The Pasco County Commission is moving through the process necessary to clear the way for the creation of the proposed North Pasco RV Resort.
The county board voted to send the request for a land use change to state agencies for review.
That’s a step that is required before the county board can amend the long-range plan.
Once the state’s review is done, the county board can act on the requested land use change.
That action is required before the board can consider rezoning the site, to allow its development for a RV resort.
Plans for the RV resort call for 550 RV spaces and at least 10,000 square feet of resort lodge and clubhouse facilities. It would be developed on a 132-acre site bordering Interstate 75, east of Lake Iola Road and south of Blanton Road.
The site, now zoned for agricultural uses, is within the county’s Northeast Pasco Rural Protection Overlay Area.
That overlay district is intended to protect the character of the rural landscape, preserve scenic views and vistas, and ensure that on-site development is compatible with the character of the surrounding area, according to the county ordinance that established the district.
Opponents to the proposed RV resort expressed their concerns during the Pasco County Planning Commission’s public hearing, but were unable to sway that board.
They reiterated their objections during the Feb. 8 county board meeting, but failed to persuade commissioners to reject the request.
Attorney Barbara Wilhite represents the applicants, VCARE Consultants LLC.
VCARE also hired Frances Chandler Marino, who wrote the Northeast Pasco Rural Protection Overlay Area plan, to review the proposed plan for compliance with the rural plan. The private professional planner testified at both the planning board’s public hearing and the county board’s public hearing that the proposed plan is consistent with policies within the rural overlay district.
The development will have its own wastewater treatment plant and will be on well water.
Wilhite told the board that her client has been working on the project for a couple of years.
Lisa Moretti, who lives on Iola Woods Trail, spoke against the proposal.
“We already know that growth doesn’t pay for itself,” Moretti said. “The Northeast Rural Area serves a purpose beyond community protection. It is your failsafe by not having to provide services and infrastructure into the rural area; you are balancing your budget.
“I would argue that you are legally obligated not to change the urban transition service area and not to move urban into the Northeast Rural Area,” she said.
“If you were to just follow the long-range plan and preserve the rural area, you are doing exactly the job of protecting the county,” she said.
“This project could be developed with a rural appeal. A barn. Turning half of the spaces into horse-trailer pads. Putting in a pasture, instead of a water feature. You could lower the density to an acceptable level. Maintain the rural character. Create a portal to Pasco County that was inviting and rural, rather than a hillside covered in RVs and concrete,” she said, but the developer did not want to seek out residents’ input.
Other opponents raised concerns about the lack of compatibility to the rural area, potential dangers posed by large RVs traveling down the area’s roads, and impacts on the wildlife habitat for turkeys, bobcats, foxes and other creatures that dwell there.
The county board asked the developer to provide an additional paved area to accommodate bicyclists riding along the edge of the project.
The requests for the land use and zoning changes are expected to come back for a vote by the county board at its April 5 meeting.
Published February 16, 2022
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