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Keystone Connection News - FEBRUARY 2024



Picture of the Month - Life in Keystone


A Note From Your Editor, C Leonard

Happy Valentines Day!

a month filled with Love.

Love is what brings us together.

Join a committee! We need help on Events and other committees. Community is about working together, stick together, build together, respect everyone's differences. Volunteer today! Email us at: Don't forget to please share hot news and topics, pictures of the area, recipes, and interview availability. Email

" True friends are never apart, maybe in distance but never by heart".

Please support our amazing Business Sponsors featured in this newsletter!


Next General Meeting

FEBRUARY 22, 2024

Social/Sign In 6:30 PM

7:00 PM- 8:30 PM Meeting

Special Presentation by HCSO

If you would like to be a volunteer at our General Meetings set up please click button to email our meeting Chair!




by Clara Lawhead, Co-Chair

1. SU-LE 23-0498 - (Lutz Lake Fern Land Excavation)

Borrow Pit on Lutz Lake Fern Road


SU 23-0498 Special Use Land Excavation.

This petition goes directly to the BOCC on Feb 13, 2024.

The more residents that can attend this meeting the better. If not in person you can attend virtually by the link provided below.

This excavation began in 2008, now 16 years later the owner is asking for another 10 years.  26 years of this destruction, violations, noise, heavy hauling trucks on two lane rural roads is unjustified and unreasonable.  Countless violations have been recorded by SWFWM, Hillsborough County EPC, Natural Resources and Transportation.

The applicant should not be granted ANY waivers, as he has not complied with the conditions of his prior Special Use approval and Operating Permit. County staff recently cited him for digging   as much as eight feet deeper than his current permit allowed in some areas of the pit.  His justification when cited was that he had not created any negative impacts by digging that deep.

Borrow pits are meant to be temporary uses, not permanent.   

BOCC Date: February 13, 2024 9:00 AM at the County Center, 2nd Floor Board Room, Tampa Please attend!

Current Variance requests:

None to report at this time.

Our RESOURCES page also has direct links to the BOCC website for submittals. Be sure to include the Case Number and address for projects that concern your immediate area.


Planning Commission To Host Meeting at Keystone Park Recreation Center

FEBRUARY 15, 2024 AT 6:30 PM

Review of proposed updates to the Comp Plan(s).

Attached below (PDF) are the proposed amendments the county is attempting to make to the comp plan.

If you would like to attend the virtual meeting available on Feb.13, 2024, the content of the meeting will be similar to the Keystone in person meeting, but they will also have technical experts from Water Resources, Development Services, etc. at that virtual meeting.

Here is a direct link for registration for the HC CPA 23-18 meeting and discuss plans for the corresponding Land Development Code text change LDC 24-0221.

February 15, 2024 at 6:30 PM The Planning Commission will be hosting a neighborhood meeting at the Keystone Park Recreation Center to discuss this proposed comp plan amendment (PDF below).

 This amendment proposes to modify Rural Area water and wastewater policies in the One Water Chapter. The policies have been reorganized and new language added to address negative impacts from septic tanks and outline processes for exceptions.


The updated HC/CPA 23-18 language has been  posted on the Planning Commission website. They look forward to coming to Keystone Thursday 2/15 to discuss the amendment. 


As part of the amendment, this section of the plan is proposed to be restructured for clarity/ease of use. Existing concepts currently in the plan are being retained, and new concepts previously noted as part of the amendment have been incorporated. There will be a summary available for all to review that should help folks who are interested in what is new vs. what just moved under the reorganization.


Proposed changes include new policies to allow for Rural Area utility extension for documented environmental issues caused by septic or private/franchise infrastructure and to prevent the clustering of new septic tanks. Staff also recommends an update to an existing policy regarding connections to adjacent utility infrastructure to allow additional units to be served, reducing the number of potential new septic tanks and private wells. Additionally, HC/CPA 23-18 adds a new policy to outline the process for enabling Rural Area utility extensions serving unique circumstances when there is an overriding public interest, as determined by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.

The final language is still subject to change per internal vetting and agency comment.

Read PDF Below:

HC CPA 23-18 Strikethrough Underline Language Feb 2024
Download PDF • 853KB

To view their recent newsletter with more information click link:


KEYSTONE CURRENT MONTH (link included to Hillsborough County Zone Hearing Maps Look Up).

To support or oppose the applications submit your letters to:


Learn About The Zoning Process and See Available Resources : Click Here






What constitutes a call to the County or Code Enforcement :

  1. Illegal dumping or activity.

  2. Illegal FILL of property in low wetland areas that do NOT have a Permit.

  3. Anything "noticeable" that does not indicate a permit that conforms to the KOCP or County Plans.

For IMMEDIATE action, you can do this in one or two ways: Call Code Enforcement or Non Emergency Sheriff OR go to this link online and report CODE VIOLATIONS.




Rural Life In Keystone

Picture of the Month


Owl's Nest Sanctuary Swallow Tailed Kite


Friends come in all sizes and forms. Here is a local feathery friend located at the Owls Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife. We are certainly blessed to live in our amazing rural Keystone/Odessa community.






Nominations ARE OPEN!

It is ELECTION TIME MARCH 2024 to select your new KCA BOD!

from our President, Clara Lawhead

KCA Elections are just around the corner in March. We want you to join us as a member on the Board of Directors for KCA. Your skills and experience are essential. Nominations will be accepted from the floor at the February 22, 2024 General Meeting or emailed anytime. Applications need to be submitted by March 1st. Please consider volunteering. We need connectors, your skills, your energy, and your love of our community to step up. Volunteering is the voice of the people put into action.

The KCA Nominating Committee has been formed that includes one (1) General Member as per Bylaws.

Elections will be held at the March 28, 2024 General Membership Meeting. Thank you to our volunteer(s) for what they do each year without any benefits, but to give to our community!

Please contact our Committee Chair, Jan Nelson at if you have any questions.


Download PDF • 323KB




Hillsborough County is sponsoring a Discover Your Own Path on the 2023-2024 Hiking Spree that runs through March 31, 2024. 

by T. Lawton

More information about the hiking spree, trail locations, and awards for participation can be found at  The Keystone area is fortunate to have two nature preserves and two conservation parks on their trail list. 

The easiest trail, Lake Vista Trail, can be found at Lake Conservation Park, located at 17302 N Dale Mabry Highway.  It costs $2 to park at Lake Park and there is a kiosk which can be utilized to make payment by credit card. Closer to the heart of Keystone you can find the more primitive and moderate trails.

If hikers are looking for shadier trails, the Brooker Creek Headwaters Nature Preserve is located at 18102 Ramblewood Rd. where there is a small parking lot. These nature preserve trails are marked by a certain color, red, blue, white or yellow.  These paint markings on posts or trees are blazes and will guide you in the proper direction. If you come to an intersection, look for a blaze for what direction to hike.  Please note that not all trails provide shade.  If you choose to park at the library and cross Gunn Hwy, the primitive trails can be found off of the paved upper Tampa Bay trail.  Each trail entrance off of the paved trail has a sign with a trail map and designates the color of the trail.  I avoid the primitive trails if it has recently rained but when dry you may catch site of gopher turtles, deer and beautiful butterflies. 

If hikers want to catch site of cows grazing in open pasture than you will want to check out the Little Dan Nature Preserve which is located at 19116 Hicksville Rd just west of the Lake Francis Nature Preserve.  This area has a free parking area.  The sunny trail is on land being utilized as pasture so you will see cows and cow pies but the cows seem to avoid people and it is easy enough to avoid the cow pies.  There are a handful of gates that must be opened and closed throughout the trail to protect the containment of cattle.  Once beyond the pasture, the trail is a remarkable example of the diverse ecology that makes Florida unique.

If hikers want to beat the heat, they may choose a morning hike at the peaceful Northwest Equestrian Park which is located at 10711 S. Mobley Rd.  You may glimpse a dozen different species of birds that inhabit scrub grass, forest as well as marsh land. This park and its trails are mixed use therefore you may encounter horses.  This is the only trail with a bathroom.

Not part of the hiking spree but a well-maintained trail not to be missed is at Lake Rogers Park which is located at 9010 N Mobley Rd.  The loop trail flows around a small lake that is not always visible but has both sunny and shady areas.  There are a couple benches along the trail to stop and rest or just take in the beauty of Keystone.  One of the most unique things I have witnessed at this park is a large patch of sundews, a carnivorous plant native to Florida.  

For those of you who may be considering hiking, it is best practice to always carry a trail map (snap a picture with your cell phone) when you are hiking a nature preserve.  It is also wise to bring your cell phone or compass, plenty of water, sun protection and wear appropriate shoes.  Understand that these trails are on undisturbed land which means you may encounter less common animals.  Adventurous hikers may opt to go solo but it is always safer to hike with a partner.  Register to hike with the county to participate in their hiking spree or just take advantage of all of Keystone’s abundant trails to get closer to nature.  I hope to see you out on the trails.

Trail at Brooker Creek Headwaters Nature Preserve




Support the Adopt A Road Project SIGN UP TODAY!


February 24, 2024 meet 7:00 AM at Keystone Park

We hope to see you or your family members attend to have a fun community involved morning.

Students can receive community hours by volunteering!

We ask our community to PLEASE participate in this effort, as the more hands on deck the better our area looks! With increase of traffic on Gunn Highway a major thruway, comes more "trash" by disregarding people driving through our beautiful community.

It is our mission to keep it clean and we thank Jim Gothard for leading this charge. Please Register Today online on our Events Page : Adopt a Road Registration

Or email us at to sign up!





by T. Lawton

We were so fortunate to have The Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife as our guest at the January general meeting. Kris Porter, a resident of Odessa, is the founder and a licensed rehabilitator.  She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in zoology and is a former Busch Garden’s zookeeper.  She eventually turned her attention to rescue and rehabilitation. The Owl’s Nest work under the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission completely free as a registered 501c3 non-profit organization.

Another special guest of the meeting was a gorgeous, juvenile swallowtail kite.  It was majestic perched upon the forearm of Kris for the entirety of her presentation.  It was remarkable to learn that the bird had endured and overcome being shot and while the goal of Owl’s Nest is to rehabilitate and release animals back into nature this gorgeous bird’s wing injury would not likely permit release.

Kris provided information on many native species that Owl’s Nest rescues, rehabilitates and releases. We learned the Florida Sandhill Crane, of which there are two subspecies unique to Florida, are non-migratory, year-round breeding residents.  It is important to understand if you drive upon these birds it is not their natural instinct to fly so we must take care when approaching in a vehicle.  There are other sandhill cranes from outside of Florida that migrate to our area in November and December at which time the sandhill population doubles. It is important to note that the Florida sandhill crane specifically is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and as a State-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.

The Owl’s Nest facility recently completed construction of a flight barn that required very specific dimensions for larger raptor birds.  It will allow injured birds to strengthen and condition their wings in a protected environment.  The flight barn cost tens of thousands of dollars which was made possible by donations and grants.  

KCA is proud to provide a very small $500 grant to Owl’s Nest as we all aim to be good stewards of our beautiful Keystone Odessa paradise.  Owl’s Nest is not open to the public but they are always looking for volunteers as the organization is entirely run by volunteers.  If you would like more information about the organization, you can find them online at a





In Action!

April 6, 2024

11AM - 4PM

We would appreciate everyone who can volunteer to assist in the success for the Spring Fling 2024 Event!


In preparation of the 2024 Spring Fling we would love to hear your input and suggestions! If you're interested in being a part of this team please let us know at today.

We have cleared the date with Joe Monroe at Keystone Park for our date. This is a FUN way to get involved and to make this years event even bigger and better than ever! Lets show our community strength and engagement by getting involved with this years main event!

As we receive confirmations, updates will be made to the Spring Fling Event Page on our website! Stay Tuned. Meanwhile, sign up to volunteer!

There is a Volunteer Sign Up button on the Spring Fling Web Page, please click here to choose what area you wish to sign up with.

Please reach out to if you would like to sign up on this committee.

Visit our Spring Fling Web page for more information.


Be involved with KCA


Below is a list of our Committees. If you are interested to be more involved with KCA, we would love to have your support by joining one of our committees below.

Simply click the link to directly Email the Committee Chair to SIGN UP or for inquiries! It is our goal to make "communications" easy for our members.


Have any Questions? Please Email Us.


Next General Meeting is on February 22, 2024 with our

HCSO Speaker!


Thank You to our Keystone Business Sponsors for their continued support!

Interested in supporting KCA by becoming a Business Sponsor?


Key Upcoming Dates

February 8, 2024 KCA Board Meeting

February 15, 2024 HC Planning Commission Meeting at Keystone Park Rec Center

February 22, 2024 General Membership Meeting

February 24, 2024 Adopt A Road Clean Up Keystone Park

March 14, 2024 KCA Board Meeting

March 28,2024 BOD ELECTIONS - General Membership Meeting

April 6, 2024 KCA Spring Fling Event

April 27, 2024 Adopt A Road Clean Up Keystone Park

June 29, 2024 Adopt A Road Clean Up Keystone Park

August 31, 2024 Adopt A Road clean Up Keystone Park

October 26, 2024 Adopt A Road Clean Up Keystone Park

Committee Meetings: TBD by Chairs via email / phone

To Sign Up or View all Dates go to our Events Calendar Page


Membership Updates

Please be sure to keep your information up to date i.e. email, phone and address. Please include your spouse name in your membership information so we may acknowledge your family member(s). Renew or become a member Link Here

Have questions on membership OR if you have any updates to your email as this is the MAIN source to contact you please contact us at or via the website inquiry, someone will respond as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience.


You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

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