The Pasco County Commission has adopted new standards that aim to keep apartment development from consuming frontage along state roads 54/56, between Gunn Highway and U.S. 301.
Commission Chairman Mike Moore has championed tighter restrictions along the State Road 54/56 corridor — citing the need to preserve the frontage for employment-generating development. He also has cautioned his colleagues that allowing too much apartment development now could create problems in the future, when occupancy drops and the buildings fall into disrepair.
Commissioners initially adopted the tighter restrictions on June 30, but revisited the issue on July 14 to clarify the effective date and to address a question raised about which section of State Road 54 falls within the new restrictions.
Under the adopted changes, new multifamily residential zoning and future land use amendments along the SR 54/56 corridor from Gunn Highway to U.S. 301 shall be integrated with a mixture of employment-generating land uses.
Those uses can be existing uses or new ones, according to the county’s new requirements.
Also, on properties along the State Road 54/56 corridor from Gunn Highway to U.S. 301, the first 2,000 feet adjacent to the corridor shall place new multifamily zoning and future land use amendments behind non-residential land uses unless a development vertically integrates a mixture of uses, such as a high-rise with offices, residential and retail uses.
New rezonings or future land use amendments in the affected area that have not yet filed complete applications as of June 30 will comply with the county’s directive.
The new restrictions do not apply to the section of State Road 54 that runs between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Zephyrhills, Chairman Moore said.
He said the directive has been clarified because questions had been raised about that.
Before voting, commissioners also heard concerns raised by Joel Tew, an attorney who frequently represents applicants in rezoning and land use requests.
Tew questioned the process being used by the board to make the changes, noting it bypassed the normal public hearing process to adopt changes to the county’s comprehensive plan and land development code.
He also said the changes are in conflict with policies within the county’s comprehensive plan.
But, David Goldstein, chief assistant county attorney, said “I am not aware of any direct inconsistencies with the comp plan or land development code, as part of this policy. However, if we identify any, we will address them through the appropriate land development code or comprehensive plan amendment.”
Moore also noted that no Pasco County property owners stepped forward during public comment to raise objections to the new restrictions.
Published July 29, 2020
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