Pasco County is considering numerous changes to its land development code, with some aiming to improve the county’s appearance.
One change would require two shade trees at residential lots that are 6,000 square feet or smaller. Currently, one shade tree is required. The change also would allow a shade tree to be placed in the right of way fronting the lot, Denise Hernandez, county zoning administrator told the Pasco County Commission during the first public hearing on the proposed changes, at the board’s Nov. 4 meeting.
The requirement to add more trees reflects a desire by the Pasco County Commission to make the county’s residential neighborhoods more attractive.
Another proposed change would eliminate chain link fences or similar fences and gates that are visible from along the county’s arterials and collector roads — unless the properties are being used for legitimate agricultural purposes.
This change was prompted by county board discussions regarding a desire to improve the county’s appearance.
Two other changes relate to public notice of requested changes, Hernandez said.
One change would require applicants for comprehensive plan amendments to post, publish and mail notices of the request, Hernandez said. In the current code, applications for comprehensive plan amendments are only published, and, in some cases, posted, but are not mailed. The amendment will require all three.
Another change would allow the publication of requests to be made by posting to a newspaper of general circulation, or any other means, Hernandez said.
“This is in anticipation of the effective date of 50.011 of Florida Statutes, which happened during the last legislative session, where that publication on publicly available website would suffice, instead of having to do a publication in a paper of general circulation,” Hernandez said.
“And, we are working on a process to have that done on our website,” she added.
Another change in the land development code says that projects that are subject to a development agreement, a special exception, (or) a conditional use, do not necessarily require a master-unit planned development zoning.
Additionally, there’s a change that says if a building permit expires after the sixth year of a preliminary site plan, the preliminary site plan expires, as well.
New definitions also are included in the proposed code amendments. Those definitions relate to what constitutes a family, a group living arrangement, and a resident treatment and care facility.
The changes were prompted by a previous case involving what the county considered to be a residential treatment and care facility, but which the applicant argued fell under the county’s definition of a family.
The proposed changes are meant to clarify when special permission is needed for a particular living situation within a single-family neighborhood.
The proposed amendment defines group living arrangements as those including, but not limited to, convents, monasteries, fraternities, boarding homes, shelters for abused children, runaway shelters, and dormitories.
Group living arrangements do not include residential treatment and care facilities or independent living facilities, Hernandez said.
The definition for residential treatment and care facility was modified as well, to reflect that these facilities employ the help of skilled and licensed practitioners, she said.
The board will have its final public hearing on the proposed changes at its Dec. 6 meeting, at 1:30 p.m., in the board chambers at the West Pasco Government Center, at 8731 Citizens Drive, in New Port Richey.
Published November 30, 2022