A proposed large-scale comprehensive plan amendment has been requested for Saddlebrook Resort, a place that helped put Wesley Chapel on the map.
The request calls for amending the county’s future land-use map on about 420.5 acres of land, south of State Road 54 and east of Service Road.
The property has an existing master-planned unit development (MPUD) — Saddlebrook Resort — which has existing entitlements, development and infrastructure.
But a substantial modification has been requested to add acreage to the existing MPUD and to convert one existing golf course and the driving range into commercial/retail, multifamily, single family, dorm rooms, clubhouse and restaurant uses, according to information contained in the Pasco County Planning Commission’s Sept. 22 agenda packet.
The Saddlebrook Resort currently contains a number of different uses including commercial/office, multi-family, single-family, recreational and hotel/convention center uses. The proposed use calls for converting the area which is the golf driving range into the town center for Saddlebrook, the background materials say.
But at the planning board’s Sept. 22 meeting, the request being considered was whether the proposed change to the land-use should be recommended for approval.
The request still must go through public hearings before the Pasco County Commission to change the long-range plan and to change the zoning to clear the way for the proposed plans.
The request had been on the planning board’s consent agenda — meaning it would be approved in a single action with other items, unless it was pulled.
Planning board member Jon Moody pulled the item for discussion.
He said he did that a matter of principal, reminding board members that he had previously expressed a concern about too many items being placed on the consent agenda, and noting it is not the role of the planning board to rubberstamp requests.
“The consent agenda is for the duplexes, Mrs. Jones’ variance for her shed, but not a large-scale comprehensive plan amendment,” Moody said.
“The second reason that I pulled this and want to discuss this has to do with public notice.
“Saddlebrook Golf Course — the proposal here is that we’re going to change the golf course to single-family homes, townhouses, multifamily dorms for a golf academy — and all of these things may be good things, and I’m not necessarily opposed to them.
“But I know this, if I bought a house in Saddlebrook on a golf course and paid $750,000 or a million dollars for that, my expectation is that’s a golf course.
“And, maybe I don’t have the right to have that expectation, but at least if someone is going to change it, they need to let me know what’s going on, so I can come out and exercise my right as a citizen, to speak for or against the proposal.
“So, that’s the issue and the reason that I brought it up,” Moody said.
Attorney Barbara Wilhite, representing the applicant, told the planning board: “Although the code only requires an ad, we did post three signs.”
She also noted: “My client has had communications with all five homeowner associations within Saddlebrook and made presentations to them.
“This is a pre-transmittal hearing. This is the only time that you’ll hear the comp plan amendment, but what you do is you recommend to the board.
“Then the board will have a transmittal hearing, where they send it to the state. We have an MPUD (master-planned unit development zoning request) pending, so it will be coming,” she said.
Under the MPUD requirement, letters must be sent to everyone.
Wilhite told the planning board that its vote on the request before it would merely get the process started.
The MPUD request will spell out the specifics, and when it comes back to the planning board it will be fully noticed, she said.
Moody reiterated the need to discuss projects, such as the Saddlebrook request.
“My concern is, when we put comprehensive plan amendments on the consent agenda, or we don’t hear the accompanying MPUD consecutively, we’re laying the groundwork for a legal argument in the future, if we want to deny the zoning, if they argue ‘Well, wait a minute, my MPUD is consistent with the comp plan amendment that you passed a month ago or two months ago.
“My particular concern in Saddlebrook is that a great number of the property owners, adjacent to the golf course, to which this comp plan amendment applies, live out of state, many of them live out of country, so they didn’t see the sign posted,” Moody added.
Moody said the county should require that written notices be sent to property owners whose rights could be affected by proposed land-use and zoning changes.
Denise Hernandez, the county’s zoning administrator, told Moody a proposed change to the county’s land development code will require that notices of proposed changes be mailed, posted and published.
She expects that proposal to be back before the planning board in coming months.
No one from the public spoke for or against the proposed Saddlebrook changes.
Published October 12, 2022
We appreciate you publishing this article. Most residents were not aware of this proposal and meeting. Are the proposed plans/changes available for the public to view?
Mike Camunas says
All agendas and minutes from Pasco County Planning Commission Meetings are online at https://www.pascocountyfl.net/760/Meeting-Agendas-Minutes.
Those specific meeting minutes can be found here: https://pascocofl.civicclerk.com/Web/Player.aspx?id=1067&key=-1&mod=-1&mk=-1&nov=0
Scroll down to Addendum 11.
Thanks Mike! We were able to access all the documents including maps of the proposed rezoning from the link you sent. We greatly appreciate the Laker Lutz News interest and responsiveness to this story. This seems a very broad request and the number of residential building sites is sizeable … especially considering part of Saddlebrook’s appeal is how spread out it is.
Mike Camunas says
You’re welcome. Thank you for reading the Laker/Lutz News!
Cathy Dawson says
hello, I cannot seem to access the latest proposal with the map that shows the area for expansion outside of Saddlebrook’s current property boundries…I am concerned it may have an impact on my private property outside of Saddlebrook. We got a letter today in the mail re the proposed rezoning, but the map is so tiny, it is barely legible. Can someone please provide me a link for this? or if you know, we live on Gray Rd, to the SE of Saddlebrook’s property line. Thank you
This is awful. I was at the planning meeting an was shocked to hear this.
As a resident of Saddlebrook we have not been informed of this proposal. Shocked to read about as it will effect our property values plus our view. I for one do not want condos etc built in my backyard. Thanks for publishing and bringing to our attention.
BS!! More corporate greed!! NO MORE HOMES / TRAFFIC,!
Mark Reeves says
As a 30 year resident homeowner in Saddlebrook Resort the attraction to this property was the excellent way it had been developed in the past. Inside it feels safe and like the small communities of the good old days. To have a large corporation which has none of its principals living in our community this stinks of GREED. We love our community and if you decide to change any of the golf course layouts our property values will plummet. I doubt any of us would mind if you want to update the Super-pool area and guest check in but to dig up our golf courses, one of which is in a Cypress swamp area which in todays environmentally sensitive times could not have been developed. This could have a major environmental impact. Most of us have had flooding issues that live off this golf course and this could make matters even worse. Let a lone how hideous this would look, Not to mention the added traffic and safety issues for our children. I will do everything I can to make notice to our residents to disparage and even Pickett against this development.
Mark Reeves says
As a 30 year resident homeowner in Saddlebrook Resort the attraction to this property was the excellent way it had been developed in the past. Inside it feels safe and like the small communities of the good old days. To have a large corporation which has none of its principals living in our community this stinks of GREED. We love our community and if you decide to change any of the golf course layouts our property values will plummet. I doubt any of us would mind if you want to update the Super-pool area and guest check in but to dig up our golf courses, one of which is in a Cypress swamp area which in todays environmentally sensitive times could not have been developed. This could have a major environmental impact. Most of us have had flooding issues that live off this golf course and this could make matters even worse. Let a lone how hideous this would look, Not to mention the added traffic and safety issues for our children. I will do everything I can to make notice to our residents to disparage
Thank you for the very well written article as a resident of SADDLEBROOK Resort a lot more information is required. I would like to know The exact location of where the signs were posted. Who in the five associations that they claim to have been in contact with was informed of the proposed changes. Fairway association board members were never notified and neither were the residence of Fairway.
Donald Post says
Mast Capital needed to be transparent to the owners and community in what they really plan to do. The way this has been handled gives the appearance that Mast tried to ‘slip” alternate or additional plans past the owners. This is a travesty since people bought properties under certain premises that they now believe may not be true.
The owners need to be heard, even if they have to take their voice to a national level.
Len Taylor says
Thanks fellow homeowners for directing me to this information. I am relatively new to Saddlebrook but specifically purchased my home because it was on the golf course. Until speaking with a few neighbors I had no idea this proposal included the current scope. I am very concerned that this beautiful resort will be destroyed as well as my property value and force us to move. We were sold the concept of an upgraded resort with two golf courses, not multiple apartment complex’s or strip malls. You could consider Wiregrass a town center, and I don’t need that a half block away. Saddlebrook is a special, secluded and quiet place. We need to do everything we can to keep it that way.
Im a resident, there are also lots of wildlife including breading sandhill cranes that find refuge here. We don’t want to pave over paradise of what Florida is known for. We can get that in Los Angles or Net York. Please help. We are just being made aware of the changes planned and having more 4 story condos and rental apartments in the green space of our neighborhood is not wanted
Urban sprawl is not a good thing, it only serves the developers.