Pasco County Council Faces Tough Decisions on Rural Development

The Pasco County Council recently faced notable decisions regarding development and land use, with a plan amendment for a rural area and a proposed commercial development garnering substantial debate.

A comprehensive plan amendment for a 92.6-acre tract of land proposed by Sander Ben LLC was one of the focal points of the meeting. The amendment sought to change the existing agricultural land use designation to agricultural rural for the creation of 18 single-family lots of 5 acres each, served by well and septic. While the development was found to align with the rural transition area and comply with the comprehensive plan, concerns were raised about its impact on the rural character and potential traffic increase. Public comments noted the rapid development in the area and its effect on traffic safety and rural ambiance.

Another major topic was a zoning amendment presented by Adrien Scott of Planning Services. The amendment involved rezoning from estate residential to a master-planned unit development for 37 single-family homes on approximately 26.6 acres. The staff recommended approval, but public concerns highlighted traffic congestion and environmental impacts, including the presence of protected gopher tortoises. A discussion ensued among council members regarding the type of buffer required for the development, with discussions on safety, aesthetics, and property values influencing the decision to approve a motion for a masonry wall on specific lots.

Additionally, the council discussed a property development and its potential impact on a sensitive wetland area. Public speakers cited a previous diesel spill and emphasized the need to preserve the current lifestyle and adhere to the approved density plan. The applicant’s representative highlighted the desire for a 5-acre rural lifestyle with the proposed addition of 16 lots to the existing property, addressing concerns about wetlands and traffic and emphasizing the minimal impact of the development.

The meeting also addressed a proposed commercial development that raised concerns about utility assessments, specifically the distance to the wastewater line and the possibility of using septic contrary to the memo. Discrepancies in building capacity and potential violations were discussed, with the applicant explaining concept plan changes resulting in additional square footage. Public comments expressed concerns about the size of the building, the impact on neighboring properties, and potential environmental hazards.

Language and definitions pertaining to surface waters and wetlands in state law were heavily debated, with the potential implications on industrial development and the need for clarity being primary concerns. The council considered recommendations from the Planning Commission on the conservation element’s surface waters language.

The meeting culminated with a motion to recommend approval of amendments to the comprehensive plan with specific modifications. This motion, which concerned the language related to the RO and MU land use categories and the definition of surface water, was seconded and carried.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Mike Carballa
County Council Officials:
Ron Oakley, Seth Weightman, Kathryn Starkey, Gary Bradford, Jack Mariano

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