warning Point if a spill is ongoing and escalates in magnitude as was the case on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard."

River Board TAC meeting at Tampa Cruis-A-Cade Boat Club
Tampa Cruis-A-Cade Boat Club logo

Located at 700 W. Ross Avenue in Tampa, the Tampa Cruis-A-Cade Boat Club (TCCC) is a private family boating club located on the lower Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa.  In 1959, the TCCC paid the city $10 to use a piece of property on the Hillsborough River for its family boating club.  The city's condition on the property deed: The land had to be used for public purposes or the city would take it back.  In a lawsuit filed in September of 2006, the City of Tampa said that Cruis-a-Cade "has failed to utilize the property for such purposes" and is operating a private membership club.  Club members argued that the property is open to the public, as anyone can join after a criminal records check.  The lawsuit said Cruis-a-Cade members "must meet certain subjective membership criteria" determined by a committee.  It said the public is restricted access to the club, which is used "primarily for the private enjoyment of its members."  Cruis-a-Cade members maintain that the club has always been open to the public.  The City of Tampa subsequently dropped the lawsuit.


In a separate action the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser determined in 2005 that the Cruis-a-Cade didn't qualify for "charitable" or "public purpose" tax exemptions.  Mr. Joe Murphy of TCCC attended a recent meeting of the River Board TAC.  After a discussion, it was agreed that the River Board TAC would hold a meeting at the Cruis-a-Cade property to facilitate a better understanding of the property and club by the River Board TAC.

USGS Charts
Precipitation Chart

Gage Height Chart


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