The Pasco County Commission has approved a request to allow 500,000 cubic yards of dirt to be excavated from a site on the south side of Tyndall road, about three-quarters of a mile west of the intersection Tyndall and Curley roads, in Wesley Chapel.
The permit and conditional use request were approved unanimously by the Pasco County Commission on June 2, despite concerns raised by area residents.
Based on the board’s action, the applicant can excavate and export dirt from about 30 acres of an overall site of 59 acres.
County staff found the request consistent with the county’s land development code — contingent on 31 conditions for approval.
Joel Tew, an attorney representing the applicant Sandhills Flats LLC, said the conditions required by the county staff are standard for this type of operation.
“We did not negotiate or quibble with any of those.”
“The property owners commit to make sure the pit operator complies with them. I intend to attach those conditions to the contract of the pit operator so that they have no choice but to comply,” Tew said.
The pit operator will be required to comply with noise-level limits, operating hours and other county conditions, Tew said.
“We have specific requirements for Tyndall Road maintenance. We have to post a maintenance bond with the county to ensure that our operator complies with those maintenance requirements of Tyndall Road.
“We have to maintain access conditions to all adjacent properties,” he said.
He also noted that more than three-fourths of the way from Tyndall Road out to Curley Road, there are no residences on either side.
Signage will be required, no stacking of trucks will be allowed on Tyndall and no trucks will go west on Tyndall from the site, Tew said.
He also noted: “Due to the Connected City’s approvals, which you are aware of, there is already a requirement for Tyndall Road to be permanently improved to county standard, that is already in the construction plan review process by Metro, related to the Epperson CC (Connected City) MPUD (master planned unit development).”
Although the permit allows two years of operations, Tew said the hope is that dirt will be excavated and exported within a few months.
“You can’t develop those Connected City properties and VOPH (Villages of Pasadena Hills) without fill dirt,” Tew said.
But, neighbors living west of the site raised objections.
Mark Stober, who has lived on Tyndall Road for about 12 years, said the road cannot handle the heavy truck traffic.
“Tyndall, as a completely unimproved dirt road, already turns into an absolute mud pit during heavy rains, which we inevitably experience every year, and that’s without heavy trucks,” he said.
“There’s no way the company would be able to maintain that road during that period unless they substantially improve the road by either paving it or laying down a considerable amount of lime rock or stone to elevate the roadbed,” he added.
Instead of merely maintaining the road, the applicant should be required to improve it, Stober said.
Christopher Abati, also opposes the borrow pit.
“I have lived on Tyndall Road for 24 years, in peace and quiet,” he said, via email. “I do not want the borrow pit for our neighborhood.”
Abati added: “Our quality of life here is in jeopardy.”
Ernest Black, who also lives on Tyndall Road, asked, via email, whether the project would affect the area’s water table.
“This just seems like a bad idea for all of us living here,” he added.
Commissioner Ron Oakley, noting the county had placed “very good restrictions” on the project, made a motion for approval, which passed unanimously.
Published June 10, 2020
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