A request for a land use change that would increase the allowable density on about 30 acres near Zephyrhills is being recommended for approval by the Pasco County Planning Commission.
The land use change would lay the groundwork for a rezoning request to allow the expansion of the Forest Lakes Estates community, a 1,000-home manufactured housing community for people age 55 and older.
Clarke Hobby, an attorney representing Equity Lifestyles, said his client owns the existing 1,000-unit manufactured housing community, which is on the east side of Gateway Drive, and wants to add about 90 additional units on the 30-acre property, on the west side of Gateway Drive, south of County Road 54.
The proposed land use change would increase allowable development from three dwellings per acre up to six units per acre.
Hobby said his client purchased the property about two years ago and has been working on a plan to build a new roadway, as well as to resurface Frontier Drive and Marx Road.
The applicant is proposing a land exchange that would trade a portion of the county-owned Gateway Drive for a right of way the applicant would construct.
“So, my client was going to build an entirely new road, as opposed to have this 30-year-old road (Gateway Drive), which has been patched significantly,” Hobby said.
But neighbors are divided on the request.
During a Nov. 4 planning board meeting, some voiced opposition to the increased density. Those questioning the land use change said it will change how they expected the area to develop, would add traffic and noise, and could pose potential flooding issues.
Neighbors are divided on the proposed road improvements.
Bob Orosz, 5306 Frontier Drive, said residents asked him to work as a liaison between the residents and the applicant — a role he said he would not accept again.
There’s no consensus in the neighborhood regarding the applicant’s proposed roadway improvements, Orosz said.
“We had a road meeting a couple of nights ago, where a couple of people were adamantly opposed to this,” he said. But later, he said, a dozen people approached him privately to say they would like the road, but don’t want to offend others.
Hobby said he was surprised by the opposition.
“I’m somewhat at a loss that this many neighbors are objecting to this, when I thought my client was going above and beyond the duty, here,” Hobby said.
The planning board voted to recommend approval of the request to the Pasco County Commission, which has final jurisdiction on land use and zoning issues.
Published December 01, 2021
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