Developers of the proposed Cypress Creek Town Center mall got some good news from a federal appeals court recently. But, so did opponents of the project.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, the appellate court decided that the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers did its job in examining the possible wetland and waterway impacts of the mall, which would be built at the corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 56.
"The Jacobs Group is confident that this development will now finally proceed forward," Thomas P. Schmitz, of The Richard E. Jacobs Group, wrote in an email Wednesday to Pasco County officials, the Times reported.
While the 17-page ruling does uphold the Corps’ decision on wetland permitting, the court did raise a new issue. Appellate judges say the developer and Corps must now address any possible impacts the project might have on the eastern indigo snake, which is a threatened species.
If the Jacobs Group wants to move ahead with mall construction, it must get the Corps to demonstrate that the project won’t adversely affect the snakes that live on the site.
Mall developers remain confident they can work through the issues.
The mall’s permit was initially granted in 2007, but work on the project was halted when the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit in 2008. Permitting issues have plagued the project ever since.
As the case has gone through different twists and turns, other retail developers have seen their green-lighted projects go from permitting to construction to opening. The Shops at Wiregrass and The Grove at Wesley Chapel have both opened while the corner of Interstate 75 and State Road 56 remains undeveloped.