The Pasco County Commission has been weighing in on design standards for subdivisions for several months, and now they’re pushing for changes aimed at keeping sidewalks clear.
It’s a public safety issue, according to Commission Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey, who shared photos of cars parked in driveways — blocking the sidewalks in front of homes.
“The kids were riding their scooters in the street because they couldn’t use the sidewalks,” Starkey said, during a recent board meeting.
“Same in my neighborhood,” chimed in Commissioner Ron Oakley.
Starkey continued: “I think we need to be looking at these driveway lengths and making sure this (blocking of sidewalks) doesn’t happen.
“I’ve talked to some developers already about solutions for this, but this is something that we need to get ahold of because we’re going to have children get hurt.”
Oakley added: “I think this happens often in (subdivisions of) 40-foot lots and 50-foot lots.”
Pasco County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder said: “Anywhere where you have a garage setback that’s 20 feet or less, you’re going to see this.”
Starkey said the issue falls under the jurisdiction of homeowner associations.
“So, if the HOA is not doing it, not doing their job, then we have to step in,” she said.
“I guarantee you, one of those cars is going to pull out and not see a little one riding her little scooter, or trike, because she can’t ride … safely in her neighborhood.
“I’m not OK with this,” Starkey said. “And, we need to address this, in my opinion, pretty quickly.”
Commissioner Jack Mariano said setbacks are an issue, not only for parking but also for installation of propane tanks and air conditioners on the sides of houses.
“Staff is struggling with all of this stuff.
“I think it’s time to do a workshop on this. What we don’t want to do is build homes like this where the kids can’t go on a sidewalk, they’ve got to in the street. It’s dangerous. It looks lousy, and it’s just not good for the long-term growth of this county,” the commissioner added.
“We need to pick what we want. Do we want to be a high-level premiere county? Or, do we want to allow that? Stuff like that,” Mariano said.
Oakley concurred: “We need to get rid of this.”
The discussion occurred during the portion of the meeting reserved for board comments, so no formal action was taken. However, since a majority of board members appear to think action is needed, the issue is likely to resurface at a future board meeting.
Published December 07, 2022