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Keystone Connection News - OCTOBER 2023

Updated: Oct 26, 2023


Picture of the Month - Life in Keystone

A Note From Your Editor, C. Leonard

OCTOBER 2023 It's Fall and Gift of Giving time is here!

We would love to highlight life in Keystone/Odessa much more. Please share your adorable animal - fam pictures or a great story about where you live! It is our goal to share more about our community and resident businesses.

It is our community effort to "Preserve Keystone/Odessa" for its beauty, rurality and our waters, it takes a team to work together respectfully. Want to get more involved? There are open board seats. Don't feel you have time to fill a board position? Join a committee! Sometimes a committee chair needs someone to make a call or run an errand, print something off or research something. There are many small tasks whereas more people that help, will unload pressure off the larger items to complete expediently. Volunteer today! Email us at: Don't forget to please share hot news and topics, pictures of the area, recipes, and interview availability. Email

"Kindness and compassion come from within. They are innate in all of us, and are part of what make us human." CL

Please support our amazing Business Sponsors featured in this newsletter!


Thursday, October 26, 2023

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM General Meeting

at Keystone Civic Center Keystone Park

We have an exciting meeting planned to close out our 2023 Year and prepare for the Holidays! Do not miss this informative meeting.

Highlight Agenda Items Include:

Special Guest Presenters to KCA for the "Hillsborough County Good Neighborhood Award" for most engaged association by Commissioner/Chairman, Ken Hagen.

KCA Grant Recipient Presentation to: Kris Porter, Owl's Nest Wildlife Sanctuary

Guest Speaker: Wade Reynolds, Project Manager for Hillsborough County Truck Route Plan update and the 2050 Freight Needs Assessment, part of the update to the long range transportation plan.

Click here to read more about the Truck Route Planning Progress.

If you would like to help us set up please click button to email our meeting Chair!


Introducing our Guest Speaker WADE REYNOLDS

Executive Planner, Hillsborough TPO

Wade Reynolds, AICP, is a Principal Planner with the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), the transportation division of Plan Hillsborough. He is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Policy and the University of Florida with a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. Mr. Reynolds is the staff coordinator for the TPO’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and works on a variety transportation projects in the City of Tampa, Plant City, Temple Terrace, and unincorporated Hillsborough County.




by Clara Lawhead, Chair

1. RZ-STD-23-0443 (Gunn and Racetrack Road) was continued. The site at the SW Corner of Racetrack Rd / Gunn Hwy is currently zoned RSC-2 with 2.3 acres +/- . It has a Future Land Use designation of Residential-1 (RES-1), which allows for up to 1 dwelling unit per gross acre and is seeking commercial zoning. The County found the original application to be inconsistent and on June 8, 2023 found the new application inconsistent. A letter of opposition to the county on behalf of KCA was submitted to Optix.

LUHO Date: N/A BOCC Date: November 7, 2023

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

The applicant has requested a continuance to 12/12 with BOCC LUM. In accordance with the LDC, this application’s last hearing opportunity will be in February 2024. Interested parties contact for more information.

BOCC Date: December 12, 2023 9:00 AM

Current Variance requests in place are:

1. VAR-23-0949 18825 Gunn Hwy, Odessa Florida. This variance request is to build an 8-foot surrounding wall system on all sides of the property. Current code (Part 6.07.00 Fences and Walls) allows for a 4-foot height on Gunn Hwy and 6 foot on the sides and rear. Virtual participation is available. A letter has been sent to the BOCC for record by KCA, not in support of this request. Public Hearing Date: October 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM was rescheduled to December 19, 2023.

Update on Patterson Road Development

Patterson Road Case Information: The Trial is NOVEMBER 13, 14, 15, 2023!

RE: Case Number: 22-CA-004745

Uniform Case Number: 292022CA004745A001HC

Steven Nordbeck, et al v. Hillsborough County, Florida, et al

Case Filed On: 2022-06-06

Dates of Trial : November 13, 14, 15, 2023 at 8:00 AM

Location: 800 E. Twiggs Street, Tampa, Florida- Courtroom #TBD

JUDGE: Honorable Mark R. Wolfe

To view the 9-12-2023 BOCC Land Use meeting with regard to the Plat request item (taken off agenda) Click this YouTube Link: B-11 Project 5549 starts at the 12:46 mark.


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

To support or oppose the applications submitted your letters can be sent to:


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



Located on corner of Gunn Hwy and N. Mobley Rd.

The 2020-2021 Approved Sikh Temple Project is out for bid to begin construction. Upon reviewing the plan drawing (provided hereto) we realize a meeting is in order to identify the comparatives from previous project proposal (approved by community and county) to current design model drawing. This is being investigated and we hope to provide more information by our General Meeting and/or will send out an update to all current members.

SIKH Temple Odessa Drawing Elevation

Sikh Temple Elevation Front

To avoid misunderstanding and define better to our community what the Sikh Temple represents, we are respectfully providing descriptive facts for educational purpose what this religious sanctuary means.

Sikhs believe in one God, equality, freedom of religion and community service. The Sikh turban represents a commitment to equality and justice.

Sikhism is a distinct religion, separate from Hinduism and Islam.

Sikhism is monotheistic and stresses the equality of all men and women. Sikhs believe in three basic principles: meditating on the name of God (praying), earning a living by honest means as well as sharing the fruits of one's labor with others.

Sikhism rejects caste and class systems and emphasizes service to humanity. The Sikh faith teaches us the humanitarian principles of freedom, equality and justice - the same principles this great democracy is founded on.

The universal nature of the Sikh way of life reaches out to people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds, encouraging us to see beyond our differences and to work together for world peace and harmony.





Project Manager Wade Reynolds is Guest Speaker at our October 26, 2023 Meeting

by C. Lawhead

As you may have read last month and heard about at our September General Membership Meeting, our KCA President has been investigating means to reduce truck traffic in Keystone.

As she has been working with a number of departments in our county network it has become clear that there are things that can be done to better control truck traffic. In addition to “NO THRU TRUCKS OVER ONE TON CAPACITY” signs needed, we can also work with our Transportation Planning Organization’s Executive Planners to further strengthen the Future Traffic Planning.

Our guest speaker, Mr. Wade Reynolds, AICP at the General Membership Meeting on October 26, 2023 is the staff Coordinator of the TPO’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and works on a variety of transportation projects. His bio sketch is noted earlier in this newsletter for your information. He is currently the Project Manager for the Hillsborough County Truck Route Plan Update and the 2050 Freight Needs Assessment, part of the update to the Long Range Transportation Plan.

Please mark this on your calendars and plan to attend.


County Connections

You are invited to discuss the Future Land Use (FLU) Section draft language with us! We’ve heard your ideas on how we can continue to improve our community, and now we need your guidance on what we’ve done so far. Join us for our third round of interactive discussions on potential changes to the Unincorporated Hillsborough County Comprehensive Plan - Future Land Use Section. Visit the information page to review the goals, download a copy of the draft language, and review past meeting materials. We will discuss the draft language at the meetings listed below, so please come with your comments ready! Upcoming Public Meetings Thursday, November 2 6:00 - 8:00 pm In person Gardenville Recreation Center More information Monday, November 6 6:00 - 8:00 pm Virtual Register here More information

Upcoming Project Advisory Team Meetings Wednesday, November 15 5:00 - 7:00 pm In person County Center More information Thursday, November 16 12:00 - 1:30 pm Virtual Register here


KCA is a 2023 Hillsborough County Neighborhood Of The Year Award Recipient

POSTED September 27, 2023 | 1:47 PM From Hillsborough County

2023 Neighborhood Award Winners Contribute to the Greater Good of the Community

These neighborhood organizations went the extra mile to engage their residents

It's that time of year when Hillsborough County recognizes its most civically involved communities through the Neighborhood Awards program. The awards are held annually to highlight neighborhood organizations that have fostered healthy, safe, and engaged neighborhoods through exceptional programs, projects, and events. The announcement coincides with the National Good Neighbor Day on Sept. 28, established in 1978 to encourage people to take time to care for and connect with their neighbors. These award winners are all semifinalists for the Hillsborough County 2023 Neighborhood of the Year Award (NOTY). The NOTY Award winner will be announced in the coming weeks.

Parks help communities thrive

Created in the 1930s, the Keystone Civic Association has a rich history of partnering with Hillsborough County government to help improve the lives of its residents. A collaboration with the Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation department in the 1950s resulted in what is now known as the recreation center at Keystone Park in Odessa that specializes in after-school programs and summer camps for kids. A cornerstone of the Keystone community, the park serves as a hub for residents and is the site of the association's meetings. Through this community partnership, countless events and programs have taken place at the park, including Thanksgiving food drives, movies in the park, fall festivals, and many more. These community events have earned the association the 2023 Engaged Neighborhood Award.

The Keystone Civic Association (KCA) award will be presented at the October 26, 2023 KCA General Meeting at Keystone Civic Center.


Rural Life In Keystone

Picture of the Month



"Goat For It"

Only in Keystone can you find a pet, therapeutic Goats in our amazing rural Keystone/Odessa community.






Keystone/Odessa Treasures - Lakes, Streams and Wetlands

By Y. Stoker

The Keystone/Odessa area in Hillsborough County is rich in natural resources, with abundant lakes, ponds, wetlands, and several streams throughout our area. These resources provide habitat for many plants, animals, fungi, and other creatures, including us! We can enjoy the aesthetics of a beautiful sunrise or sunset over natural areas, swim or fish on one of the many area lakes, hike in parks, or wander in our yards and neighborhoods. These treasured resources deserve our vigilance in protecting the quality of life we have here in Keystone/Odessa.

You can help protect our natural resources with small actions, starting with what you do on your own property. For example, reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides can prevent these chemicals from seeping into the groundwater, or running off into surface streams and lakes. Planting a Florida-Friendly landscape ( will benefit wildlife and insects, such as bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects; can reduce your use of water and chemicals; and provide beautiful landscaping with less effort, once established. Other simple actions, for example, like “scooping” after your pets, help reduce contamination of groundwater and surface water.

Regulatory agencies that enforce water-quality and water-resource rules rely on data collected by scientists, including Citizen Scientists. Citizen Scientists volunteer their time to collect a variety of data on things like birds, dolphins, plants, and water quality (lakes, ponds, streams, springs, estuaries).

One great example of Citizen Science in action is the Florida LAKEWATCH Program, which is administered by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/FFGS Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences ( This program trains volunteers to collect data from lakes, streams, springs, and estuaries throughout Florida. Volunteers receive training, equipment, and are provided annual reports with results from their data collection.

The LAKEWATCH Program was established 37 years ago and dozens of lakes in the Keystone/Odessa area have been sampled for 5 years or more. Volunteers sample their assigned lake monthly, collecting samples at 3 locations. Water clarity is measured and water-quality samples are analyzed for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and chlorophyll concentrations. Nitrogen and phosphorus fuel the growth of microscopic plants (algae) and macroscopic plants (lily pads, pickerelweed, cattails, shrubs and trees).

LAKEWATCH data collected over long periods can be used to study the relationship between fluctuations in lake water quality and factors that may influence the quality, such as water levels, land use activities, climate (air and precipitation), geology, groundwater hydrology, and other factors. Below is a detailed example of data from one lake in our area; James Lake.

James Lake is a small lake (16 acres) that is part of the Brooker Creek watershed. During high water levels, the lake flows into Lake Keystone. The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) has been monitoring water levels here since 1983. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) also has periodically measured water and sediment quality in James Lake as part of their Watershed Monitoring Program ( James Lake also is part of the Florida LAKEWATCH Program. Nearly 30 years of water-quality data have been collected from James Lake.

The FDEP uses LAKEWATCH data to determine if lakes meet the FDEP Numeric Nutrient Criteria ( and if additional investigation of that lake is needed. James Lake is considered a eutrophic lake, based on long-term chlorophyll concentrations (from microscopic algae). Eutrophic lakes contain high levels of nutrients, algae, and aquatic plants, with low levels of water clarity, unless there is a high abundance of submerged aquatic plants. However, nutrient levels in James Lake meet the FDEP Nutrient Criteria. Sediment and water-quality data collected in 2019 showed that James Lake met FDEP criteria for recreational and aquatic life uses.

Nutrients in lakes fluctuate seasonally and annually, and can be influenced by major events in the lake basin. Below is an extreme example of climate influences on lake water quality, demonstrated with data from James. The El Niño event of 1997-1998 resulted in excessive rainfall in the Fall and Winter. Water levels in James Lake rose rapidly, at a rate that submerged many water lily plants found throughout the lake. The plants in the deepest parts of the lake died and decomposed in the lake. Decomposing vegetation caused nutrient levels to spike and water clarity to drop dramatically. The red circles on the graphs indicate this event.

Long-term water-level measurements in James Lake show another interesting pattern; lake levels in the last 20 years have been relatively stable, compared to the period 1984-2003. While some of these fluctuations are related to climate, decreased pumpage from the Floridan Aquifer in recent years has helped lakes and wetlands recover from previous excess withdrawals for water supply. (

The James Lake data is just one of many water bodies with data that are used to describe the quality of water resources in Florida. The long-term lake records collected by the LAKEWATCH Program are invaluable to water managers, the scientific community, and local citizens. These records make it possible to evaluate patterns in the lake quality so that corrective actions can be taken, if needed.

If you are interested in exploring environmental data near where you live, a good place to start is by searching online databases hosted by these Federal, State, and Local resources:

Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission:




Congratulations to this Years' 2023 KCA Grant Recipient and Amazing Non-Profit Organization in Odessa!

By C. Leonard

Creating and managing a non-profit constitutes so much work to continue the mission set forth in any organization, the most important being supplies, help and money! This month we are highlighting Owl's Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife. They are our 2023 KCA Grant Award Recipient. The work they do is invaluable, from personal experience having brought a baby cardinal who was in distress to them. Kris did not hesitate to accept the sweet feathery friend to immediately assess and provide medical care it needed. Where else would one go? This just warms a persons heart to see the dedication, compassion, experience and care a human gives to helpless animals. These animals live among us in Keystone/Odessa, they deserve to be cared for as we live in their habitat.

Here is a highlight of what Owl's Nest is about, and their history (from their website - link provided below), for anyone who has not yet visited their sanctuary or may not have donated in some way to support a rural community beacon.

It all started when Kris Porter, Director of Owl's Nest Wildlife Sanctuary, received a call from a fellow zookeeper. They said she was wasting her time and should become a rescue and rehab specialist and Kris rose to the challenge. It began with raising baby squirrels and rabbits, but like the babies she was raising it quickly grew. Within four months the licensing was finished and Owl's Nest was born. Today we have over 200 volunteers who do everything from clerical to construction work, rescue to rehab and everything in between.

Why Rescue Wildlife?

The dangers to Florida wildlife are increasing exponentially. Many our keystone species (species that our ecosystem depends on to remain in balance) are already endangered due to:

  • Construction

  • Roadways

  • Speeding drivers

  • New housing developments

  • Domestic pet attacks

  • Poisoning

  • Careless fishermen both commercial and recreational

  • Mothers orphaning their young

  • Careless people

  • Poaching

  • Uneducated tourists who interfere with our native species

  • Professional lawn crews

The answer to why some of us stay up all night feeding young possums, run out on our lunch break to pick up an injured animal, are on call 24/7, attend events even though we are tired from feeding birds, squirrels, and other critters all night, is because we care about our wildlife and want to see it survive for generations to come.

Who We Are

Who we are is simple. We are everyone. We are electricians, mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, teachers, students, veterinarians, military vets, retirees, accountants, writers, web designers, and just about every other size, type, gender, and style of person out there. We are those that have experience and those that are just learning. We are volunteers who pay for our own gas, supplies, nets, and other needful things. Most importantly we are those that care enough to give up our nights, weekends, weekdays, and money in order to save Florida wildlife from harm.

Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife is a non-profit organization working to protect and conserve native Florida wildlife while inspiring others to care about and appreciate it.

Thank you to Kris Porter and Team for what you do! To learn more about Owl's Nest Wildlife Sanctuary or donate visit their website:




Support the Adopt A Road Project SIGN UP TODAY!

Kids come out and get your hours!

THIS MONTH! Let's show them how we work together in Keystone

to maintain its beauty!

OCTOBER 28, 2023 AT 7:00 AM, MEET AT KEYSTONE PARK! Please Register online on our Events Page : Adopt a Road Registration Or email us at to sign up!



'A Community Endeavor'

We have resident members who volunteered to spear head this project for our Keystone Marquee sign repair plan at Keystone Park. We can use volunteers to assist with organizing and supporting this effort. If you would like to be involved, join the committee to be a part of this project and are able to assist, please email us.

We need your help!




The Settlement of Odessa, Florida

by C. Leonard

The Odessa area was first settled in the middle 1800s by the W.M. Mobley Family who migrated from Savannah, Georgia. Keystone/Odessa has evolved from citrus and farming into a rural retreat of many lake homes and ranches. The population was 24,039 at the 2010 Census up from 14,627 at the 2000 census.

Odessa was named in the 1880s by Peter Demens, a Russian immigrant who developed the community through the Orange Belt Railway he built. Later, the railroad came through, running parallel with S.R. 54. Demens also founded St. Petersburg, Florida and named both communities after places he used to go to in his native country.

There was once a large sawmill (Dowling Mill) in the area providing employment. This sawmill replaced some smaller ones and was burned in a fire in 1922.

Rural path in Odessa, Florida. The morning dew lifting in Odessa, a typical country scene to be enjoyed in this "Old Florida" community. (pictured right)

Northwest of Tampa, Odessa had been an area of open spaces, ranching, and horse properties. More recently it has seen many suburban property developments as Tampa's population expands of which Keystone is known for its stronghold to maintain the integrity of our rural life in the Odessa/Keystone area.

Odessa was home to Tampa Bay Executive Airport until 2004.


Healthy Updates


Healthy Holiday Recipe!

Slow Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Soup

By C. Leonard

Skip the roasting in this butternut squash soup recipe and let your slow cooker do the work instead. Just load up all the ingredients into the crock pot, set it and forget it for an easy, healthy dinner or packable lunches.

Prep Time: 10 mins Total Time: 3 hrs 45 mins


  • 1 medium butternut squash (2-2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed (about 5 cups)

  • 3 cups "no-chicken" broth or vegetable broth

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 4 teaspoons curry powder

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk

  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, plus wedges for serving

  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions Stir squash, broth, onion, curry powder, garlic powder and salt together in a 5-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 7 hours on Low or 3 1/2 hours on High. Turn off heat and stir in coconut milk and lime juice to taste. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Garnish with cilantro.

To make ahead Refrigerate soup for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.





Join us for upcoming Events hosted by Keystone United Methodist Church!



SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28th | 4 PM - 6:30 PM

Decorating Cars with Treats must be at location by 3 PM and decorated by 3:30 PM Bring all your ghouls & goblins! Costume & trunk contests! Games, pizza & candy!



Please support this year's KCA Holiday Food Drive!

The Gift of Giving to others as a community makes a world of difference to families who are struggling.

“We have created three ways to make this years Season of Giving ever so easy! We have partnered with Feeding Tampa Bay Food Bank once again to really make a difference. All food collected will stay in the nearby communities.

1. Nov. 4th is the KCA drive thru Thanksgiving Food Drive (see below).

2. The Virtual Food Drive online : virtual donation option via our KCA Team.

3. 12 day drop off at three or more locations in Odessa (Winn Dixie, UPS

Store, Keystone United Methodist Church).

The KCA Holiday Food DRIVE THRU DONATION DROP OFF is scheduled for November 4, 2023 10 am - 2 pm at Keystone Park.

Please enter in North Main entrance of Keystone Park, drive thru by Tents and exit on South entrance.

If you are unable to drop off your donation on November 4th, Please consider dropping off food items in the Food Boxes located at the Winn Dixie Store (upfront on the Keystone Food Drive Table), the UPS Store (next to Winn Dixie), Bold House Nutrition, or at the Keystone United Method Church. Volunteers will pick up food at these locations for the “12 Days of Giving” ending on November 16.

Visit our Holiday Food Drive Web page for more information.

We do need Volunteers for our Donation pick up on November 4th through November 16th. If you can assist please email us here for sign up. Thank you!


! Save the Date !

Next Barns and Beer Fest is

FRIDAY, November 3, 2023 7PM -10:30pm **VIP 6PM** 9612 Crescent Drive Odessa, FL 33556

We invite everyone to come out and enjoy!


Get 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.


General Meeting will be October 26, 2023 at

Keystone Civic Center- Keystone Park - Large Meeting Room

6:30 PM Social 7:00 PM Meeting Start.


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

Interested in supporting KCA by becoming a Business Sponsor?


Key Upcoming Dates

October 12, 2023 KCA Board Meeting

October 14, 2023 Keystone UMC Craft Fair

October 26, 2023 KCA General Membership Meeting (Last meeting for Year)

October 28, 2023 Keystone UMC Trunk or Treat

November 3, 2023 Old McMicky's Barns and Beer Festival

November 4, 2023 Saturday Food Drive at the Park

November 4-16 Holiday Virtual Food Drive

November 4-16 Food Drop Off Boxes at Winn dixie, Keystone United Methodist

church, UPS or Bold House Nutrition

November 9, 2023 KCA Board Meeting

December 14, 2023 KCA Board Meeting

Committee Meetings: TBD by Chairs via email / phone


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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